Five of the best political adverts: Daisy Girl

This week we’re running a series featuring five of the most effective political adverts. Today it’s a trip back in time and across the Atlantic to a US Presidential campaign:

As yesterday’s featured Conservative Party advert showed, often with political adverts a little bit of controversy makes the message go a long way.

That too is true of probably the most famous political TV advertisement, the “Daisy Girl” advert screened but the once by the 1964 Lyndon Johnson Presidential campaign. It starts with a young girl innocently counting the petals on a flower, but then switches to an ominous voiceover counting down to zero. The screen is then filled with a mushroom cloud from a nuclear explosion.

The advert played on fears that Johnson’s opponent, Barry Goldwater, was willing to use nuclear weapons in Vietnam. The controversy resulted in the advertisement being pulled – but also in widespread media coverage which spread the advert’s message far and wide:

(Also available on YouTube here.)

You can see all the posts in this series on our Political Ads page – and scroll to the bottom of that page for Luis Fishman’s classic. The stretch from 7 seconds in until 22 seconds in is fairly normal. But as for the rest…

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.
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2 Comments

  • The Little Girl and the Daisy was part of a very effective campaign by LBJ’s team. Some other ads are here
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJrQOEFiuwA (mentions Republican Governor George Romney who was the father of Mitt).
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xov0PWCm_vc
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4bXPHBBJ58 (you have to tolerate the egomania of James Alexander at before the actual ad starts).

    The famous Willie Horton ad http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Io9KMSSEZ0Y

    Good ads from a losing candidate (Dukakis ran a similar ad against Dan Quayle but I can’t find it).

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