The Cold War is often remembered as a personal clash between US Presidents (such as Truman, Eisenhower and Reagan) and Soviet leaders (Stalin, Khrushchev and Gorbachev). Yet each of these men had to navigate contrasting political systems to reach high political office. In the case of the incumbents of the US Presidency, the last step was generally to contest a Presidential Election campaign.
To support such campaigns, television had emerged since WW2 as an avenue for broadcasting political messages directly into the homes of the electoral masses. In earlier decades, electoral candidates relied upon face-to-face electoral rallies, newspapers reports of their speeches, posters and in the 20th century, radio broadcasts of their speeches. Television political advertisements used the capabilities of modern cinema to convey political messages that were emotionally charged but light on political content.
|Daisy||Type||TV political advertisement|
|Overview||A TV political advertisement produced by the incumbent President Lyndon B. Johnson’s campaign for the 1964 United States presidential election.The film chillingly juxtaposes a young girl counting while she pulls petals from a flower with the countdown to a missile launch. When the countdown finishes, the screen shifts to black and then transforms into a bright flash and a mushroom cloud from a nuclear explosion. The film finishes with a voiceover, which ends with the political message: ‘Vote for President Johnson on November 3. The stakes are too high for you to stay home.’The advertisement was shown only once, however, it was considered influential in the landslide re-election of President Johnson.|
|Sources||Discussion [external] and Video|
|Bear in the Woods||Type||TV political advertisement|
|Overview||‘There is a bear in the woods..’ are the opening words of a political advertisement from the 1984 U.S. presidential re-election of campaign of Ronald Reagan.The advertisement features a grizzly bear wandering through a forest accompanied by a narration that suggests the bear might be dangerous and that it is wise to prepare for such a possibility. The bear was intended to be an analogy for the USSR, and the implied message of the advertisement was that America had to be prepared to resist such a danger (the USSR was never mentioned directly in the advertisement). The advertisement contrasted with Walter Mondale’s (the opposing candidate) stated intention to negotiate with the USSR.|