Muriel Bowser’s Newest Ad Features Supporters Lip-Syncing Her Disembodied Voice

The ad features Bowser's voice coming out of other people's mouths.

Just in time for Halloween, Muriel Bowser’s campaign has released what might be the strangest advertisement yet in the District’s mayoral election. The minute-long spot features a series of Washingtonians shot in black-and-white talking about a deep, abiding love for DC. The catch: the only voice you hear is Bowser’s.

Bowser shows up at the end—in color and after another plug of President Obama’s recent endorsement of the Democratic Party nominee—but not before a solid 45 seconds in the uncanny auditory valley. The clip was posted on YouTube about noon Monday and will start airing on local television at 4:45 PM, according to an e-mail from Joaquin McPeek, the Bowser campaign’s communications director.

Ad time in Washington isn’t cheap, especially when the Maryland gubernatorial race and congressional races in Northern Virginia are already clogging the airwaves. But Bowser’s campaign is well-armed for the final three weeks in its contest against independents David Catania and Carol Schwartz, reporting $1,025,554 on hand, according to a campaign finance disclosure filed Friday.

If you’re creeped out by the sonic tricks in Bowser’s latest ad, though, rest assured that unsettling ads come from all sides. Catania’s campaign cocked a lot of eyebrows last month when it released an attack ad against Bowser featuring an all-puppet cast.

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Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.