5 Best Political Campaign Ads
A previous post “5 Worst Political Campaign Ads” highlighted (some of) the worst political campaign ads American politics had to offer. But do not think that I am a negative and cynical spectator of the US political sport. For every whacky or ridiculous campaign ad there are dozens of dull and uninteresting ones. (it is just more fun being mean about the rubbish ones!)
I am also a massive fan of House of Cards (UK and US) and love the directness of some political US adverts. If only we could spend money like that in the UK!!! Amongst the pile of trivial, boring or downright awful campaign ads across the years there are some that really stand out.
These are the campaign ads which leave an impression after you watch them. Impact they call it. The ones where you actually process what has just been said, rather than simply scoff or laugh at what you have seen. Some of them even have calls to action that may have even worked!
Good political campaign ads have to be clear, concise and most importantly, above all, they have to make you get out and vote for the candidate or party. An advert may be the most interesting, artistic, amusing or thought-provoking advert of all time, but if it does trigger the viewer to action, to get out and vote for the candidate, then it is a failure. I am sure that some of the Artistic Award winning commercial adverts don’t sell a single extra unit!
I don’t necessarily agree with any of these ads – so I am NOT endorsing any of the content – just the effectiveness of the ad. I had some people send me some very useful suggestions. Some of your suggestions either were already on the list or made the list because of you. I excluded one particularly nasty, negative yet effective suggestion which had racist undertones and has no place in politics or on my blog.
- Richard Nixon
This advert ticks all of the boxes on the good campaign advert checklist. It is emotive, promises change, explains policy, and ends strong. “This time vote like your whole world depended on it” is a great line, it emphasises the importance of the election and the importance of voting for Nixon.
- George H. W. Bush
This advert perfectly sums up the tone of the campaign. Bush was the candidate for law and order and conservative values. “America can’t afford that risk” is another great line.
- Lyndon Johnson
This political campaign ad is one out of the history books. It was aired just once before it was deemed inappropriate for American viewers. But it was too late – the image of the mushroom cloud billowing up into the air was engrained into the minds of the voters. Some call this advert overly violent or exaggerative. But the effect is undeniable.
- Ronald Reagan
This advert has the message spot on. So often in political campaigning the incumbent person or party fails to present a compelling ‘re-elect me, don’t change course’ message. It often comes out negative or too bogged down in statistics and data. This advert is the polar opposite. It shows how well the country is doing, who’s responsible for it doing so well, and asks why anyone would want to change course. The advert explains that this is only the beginning of a brighter future – “it’s morning again in America”, so why would anyone vote differently?
- Barack Obama
This advert sums up everything wrong with Mitt Romney in 30 seconds. It shows that Romney is too rich, too uncaring, and too out of touch to become President. “Mitt Romney’s not the solution. He’s the problem” gives a blunt smack to Romney’s campaign theme of being a businessman. Attack ads are seen by many as too personal, dirty and unpleasant, but they resonate and leave the audience with the message in their heads. This one is even more effective because the accusations have ‘independent’ sources (newspapers and magazines) speaking rather than Obama’s team.
Just like the worst political campaign ad post, this list is not exhaustive or in any particular order. This is merely a selection of great political advertisements which stand out above the rest.