Cathy Murillo began her first TV advertising push on Saturday, with a straightforward 30-second spot titled "Difference," which seems aimed at boosting her gravitas by presenting her as a serious-minded, almost somber, pragmatist.
Murillo is the most liberal candidate among the five-person field, on issues like public employee salaries and building rental housing; however, her ad stresses themes that gainsay that image, including "restoring our city's fiscal stability" and "preserving the character of our neighborhoods."
Campaign manager Mollie Culver said the ad began running Saturday, both on the KEYT trio of stations and KSBY. Although her TV spots may be switched out, Murillo will be on the air from now through the Nov. 7 election, Culver added.
The ad was produced by veteran California and national media strategist Bill Carrick. It marks a departure from his role in Santa Barbara politics; Carrick (as well as Culver) worked for the Capps family, both retired Representative Lois and the late congressman Walter, for two decades. In this election, however, both Lois and daughter Laura, a member of the school board, have endorsed longtime family friend Hal Conklin over the Democratic Party-endorsed Murillo.
Although simple, the ad packs in plenty of visual information: Cathy is pictured talking to individuals or small groups of key demographics; a trio of older folks in the Rose Garden with a beauty shot of the Mission in the background; a family with two young kids in front of City Hall; walking her big dog (who's kinda straining at the leash) while chatting with a middle-aged woman along the waterfront; a millennial couple on Plaza Rubio; a group of Latinos at Paseo Nuevo.
The core of the ad is a mini-monologue during which Murillo (who majored in theater arts at UCSB) strikes a dignified pose and speaks directly, and somewhat sternly, into the camera:
"As your mayor, I will take the lead on job creation, public safety and affordable housing.
And in this changing retail world, I will pursue thoughtful innovation to revive our downtown."
The tag line: "Cathy Murillo for Mayor - The Leader Santa Barbara Needs."