Friday Fun: A Treasure Trove of Political Campaign TV Commercials, with a Social Media Twist

Here’s something to keep you busy for a couple of hours on a dreary Friday afternoon: a comprehensive collection of political campaign television commercials dating back to the 1950s. Revealing for more than just political reasons, since they also capture the aesthetics and pacing of the televised culture of the time. The best stand apart: if you’ve never actually seen the LBJ/daisy ad from 1964 in its entirety, watch below. Even forgetting its political/communications significance, it’s a fantastic piece of design.

Note that like a lot of current YouTube “commercials” (i.e., campaign videos), it ran only once as a paid ad, but was amplified by being shown to the huge audiences then watching the network news shows. For a good introduction, check out John Dickerson’s playlist — terrific stuff (in the G.H.W. Bush one, notice how funny the words “In a world where…” sound — too many movie promos…). Or, create and annotate your own, a nice social media touch.

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