60 Years of Presidential Attack Ads, in One Video

Attack Ads, Circa 1800

New Democrat Campaign “Ad”

Top 10 Political Ads of 2016

60 Years of Presidential Attack Ads, in One Video

Don’t Let Hillary Clinton Leave You Defenseless. Best negative Republican ad from the National Rifle Assn. A gripping mini-drama of a woman hearing an intruder in her house

60 Years of Presidential Attack Ads, in One Video

Attack Ads, Circa 1800

Déjà vu all over again for @NZLabour @NZGreens

How the “Daisy” Ad Changed Everything About Political Advertising

I love attack ads. They actually tell you something and bring the contrasts between the candidates into sharp focus.

Put another way, the firm believed that viewers should not be given too much information to put their minds and emotions to work. And Daisy Girl’s DNA has continued to provide instructions for today’s political advertising: Ronald Reagan’s famous 1984 “Bear” spot  used the animal to symbolize the Soviet Union without explicitly making the association. In 2004, Bush’s campaign skillfully employed the same technique with a spot that used wolves to symbolize al Qaeda.

Voting is not a purely rational act. As the late journalist Joe McGinnis observed, it’s a “psychological purchase” of a candidate. It’s often no less rational than buying a car or a house. DDB understood that arguing with voters would be a losing proposition. To persuade someone, especially in the political realm, a campaign must target emotions. Voters don’t oppose a candidate because they dislike his or her policies; they often oppose the policies because they dislike the candidate.

Reagan’s optimistic 1984 “Morning in America” spot was a good example of this kind of appeal. So was George H.W. Bush’s dark, fear-inducing “Revolving Door” spot in 1988 that exploited the controversy over a prison furlough program of his Democratic opponent, Michael Dukakis. Bernie Sanders’ “America” spot is a current example. They are all very different ads, but are aimed at generating a non-rational, emotional response.

DDB also believed that giving data and facts was less persuasive than telling a story. The best spots provide an experience. In addition to evoking emotions and not repeating what the viewer already knew, many of the DDB spots from 1964 had a narrative arc to them. A good example in 1964 was a Johnson spot reminding viewers of the many harsh attacks on Goldwater by his former GOP opponents. The gold standard for subsequent spots in this genre may be Bill Clinton’s 60-second “Journey” spot from 1992, in which he touted his small-town American values by recounting his childhood in Hope, Arkansas.

Source: How the “Daisy” Ad Changed Everything About Political Advertising | History | Smithsonian

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