The people who beamed Madonna and "Yo! MTV Raps" into your living room are about to bring you . . . Richard Katz ?
An ad for the assemblyman will begin airing today on MTV, making Katz the first Los Angeles mayoral candidate to aggressively court the unclaimed 18- to 24-year-old vote.
As Katz entered the ad war, mayoral rival Richard Riordan stepped up his media blitz with a third television commercial. And Joel Wachs, another candidate, aired his first TV ad.
The Katz ad--featuring young supporters--comes out of Bill Clinton's playbook.
It was funded and produced by Young People for Richard Katz, heavily made up of twenty-something volunteers who worked in Young Californians for Clinton/Gore. Candidate Clinton appeared on MTV during last year's presidential campaign.
The 42-year-old Katz does not appear or speak in the 60-second ad, his first in the mayoral campaign. It features fast-moving pictures of the city--from graffiti-covered walls and a homeless man on the street to groups of youths talking and schoolchildren roller skating.
"With a leader like Richard Katz," says one unidentified young man, "things are going to start to happen. Because we're going to be listened to."
Another young man says: "During the riots, one of my family's businesses got burned down. . . . If it wasn't for the moral support that we were given by Mr. Katz, we would never have been able to rebuild." (Katz said he visited a San Fernando Valley deli after it was damaged in the riots, and comforted the owner, a longtime friend.)
The ad is targeted at the music video channel's core audience of 18- to 24-year-olds, who make up 11% of the city's 1.4 million voters, said Katz campaign manager Peter Taylor. The ad also will appear on VH-1, a music video channel that is popular among older audiences--generally baby boomers 25 to 49 years old.
Katz's campaign is being run by Clinton campaign strategist James Carville. But he had nothing to do with the ad--which was thought up by the group Young People for Richard Katz, said Amy Jo Meltzer, a 26-year-old member of the organization.
"We think Richard listens, and he understands that the young people are the future of our city," Meltzer said.
But Garry South, spokesman for mayoral rival Michael Woo, questioned the political wisdom of Katz targeting his first TV ad at young voters.
"You'd be better buying time on reruns of Lawrence Welk," South said. "That is going to hit more reliable voters."
Meanwhile, Wachs on Tuesday joined mayoral candidates Tom Houston, Nick Patsaouras and Riordan in the TV advertising race. Wachs' commercial mixes black and white and color footage of the candidate on the stump at political forums.
Riordan's latest TV ad continues the businessman-attorney's anti-Establishment message. Opening with a newspaper headline reading "City Faces Worst Budget Crisis Yet" followed by a close-up shot of a gun being fired, Riordan says, "The politicians want to take 500 police off the streets to pay for this deficit. . . . The politicians won't confront this deficit, but I will." Actually, city officials have considered continuing a hiring freeze that would reduce the police force by 500 positions by the end of the year, but no one has advocated it.