Author: Pres. Johnson's Emotional Campaign Ads Changed American Politics

Robert Mann says daisy petals and mushroom cloud ads appealed to voters' fears.
3:00 | 10/27/11

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Transcript for Author: Pres. Johnson's Emotional Campaign Ads Changed American Politics
One of the most iconic campaign ads of all time and that of course is the infamous daisy ad run by Lyndon Baines -- -- Take a look for those of you who might not remember. -- -- Pretty. Yeah. And -- this things. Vote for president -- some on November 3. The stakes are too hard for you to stay home. -- get enough of that ad and joining us right now is a man who literally wrote the book on this and Bob man. From Louisiana State University he's professor of communications -- he wrote the book daisy petals and mushroom clouds. LBJ Barry Goldwater the ad that changed American politics Bob thanks thanks for joining us. And you didn't really deep dive into the background of this -- we know of course that it only ran one time. And had that much influence. I also want to get to this is how did the ad makers decide to go -- what was at the time obviously a very controversial. Add here. Well for one thing Lyndon Johnson wanted to hit an historic landslide he wanted to be. Franklin Roosevelt's. Historic numbers when he was reelected. And he wanted to go after go water in the most aggressive way possible possibly was a very unusual way to start presidential campaign it was the first spot of that. -- campaign by Johnson going hard negative on -- water. But he wanted a mandate -- wanted to go after -- -- vulnerability which was -- waters reckless talk about nuclear war nuclear weapons. Why only wants it strikes me Bob that this may have been the first truly viral campaign ad ever we see now web ads that have no money behind him whatsoever that end up dominating the discussion is that what happened in 1964 did did the Johnson people think about running -- more than thirty done its damage. You know they didn't need to run it more if it was seen by fifty million people that that one night and abide probably another fifty million people. Later in the week when all three major networks showed it on the -- -- in its entirety so by my calculations something about. A hundred million people sought in the -- and that one week that accounts for about 80% of the electorate. And they they never. They never really thought they -- showed again they followed up the next week with another series strong spot attacking -- water using another little girl licking ice cream -- -- talking about nuclear fallout. So is really a series of punches going after -- water. On his reckless since about nuclear war. So that that first spot is really what a piece of a very sustained assault on -- water through the month of September 1964. About whether it was -- -- concern that from that and from LBJ folks that there could be backlash about the -- using a little girl and and nuclear mushroom cloud in this same frame. Well yes a little bit some of Goldwater's some of Johnson's people were concerned. Johnston himself was a little concerned. But I think that they decided that it was worth. Worth the risk not so much that they were worried about Goldwater beating them but really Johnson wanted to press his advantage and he knew that go water. Was very vulnerable as on this issue got to remember that. That this the spot came in this campaign was was played out less than two years after the Cuban missile crisis people were still very afraid of nuclear war nuclear. Nuclear fallout and Johnson was doing everything you could press that advantage. And it's almost fifty years later we're still talking about its iconic image talk obviously when the Johnson got away like that he wanted to against Goldwater what's the broader impact how -- -- and all other generations up to the present day take two of the lessons that makes up from this that. Well this was the first. This is the first of creative use of a political advertising before this. Campaign that the Johnson embarked on a 1964 presidential campaigns and and politicians in general didn't advertise themselves using creative advertising principles -- basically -- abbreviated. Versions of their campaign speeches they didn't make emotional appeals and a very rational appeals. So one of the things are arguing the book is that this is the first time the candidates really started appealing to the emotion. And not so much the intellect and this is really the beginning of what we now see pretty commonly and and political campaign which is appealing to emotion. And the particularly the emotion of fear. Well in their last thirty seconds here robbery to have another revolution advertising it seems like we have so many outlets now. For people to get information we got to see the -- that that I campaigned advertised changes that -- -- I think we do and the I think honestly a lot of campaign advertising is is not very creative is very formulaic they all look the same in many cases. And I think it is time for four campaign advertisers to sort of catch up. And and and -- -- be more creative because I think a lot of what has put out there and campaign advertising is ignored because this is just not very interesting -- for -- of not very creative. All right Bob band from Louisiana State University the new book on the hazy that is out right now thanks for being on top winds and -- -- waterfront is a fascinating after. Thank you very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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