Our Pledge To You

Elections

Lightfoot closing runoff campaign with a light touch ad featuring her daughter

Lori Lightfoot is closing her mayoral runoff campaign with a light touch: a commercial that features her 11-year-old daughter trying to distract viewers as her mom delivers a serious message about ending business as usual at City Hall.

The 30-second spot is the subject of a $300,000 buy through Thursday alone, with the prospect of extending it until voters go to the polls on April 2.

It opens with Lightfoot seated in the front room of her Logan Square home declaring that she is running for mayor for “my daughter’s future and for all Chicago’s children.”

“That’s why nothing will distract me from bringing real change to Chicago by breaking the grip of Ed Burke and the corrupt political machine,” Lightfoot says after the camera shows a framed family photo of Lightfoot, her wife, Amy Eshelman and Vivian.

As Lightfoot reiterates that core campaign pledge, her daughter Vivian tiptoes into the room, offers a mischievous wave and stands right behind mom doing the popular dance known as “flossing.”

Lightfoot then says, “Focusing on public safety in every neighborhood. Investing in our local schools and making sure that families can afford to stay in the city.”

During that passage, Vivian can be seen marching behind her mother loudly playing a trumpet in a failed attempt to drown out the campaign promise.

Vivian then pulls a giant piece of slime, then plays with the barking and panting family dog as her mom declares, “The politics of the past haven’t served us.”

At that point, Vivian hustles up to her mom’s chair with a flashlight in her hand and delivers the closing line, which also happens to be Lightfoot’s campaign slogan.

“It’s time to bring in the light,” Vivian says with a smile, as Lightfoot laughs out loud.

The ad is Lightfoot’s third of the runoff campaign, but the first that attempts to lure voters with humor.

After coming, seemingly out of nowhere to finish first in round-one of the mayoral sweepstakes, Lightfoot opened with an ad interspersing clips of her victory speech with scenes of her walking through the city and talking to voters.

That was followed by a hard-hitting ad in a direct response to a Preckwinkle commercial that sought to portray Lightfoot as a “wealthy corporate lawyer who’s defended the elites in this country” only to “recast” herself as a police reformer despite a record showing otherwise.

“Why is Toni Preckwinkle launching a ‘full blown,’ and ‘incorrect’ attack against Lori Lightfoot?” the narrator asks.

The ad then showed a series of newspaper headlines and television newscasts outlining Preckwinkle’s ties to embattled Ald. Edward Burke (14th), her decision to hire Burke’s son for a sensitive county Homeland Security job, and about Preckwinkle’s wildly-unpopular and now-repealed tax on sweetened beverages.

“An entrenched political insider won’t lead Chicago forward. It’s time to bring in the light,” the announcer says over footage of Lightfoot’s election night celebration.

While Lightfoot hits the airwaves with humor, beginning Tuesday, the Preckwinkle campaign will be “totally dark,” sources said.

It was not immediately known whether Preckwinkle is suffering from a temporary lull in television advertising or whether she will be off the air for the remainder of the runoff campaign.

So far in the runoff campaign, Lightfoot has out-spent Preckwinkle by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. She’s spent $1.15 million on TV advertising to Preckwinkle’s $662,000, said a source familiar with the media buys by both mayoral candidates.

Traditionally, political candidates try to close their campaigns with warm and fuzzy ads that boost their likability with voters.

Four years ago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel literally closed his mayoral campaign dressed in a fuzzy sweater admitting that he had made mistakes, that his hard-charging ways could rub people the wrong way and that he would try to learn from those mistakes if voters gave him a second term.

By choosing humor and featuring her daughter, Lightfoot is putting a clever twist on that standard game plan.