28 August 2006

Morning in America

While political campaigns have always used some form of mass communication, the use of advertising and modern advertising techniques only really took hold after the Second World War.

The American Museum of the Moving Image has compiled an archive of television commercials from American presidential campaigns beginning with the 1952 Eisenhower-Stephenson contest. The Living Room Candidate is a compelling collection of some of the most influential advertising ever created.

One of the most potent was "Prouder, Stronger, Better", for the Reagan-Bush re-election campaign in 1984. Over 20 years later it remains an emotionally striking 60 seconds of film. You don't need to recall the turmoil of the 1970-80 period when Reagan was first elected. Watch this and you'll be moved.

You can also find the famous Democratic spot from 1964 featuring a little girl and an atomic explosion and the Republican spot from 2004 featuring a flip-flopping John Kerry.

Prouder, Stronger, Better is more commonly known as "Morning in America", taken from the opening line of the 30 second version. The copy below is taken from youtube.com and while it isn't as good a copy as the one linked above, the effectiveness of the music, voice, images and script are still there.

This is the gold standard of political television spots.