Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, a long shot in the Democratic presidential nominee race, recently created a serious stir with a series of unconventional ads on YouTube.
The first video shows Gravel standing silently beside a tranquil lake. He stares into the camera for more than a minute, walks to the water’s edge and heaves a large stone into the lake. He then walks away while the Web site address gravel08.us lingers on the screen for an additional minute.
The second is of a similar vein, but depicts Gravel gathering kindling wood in the wilderness before starting a small campfire. His Web site address again appears over footage of the crackling fire for more than seven minutes.
The videos, produced by two independent filmmakers from Los Angles in cooperation with the campaign, had been posted online for several weeks, but were only recently featured on Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show.” The ensuing media coverage has swamped his communications operations, with features on ABC, CNN, MSNBC and other media outlets.
In talking about the ads, Gravel’s press secretary Alex Colvin noted that the video “is political, but is also an artistic piece.” Colvin emphasized Gravel’s “artistic side,” and mentioned that it was the candidate himself who insisted on the extended silent shots in the video in lieu of the more traditional 30-second versions of the ads that some had suggested.
Gravel hasn’t seen much of a gain in the polls. A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey listed him at 0 percent. A Gallup/USA Today poll asking Democrats and leaning independents who they support put Gravel at 1 percent.