Gimme That Old Time Campaignin’

If that old time campaignin’ was good enough for Ike, it’s good enough for me. In the wake of the high-tech extravaganzas at the Democratic and tonight’s Republican conventions, and the lavishly produced docu-biographies of the candidates and their spouses, it is sobering to look back at the first Presidential campaign commercials before Mad Ave got its mojo working. An online exhibition, The Living Room Candidate: Presidential Campaign Commercials 1952-2004 (sponsored by the Museum of the Moving Image), offers a greatest hits sampling of many of these “innocent” advertisements that transformed stump candidates into media personalities.
    Also included are the decidedly calculated, now legendary spots like the eerie Daisy Commercial (shown only once as a paid spot–but countless times as “news”) when LBJ ran against Barry Goldwater (bottom), and Ronald Reagan’s stunningly effective Morning in America, which insured his reelection.

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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.

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