Rod Smith changes TV ad firms for 2nd time

Published August 8, 2006

FORT LAUDERDALE - In a troubling sign for a campaign entering the final stretch of a tough primary, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rod Smith is switching TV advertising firms.

It's the second time in a matter of weeks that Smith has switched firms handing his crucial TV campaign, and the latest move comes amid decidedly mixed assessments of the effectiveness of Smith's first TV spots.

"I don't think much of those ads Smith has," Annette Bassow, a retiree in Broward County, said Monday of a commercial featuring Smith talking about rising insurance rates beside a loud helicopter. "He was shouting too much."

The Smith campaign is bringing on board Washington-based media consultant Dane Strother to replace Stan Adkins of Coral Gables, who worked on Smith's first state Senate race and has limited experience handling major statewide campaigns. Adkins replaced another high-profile national media consultant, Saul Shorr of Philadelphia.

"The first ads moved our (poll) numbers, did what we wanted, got a lot of attention. But at the end of the day, Rod wanted something a little less edgy," said Smith campaign manager Paul Neaville, downplaying the instability on the campaign team. "We're not worried, our donors aren't worried, and the voters won't care."

Smith, a former prosecutor and state senator from Alachua, started airing unusual campaign commercials about 10 days ago.