September 17, 2008

5 old presidential campaign ads.

For LBJ, Ford, Ike, JFK, and Dukakis. I love the variation in style, which, in each case, belongs so clearly to its decade.



I don't agree with John Dickerson that these are all great ads. I didn't remember that Dukakis put out that "heartbeat away" ad. Man, that was in poor taste. The Ford one was poignantly pathetic. The JFK ad was incredibly boring. The Ike ad was similarly boring but fascinating to us today because of the very old-fashioned presentation of the woman's role. That leaves Johnson's anti-Goldwater ad. I loved that one.

20 comments:

Peter V. Bella said...

Yes we can…

Obama stole JFK’s ad line.

William said...

There's a special poignancy about Johnson presenting himself as the anti-war candidate.

MadisonMan said...

Those are really interesting, but Man was the LBJ ad LONG! Did that really run on TV? And you're right about the Ford ad. Cringe. Loved seeing the Hamill wedge cut though!

I vaguely remember the Dukakis spot. None of the others.

goesh said...

I always liked the simplicity of the old "I like Ike" campaign button. Frazzled nuance I tell you, that's most of the sh** we see coming out this past decade or so/

Palladian said...

Dickerson thinks the Dukakis tactic is working now? Tee hee.

Palladian said...

"Those are really interesting, but Man was the LBJ ad LONG! Did that really run on TV?"

I know, I kept thinking it was a clip from a Woody Allen movie. I also kept thinking: this guy is a Republican? No wonder they lost.

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
George said...

The LBJ ad is very "Mad Men," and the guy must be an actor. He's also a bit Nancy. I bet he wished he was in San Francisco. And afraid of nuclear war? What a wuss. Get under your table, dude.

Is that Oprah in the Ford ad? And how Jerry is so calm. Nothing to worry about with that sweater on. The kids are stand-ins for us, the docile masses.

And it's Jane Hathaway for Ike! The Family Circle. No one talks about "our rich heritage" anymore. We're all supposed to feel guilty about being Indian-killing slave-owning Earth-raping lard-licking napalmers.

And imagine Obama running the Dukakis ad? I don't know.. I imagine McCain running an ad that says "B. Hussein Obama" just like "J. Danforth Quayle."

Palladian said...

"And how Jerry is so calm."

It was the 70s: Quaaludes!

"And imagine Obama running the Dukakis ad? I don't know.. I imagine McCain running an ad that says "B. Hussein Obama" just like "J. Danforth Quayle."

If he wins, not even a heartbeat will separate Obama from the chair in the Oval Office. Scary.

bearbee said...

The Ike ad was funny with dad blithely reading the newspaper while his womans-work-is-never-done wife slaves over the kids education. Male-bashing '50's style.

The heartbeat ad was riveting.

Johnson ad could be applied to any pol. Ad length 1 minute 70 seconds. Todays ads 20 seconds?

Ford ad boring.

Kennedy ad apt today except for the high interest rates.

BIll said...

There is a story here. John Dickerson, working for the establishment Slate web site, picked these five ads as his "top 5 favorites" of the last 60 years, after reviewing "hundreds" of ads. Egads -- these ads were alomost all boring and awful, and it would take about five minutes on YouTube to find 50 better and more effective ads. No wonder the media doesn't get Palin.

Nels said...

These are his favorites, not what he considers the best or most effective. You can't really argue against someone's favorites.

chuck b. said...

That was awesome.

In the Kennedy ad, I'm struck by how whiny it sounds. Hearing the lady complain about the cost of washing her clothes made me want to laugh. That level of petty complaint seems common for Democrats even now.

The Johnson ad is very revealing. Could this be a Democrat's first use of the disaffected Republican? It must have been very influential because the concerned-conservative-turned-liberal is a guiding narrative strategy for today's middle-left. They love that strategy and reward anyone who takes it, and when they can't find anyone to take it, they make it up!

The Eisenhower ad is so delightfully sensible (or apparently so), just like the 1950's-era Disney film on menstruation shown on BoingBoing yesterday. The 1950s have gotten a bad rap for too long now. The 50s haven't been popular since the 1980s.

The Ford ad is insane--was he going for the pre-tween vote with that one? Did he think Republicans were absorbed with the political opinions of their children? Or, was he trying to reach the swing vote? (Erm, the swing-set vote...) It's wonderfully patronizing to suppose that's what Americans wanted to hear from a Presidential candidate, but also rather honest.

Ann Althouse said...

"n the Kennedy ad, I'm struck by how whiny it sounds. Hearing the lady complain about the cost of washing her clothes made me want to laugh. That level of petty complaint seems common for Democrats even now."

Yeah, and there was JFK right there in her house, listening to it all. I wonder what was going through his mind. But he said he really cared.

Kansas City said...

Fascinating stuff. I really have a hard time trying to judge whether any would have been effective in their day. Other than the Quayle one, nothing seems memorable about any of them.

It also is interesting how the slate guy thinks the Quayle ad would be positive thing for Obama. I'm sure most democrats think it would be. I am uncertain. But I doubt Obama has the guts to do it, unless we get down to the last week and he is about to lose.

Palladian said...

"Yeah, and there was JFK right there in her house, listening to it all."

I kept thinking... here's this rich, famous politician in your house listening to you whine about money. Duh! Ask him for a check!

Vote for JFK: He might show up at your house some day, listen to you whine, then give you a check.

MadisonMan said...

It also is interesting how the slate guy thinks the Quayle ad would be positive thing for Obama. I'm sure most democrats think it would be.

I didn't get that vibe from his reaction to the Dukakis ad at all! He said:

You can imagine the Obama campaign running the same ad, except of course for Dukakis, the ad didn't work.

That doesn't sound at all like advocacy to mean. It's saying the ad didn't work!

MadisonMan said...

Change that to mean to be to me.

blake said...

MadMan--you're emphasizing the wrong part.

It's not "the ad didn't work", it's the "except".

It struck me as a statement that it would be effective now. Maybe not, though. It's not like the air is clear....

Ernst Blofeld said...

The Woody Allen vibe was strong with the Johnson ad. Intensely verbal, full of stuttering and tics. I wouldn't call it "poignant" about it. That smarmy bastard Bill Moyers was probably behind it.

One thing that isn't around much any more is jingle political ads.

Ike
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9RAxAgksSE&feature=related

and

JFK
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nplm1G7t5UE&feature=related

They're musical, but the focus is on the words.

The silly Will.I.Am video would probably be the modern equivalent of that, but the video is more about images and celebrity. You can imagine the Ike ad working on the radio, but not the Will.I.Am vid.