The vote on Feb. 24 to elect a new mayor of Chicago did not turn out the way our city’s sitting boss, Rahm Emanuel, hoped it would.

Despite outspending all of his four opponents in the race by a vast margin, Emanuel’s advertising — and his own performance in the campaign — clearly weren’t compelling enough to catapult him to victory last month.

Now Emanuel is in a heated fight for his political life with Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who came in second in the Feb. 24 vote. It’s a new day for Garcia — one he may not have expected to see as recently as six weeks ago.

Both candidates are running TV commercials as the run-off vote nears — though Emanuel still has much more money to spend on ads than does Garcia.

Political TV advertising, ultimately, is as much about image as it is message. I asked two Chicago advertising executives who so eloquently assessed the Bruce Rauner and Pat Quinn advertising strategies in last year’s Illinois gubernatorial race to do the same for the Emanuel and Garcia campaigns that will end with a run-off election on Apr. 7.


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