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Stephen Colbert sanitary napkin political ad: Funny, gross, and effective?

Mocking the Republican 'Say Yes to the Dress' campaign ad, 'The Colbert Report' produced it's own fake campaign ad aimed at women voters.

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What’s worse than appealing to female voters via an ad that compares choosing a candidate to choosing a wedding dress? An ad that attempts to appeal to female voters by comparing choosing a candidate to choosing a sanitary napkin.

The first one is real, a controversial political ad from the College Republican National Committee that depicts a bride-to-be trying on gubernatorial candidates as if they were wedding dresses

The second ad is from the only person who would dare go there – satirist Stephen Colbert.

Mocking the much-ridiculed CRNC ad, on Tuesday night's "The Colbert Report," the comedian unveiled his own "campaign ad" in which two women riding bikes compare candidates as if they were choosing feminine hygiene products. 

But first, Colbert assured viewers that the wedding dress ad was proof that the GOP, in fact, has no problems communicating with women, as it is often charged.

“It shows the modern GOP finally understands the real concerns of women,” Colbert says. “Weddings!” He later added, “They're just like that shy kid at the dance who wants to get your attention by denying you equal pay," Colbert said. "It means he likes you."

And he congratulated the CRNC for their “Say Yes to the Candidate” ad, a clever take on TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress” program.

“They are imitating the popular TLC show 'Say Yes To The Dress' to appeal to female voters in the same way you would appeal to veterans with 'Cupcake Wars,'" he said.

Following that logic, Colbert unveiled his own ad in which he appeals to “lady voters.”

The ad opens with two women riding bikes through a park.

“…Right now it’s that time,” says Lady Voter 1.

“Midterms? Yeah. Me too,” says Lady Voter 2.

Lady Voter 1 proudly shares that she’s “being protected by Rick Scott in my private sector,” while her friend, embarrassed, admits she’s still using Charlie Crist.

“It’s been four years since he was governor!” Lady Voter 1 exclaims. “He could never give you that fresh feeling!”

The ad then cuts to a classic sanitary napkin ad device, the side-by-side comparison. Dyed water is poured onto both the Scott and Crist sanitary napkins while a voiceover explains, “Under Charlie Crist, tax payer dollars were leaking everywhere. But Rick Scott keeps your tax dollars where they belong, even on heavy spending days.”

Whose ad is more effective?

As Peter Grier explained in an earlier post on the CRNC’s ad, the wedding dress bit may just break through the clutter – but spread out over multiple races in six states with a limited budget, they may not actually be seen by many voters.

But The Colbert Report ad will likely be widely seen, not only on cable, but in clips on the Internet. The Colbert Report had a Nielsen rating share of .6 or about 600,000 US adults age 18-49 during the latest sweep. And as a 2012 Pew Research Report of news audiences notes, the Comedy Channel's The Colbert Report and The Daily Show had the youngest audience of all news programs, with 43 percent of Colbert’s regular audience is younger than 30 – precisely the young voters the CRNC was hoping to reach in its ad.

While the wedding dress political ad may very well backfire, if female voters find it condescending or sexist. Colbert’s ad, however, appears to make its point loud and clear.

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