Many who saw President Barack Obama's latest campaign commercial wondered how the campaign could have conceived of such an unusual idea. The commercial attempts to appeal to young voters by comparing voting for the first time to losing one's virginity.
It turns out Russian President Vladimir Putin may have inspired the Obama campaign.
Earlier this year, Putin ran a series of commercials that compared voting to having sex while running for a third term as Russia's president.
Here is how Foreign Policy described one of Putin's commercials:
A suggestive ad rallying support for Putin's presidential campaign shows a young woman seeking a fortune-teller's advice. "Let's find out, cutie, who is intended to you by destiny," the mystic says. The girl replies, "You know. I wish it to be for love -- It is my first time."
According to the BBC, another one of Putin's commercials was titled, "Putin. Only for love the first time."
In that commercial, a woman tells a doctor, "You know doctor, I am very scared, although my choice is one of love."
The doctor tells the woman, "The main thing is to be sure it's safe. Especially the first time."
"Everyone is afraid the first time," the doctor says. "The main thing is to trust your choice. Because trust is love. And you can trust your choice."
Then, "to romantic music, the camera then closes in on a picture of Mr Putin, and the girl is shown walking to a polling station."
In Obama's commercial, Lena Dunham, creator of HBO's "Girls," says, "Your first time shouldn’t be with just anybody ... You want to do it with a great guy. It should be with a guy with beautiful … somebody who really cares about and understands women."
After listing off policies Obama has supportive she found to be attractive and implying those who save themselves for marriage are "uncool" for "not being ready," Dunham then says:
Think about how you want to spend those four years. In college age time, that’s 150 years. Also, it’s super uncool to be out and about and someone says, “Did you vote,” and “No, I didn’t vote, I wasn’t ready.”
My first time voting was amazing. It was this line in the sand. Before I was a girl. Now I was a woman. I went to the polling station and pulled back the curtain. I voted for Barack Obama.
The commercial's similarities to Putin's is the least of the Obama campaign's worries for the advertisement is reflective of a campaign desperately trying to appeal to young voters and liberal women in the waning days of a flailing campaign.