Doors and an MJ Hegar political ad

Doors are a metaphor in this powerful American political ad for MJ Hegar, who’s running for office as a Democrat in Texas. Via Adweek:

A former Air Force helicopter pilot, Hegar earned a Purple Heart after being injured during a combat search-and-rescue mission in Afghanistan, and the second woman ever to ever receive a Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor. Unable to return to flying, she went back home to Texas to work in business and start a family, before launching a lobbying campaign—and 2012 lawsuit—to end the ban on woman in ground combat positions in the military (The Pentagon overturned the policy in 2013).

That last mission, as the video describes it, led to Washington D.C. insiders—including the district’s Republican incumbent Rep. John Carter—slamming more than a few—you guessed it—doors in her face.

At first blush, the door references might seem like a slightly awkward metaphor pushed a little too far. But as the ad reveals more and more about Hegar—part of an historic wave of women candidates this year—they turn out be an effective motif, framing the powerful details of her life story, and helping tie the three-and-a-half minute ad together.

They’re also the conceptual thread that led Cayce McCabe—the writer, director, and producer at political consulting firm Putnam Partners who created the ad—to shoot the film on a steady cam (moving in and out of literal doors) to make the ad feel “very fluid” and “as though the whole spot is connected.”

“There’s no reason that political advertising needs to be particularly boring, or particularly straightforward, or what people have been used to seeing in political ads for decades,” says McCabe. “We can make ads that are as cinematic—as well-shot, well-produced, well-written, clever, attention-grabbing—as the big corporations’ ads.”

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