THE BLOG
05/23/2011 09:00 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Tim Pawlenty vs. LeBron James

Tim Pawlenty may not be looking for support from Hollywood Boulevard or Madison Avenue. But his campaign ads borrow liberally from their playbook.

In my review for Pawlenty's "New Direction" YouTube video, I noted visual and tonal similarities to the TV show 24, movies like Independence Day and The Matrix, and Chrysler's Superbowl commercial about Detroit.

When I saw Pawlenty's recent "A Time for Truth" video, I was immediately struck by its similarities to the LeBron James "Rise" commercial for Nike basketball.

Both commercials feature grandiose meta-commentary on the moment, with LeBron rhetorically asking what he should do and Pawlenty explaining what he could be doing. Check out this mashup and see for yourself:

Sure, political commercials are often emotionally over-wrought. But it's rare to see political ads crib so overtly from other genres in order to create emotional resonance.

Pawlenty's ads further blur the line between politics and pop culture. If his strategy succeeds, future campaigns may erase it altogether.