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Political Advertising Essay, Research Paper

Political Television Advertising

The least effective ad that I chose I call the Lover s Ad . This is not surprising in that at the time the ad was created, television advertising was in its infancy.

The ad begins with a view of two hearts with an arrow crossing through it. One heart is called Ike and the other heart is called Bob. It is about Eisenhower and Stevenson running for president in 1952. The ad contains no musical soundtrack. All sound effects are verbal sound effects.

There are no characters depicted in the commercial to reflect the targeted audience. There are only two distinct voices that are talking to each other throughout the ad. In 1952 blacks were largely disenfranchised. Additionally, since the commercial was done in the infancy of television and at the time not every household had a television like they have today, the ad was targeted to middle to upper income class white Americans.

The central message of the commercial is the difference between the candidate s views on lowering taxes and spending more on defense. These messages are not implied, they are stated.

Overall, the commercial emphasize the positive qualities of Ike and negative qualities of Bob. This is apparent from the dialogue between the two voices on the ad.

I believe this ad to be the least effective ad because the visual effects are poor, the commercial is in black and white, and I didn t find it to clearly make the points. The ad ends with a song that was in my opinion demeaning to Ike in light of the fact that Ike was the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces during World War II in the European theater.

The most effective ad I chose is the ad I call the Who is David Duke? ad. The ad takes the format of a well-known television game show called Jeopardy. The ad opens with the word Jabberwocky and pans out to a white host and three white contestants.

The ad is clearly targeted to Caucasian voters in that there are no minorities in the ad. Further supporting this conclusion is the nature of the questions the contestants are asked. Through this question and answer format, the viewers are informed that David Duke was kicked out of the Reserve Officer Training Corps, that he lied about serving his country and that he never was in the military, that he hired ex-Nazis to work on his campaigns, that he failed to file state income taxes from 1984 to 1987, that he abdicates a racial division of two nations and that he sold Nazi books and tapes from the basement in his legislative office. This television advertisement gives a lot of negative information about David Duke.

The central message of the commercial is that because of David Duke s philosophies that he was at the time denying, his values indicate he is untrustworthy and anti-American, a tax cheat and a Nazi. As a historical note, at one time David Duke was a very high ranking official in the Louisiana Klu Klux Klan.

The ad is not negative in the classic sense; it portrays negative information about the candidate in a positive and informative manner. The game show question and answer format is particularly effective in getting this message across in a non-insulting and very clear manner.

I believe this ad was the most effective in that the message is very clear. If you thought you knew what positions this candidate took, better look again. There was no sound track, only a game show question and answer format that makes the viewers question themselves after getting this information about the candidate and the information is really not good.

The information about David Duke is presented in such a manner that if the viewers were not familiar with Mr. Duke s affiliations with at best questionable factions, the viewers would not feel insulted or overwhelmed with bad feelings.

This ad was an effective method to disseminate negative information in a positive manner. I find the ad to be very entertaining and especially very funny. I certainly would not even consider voting for David Duke after watching that new version of the game show Jeopardy .


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