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Local Pols’ Cheeseball Ads: A Taxonomy

Supervisor campaign ads are like sitcoms: hammy, predictable, and fun to deconstruct.


Today District 5 supervisor London Breed released a new campaign ad that’s more than a little nutty. The villain, in these dark times, is not some orange-faced tiny-fingered vulgarian, but a gangly 30-something guy with big pieces of Styrofoam stuck to him. Yep, Styrofoam Monster is a bully on a hoverboard who chases cats down hallways and…and gives little girls Justin Bieber dolls! And London Breed is stopping him with the Styrofoam ban

Breed, of course, isn’t the first political candidate to cast herself in the hammy yet earnest role of political hero, cable access style. State senate rivals Jane Kim and Scott Wiener are also no strangers to the genre. And District 7 candidate Joel Engardio is going there, too. Here, a guide to the campaign ad tropes that make us laugh, snort, cringe, and, sigh, not look away.

London Breed, “Styrofoam Monster”
Race: District 5 Supervisor
Character type: Sassy BFF
Premise: The biggest bully in the neighborhood is a polystyrene-festooned 30-something man, and the only person he’s afraid of is London Breed.
Gimmick: Evil cackle.
Burning question: In an election year dominated by an actual monster, we’re supposed to…laugh? Cry? Scream?

Scott Wiener, “Hip to Be Square”
Race: District 11 State Senator
Character type: Lame dad
Premise: Remind everyone of how nerdy Scott Wiener is in hopes of making him as approachable as state senate opponent Jane Kim.
Gimmick: Let’s all make a square with our fingers while trying not to wink.
Burning question: Why use the Full House typeface when Jaleel White is the hook?

Jane Kim, “Fight”
Race: District 11 State Senator
Character type: Bond girl
Premise: Jane Kim is ready to photogenically beat down anyone on your behalf.
Gimmick: A round kick and a steely glare.
Burning question: Why doesn’t she ever do this at the BOS?

Joel Engardio, “Investigate”
Race: District 7 Supervisor
Character type: Investigator from a noir film
Premise: There’s something unseemly going on in San Francisco. The first person you call? A newspaper columnist.
Gimmick: That hat.
Burning question: The Examiner still uses typewriters?

Scott Wiener, “Firework”
Race: District 11 State Senator
Character type: Drag queens’ shy, hardworking friend
Premise: Scott gives the queens something to sing about.
Gimmick: Rhyming “Scott for Senate / O…O…O” with “Our voice in Sacrament-O…O…O.”
Burning question: Why so quiet, Scott? Can’t you sing?

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