With 13 candidates in the Democratic primary for Baltimore mayor, it's hard to criticize anyone for anything that helps him or her cut through the clutter.
The first TV ad from City Councilman Carl Stokes does stand out. But whether that's a good or bad thing will probably depend on the eye of the beholder.
Opening with the sound of a police siren, the spot is loud and aurally obnoxious right from the start.
And then, there's Stokes brandishing a handgun.
Actually, for the first five seconds of the ad, the gun is featured more prominently than the candidate. He's in the background, slightly out of focus, waving the gun in his right hand while the camera shows the weapon in close-up.
The screens fills with the words: "89 percent not proficient in reading and math."
And that's followed by Stokes holding a piece of paper that says "High School Diploma."
"This is what our children need. But city hall doesn't work. Our schools don't work. So, our people don't work," he says. "I'm Carl Stokes. Let's get Baltimore working."
From the agitated tone of voice, to the gun, handcuffs, sirens, loud music and poses of confrontation with crossed arms, this is the imagery of an ad for a criminal defense attorney or, maybe, a syndicated crimebusters reality show.
I am going to hold off on grading it, until I have a large enough sample of ads to give all or most of the members of this class of mayoral candidates a report card.