You Report: Election 2010

Published — October 6, 2010 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

American Future Fund uses “fork in the road” ad


In the age of YouTube, it’s easy to forget that TV advertising doesn’t come cheap. Producing a spot, then buying air time in a TV market can quickly add up, which might help explain the series of similar ads running nationwide by American Future Fund (AFF).

AFF, one of the older 501(c)(4) groups running ads this year, says it provides “a conservative and free market viewpoint.”

Nick Ryan, an Iowa-based lawyer who founded AFF, told the Center that he expects the group will spend close to $25 million on ads this year, more than triple what it poured into issue ads in the 2008 election. AFF spent almost $1 million earlier this year to help elect Republican Scott Brown to fill the empty Senate seat from Massachusetts.

AFF’s series of ads, all entitled “Fork in the Road,” start the same way. Ominous music plays as viewers travel down a road with a series of traffic signs, and at each sign, a female voice says, “A fork in the road. Ultimately you always have to make a decision.”

The next line of the ad is customized with the name of a targeted Democratic lawmaker for that TV market. For example, the ad airing in Georgia warns, “We know the road Jim Marshall is on,” while in Iowa it says, “We know the road Chet Edwards is on.” Each AFF ad then lists how often the targeted lawmaker “voted with Nancy Pelosi” and on which bills.

The ads all end by showing a fork in the road as an announcer urges voters to “take the right path” on election day.

AFF’s website shows at least 16 of the ads, which are airing in congressional districts spread around the country.

Ad Title: “Fork in the Road” series of ads

Paid for By: American Future Fund

Disclaimer: “American Future Fund is responsible for the contents of this ad”

Read more in Money and Democracy

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