Perry Johnson’s boastful ads for governor are misleading and include Russian stock footage

Businessman Perry Johnson is running for governor of Michigan. - PERRY JOHNSON CAMPAIGN
Perry Johnson campaign
Businessman Perry Johnson is running for governor of Michigan.

Perry Johnson, a self-described “quality guru” and the latest rich white Republican to run for governor of Michigan, launched his campaign with a $1.5 million advertising blitz in February that relied on Russian stock footage and falsely claimed that he saved the American auto industry.

The self-aggrandizing ads ran on broadcast TV, cable, radio, and the internet, touting Johnson’s statistical-based approach to improving manufacturing.

In a 60-second Super Bowl ad, Johnson is walking through a manufacturing plant superimposed with mathematical equations.

“When your car door closes just right, thank Perry Johnson,” a narrator says. “When you even have a job in the American auto industry, thank Perry Johnson.”

In an $800,000 ad focused on education, Perry uses stock footage from Russia that portrays a Michigan parent and child. Turns out, the footage was filmed by a Moscow-based photographer named Aleksandr Davydov, Metro Times has found. The model is from Russia.

click to enlarge Screenshot of a Perry Johnson ad that portrays a Michigan mother and child. The footage was shot in Russia. - PERRY JOHNSON'S CAMPAIGN
Perry Johnson's campaign
Screenshot of a Perry Johnson ad that portrays a Michigan mother and child. The footage was shot in Russia.

In the same ad, Perry is walking through the hallway of a school that is actually in West Virginia.

The narrator, again, falsely claims Johnson “saved the American automobile industry using statistics and standards.”

Johnson is a Bloomfield Hills businessman who uses statistics to improve business practices. But no one, outside of his campaign, would say he saved the auto industry.

In another ad, the narrator boasts that Johnson is “an enormously successful, self-made statistician and Michigander who first revolutionized the automobile industry, then various other industries around the world.”

Johnson’s campaign didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Michigan Democratic Party spokesperson Rodericka Applewhaite said it’s not shocking that a boastful Johnson relied on stock footage outside of Michigan.

“It should come as no surprise that odd-quality guru Perry Johnson — who made his millions by outsourcing, double-dealing, and cutting corners — is spamming the airwaves with an ad that can’t stand up to his own standards of perfection. Russia is no stand-in for Michigan. These stock photos won’t make our students, parents, and educators forget that Johnson’s education agenda would siphon half a billion from public schools with a DeVos-style voucher scheme and dismantle public education as we know it.”

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About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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