Well, it’s an interesting way to introduce yourself to voters, I suppose. “I’m Ben Hall. A poor country boy who is surprised and fascinated by the gifts God has given me, because I clearly don’t deserve them. I finished college in three years because I thought I’d run out of money. I finished the seminary and Ph.D. program at Duke University and then I got my law degree at Harvard… oh and $130,000 in debt. Then I came to Oz: Houston. I’d never seen a more beautiful city. I practiced law here at Vinson & Elkins, then Mayor Bob Lanier made me Houston City Attorney, and that’s when I saw the real opportunities we had to keep this a robust and magical place to live. But we have some serious economic challenges coming, and we need to prepare for them.
But we can’t get there by hiding the truth, Mayor Parker.” We’ll talk soon.”
“Oz”? A “robust and magical place to live”? I guess I’m confused as to which truth Mr. Hall is trying to tell Houstonians here. First off, this ad is well-produced, and it displays some of Mr. Hall’s best qualities. He loves Houston. He knows how to communicate effectively. There’s nothing wrong with either of those things. I also think the team did a great job discussing his background, though I’m not sure why it was so important to state that he went into debt from going to Harvard. Rule number one of any good interview: don’t ever present a challenge that isn’t immediately resolved. Hall says he was in debt, but never thinks to mention that he paid it off? Awkward moment there.
Another main criticism… constantly referring to the city’s “magical” qualities. Houston is a wonderful place, but our city’s problems don’t get solved through magic. In order to be a viable candidate for Mayor, Mr. Hall will eventually have to move away from all of the sweeping, inspiration rhetoric, and start getting real. The city’s problems aren’t going to get solved by simply electing another person as Mayor.
And as before, that’s my greatest criticism of not only this ad, but the Hall campaign thus far. He speaks a whole lot about the city, but very little about what he, specifically, could do to make the city better. Hall’s got plenty of grand visions, but Houstonians are going to need some details.
So on that “we’ll talk soon” promise… can we start now? Some of us are tired of waiting for Ben Hall’s details to magically appear.