Sometimes a TV ad isn’t a TV ad at all

The NARAL ad wants you to call Sen. Thad Cochran.
The NARAL ad wants you to call Sen. Thad Cochran. Screenshot

Only in the alternate universe known as politics is a TV ad not shown on TV.

NARAL Pro-Choice America let me know it was releasing a new ad campaign targeting both Sen. Thad Cochran and Zika.

Interesting, I thought, since Cochran won't be up for election until 2020. And, I doubt he'll run then.

NARAL calls the ad a TV ad three times in the short e-mail announcing its arrival. While I'm not the biggest broadcast TV fan in the world, I did watch half of the Ole Miss "game" Monday night. And, while an Ole Miss game seems a likely place to catch a Cochran supporter, any Mississippian, for that matter, I was wondering why I had not seen the NARAL ad.

So, I asked.

"Thanks for reaching out, Paul!" the response began. Delete. Delete. Delete, my inner child said.

Turns out, "The ad buy is all digital (no TV) and it will run on video pre-roll as well as be targeted on social media."

Now, I'm something of an expert on "targeted" social media even if I'm clueless about "video pre-roll."

For example, if I'm working the New York Times Crossword Puzzle and it wants a 15-letter word for women's undergarments, I might have to turn to Google for help. And I might be surprised that Victoria's Secrets ads are flooding my Facebook wall the next time I visit.

Or, perhaps I wouldn't be.

The point is, I figured a search for women's rights would trigger a similar avalanche of NARAL ads. It didn't. Not surprised again.

It's a game politicians and their minions play. They blast out a bunch of emails about the release of their latest "ads," complete with a link to the "ad." Then some dupe like me writes a story about it, complete with a link to the ad, which is "available" on YouTube.

But not this time. If you'd like to see your "TV ad" on, give me a call, I'll transfer you to advertising.