Angel Martinez, whose biggest political problem is letting voters know he exists, is first off the line with 30-second spots in the crowded race for SB mayor.
Martinez has the lowest public profile among the five mayoral wannabes, in a field that includes three incumbent city council members and a former councilman who previously served four terms.
Now the wealthy former Deckers Outdoor Corp. CEO is betting that his ads, shown on multiple platforms, will build his name I.D. faster and more effectively than the traditional grind of precinct walking and door knocking.
“I’ve got to go wholesale before I go retail,” Martinez told me last week.
Beauty shots and bare storefronts. Somewhat surprisingly, neither ad is a classic “bio spot,” which typically provide a rapid-fire recap of a novice candidate’s life experience; instead, both focus on political positioning, seeking to establish Martinez as a pragmatic but innovative, center-right outsider who’ll challenge the status quo.
The first spot intersperses images of Martinez standing on the beach and traditional Santa Barbara beauty shots of the Courthouse and the Wharf with pictures of empty State Street store frontst; Angel recites a voiceover that asserts “our city is going in the wrong direction and the politicians at City Hall keep pushing failed policies that put our future at risk” as he claims the mantle of “a new vision,” “new leadership” and “new ideas.”
The second spot is likely to be more controversial.
Tough talk on homeless. Implicitly criticizing Santa Barbara’s social services-based “restorative policing” policy on homelessness, Martinez flat out promises to “ban aggressive panhandling.”
“Letting people live on the street is neither compassionate nor safe,” Angel says directly to the camera. “We need to help people who are truly in need. But we need to be firm with those who abuse our system, take advantage of our generosity and make our city unsafe."
As he speaks, the camera cuts between images of a man sitting on the street with a cardboard sign – “I’m homeless, help me” – a guy sacked out on a State Street bench and another in De La Guerra Plaza. Yet another holds yet another sign, this one saying “Why Lie – I Need Beer.”
Who's behind the ads. Both ads were produced by Brian Robinson, owner of Terrain Consulting in Santa Barbara, who’s previously done campaign work for Joyce Dudley, Gregg Hart, the late Dr. Dan Secord and various school bonds and taxes, among other clients.
Robinson said in a telephone interview that the Martinez ads are scheduled to begin airing this week on various platforms.
“We’ve got a balanced mix of things,” he said, including local news, network news and online streaming on Hulu.
“He’s really genuine,” Robinson said of his client. “These are his own words – it’s nice it’s his own message.”
You can view the ads here and here.