“Daisy Girl”

Posted: March 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

Ad Description
This TV commercial, run during Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidential campaign, had a huge impact on viewers like no other. It ran only once, September 7, 1964, on CBS. The writer was Tony Schwartz and the agency was Doyle Dane Bernbach.

For that point in time, beginning a campaign with a negative ad toward the opponent was unusual. Johnson slammed opponent Barry Goldwater. His ad showed an innocent girl, plucking flowers from a daisy. As the camera zoomed in her eye, nuclear explosions went off, and Johnson’s voice appears: “These are the stakes. To make a world in which all of God’s children can live or to go into the dark. We must either love each other or we must die.”

Facet of Effects Model Applied

-Perception-

The facet of affect that this video most closely aligns with Perception.

Many people were exposed to this ad–about 50 million the night it aired, and another 50 million the following week on news networks. Total, about 80% of the electorate saw it. It grabbed peoples attention by  the graphic and dramatic theme of the video. It peaked interest over what the candidates really stood for, and there was relevance, since the presidential election was looming. It also raised awareness about what Goldwater’s (alleged) beliefs were.

-Success-
This was a political campaign ad, so the success rate would be if the candidate got elected. It, along with additional negative ads, some very similar, aided Johnson in garnering 61.1% of popular votes, which was then the highest since 1820. The ad was most definitely a success.

Demographics 

-Social-

This advertisement was targeted at people regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity. Age did have a factor in it, however. The target audience was anyone 21 years or older–legal voting age. In the election of 1964, those voting would be the Greatest Generation, the Silent Generation/Traditionalists, and a few Baby Boomers.

-Psychological-

Under the VALs system, the people (voters) impacted by this campaign ad would be closest to Believers. They fit under the ‘ideal’ label. The voters who are voted for Johnson would fall under the “I Measure Twice.” The people are wanting a rewarding future with a new president–they don’t want the potential danger of a president who is so eager to start nuclear warfare.

-Behavioral-

The targeted audience would fall most closely align with the Feel-Think-Do. The advertisement plays on emotions-first innocence and purity, and then the horrors of war. It makes people stop and consider, and then (hopefully) go and vote (for Johnson).

Personal Analysis
Negative ads are an integral part of campaigning today, but none have lived in infamy the way “Daisy” has. The polar opposites of purity and destruction were combined in an advertisement with a potent message. Despite the discrepancy between the two extremities, they worked together in an effective message that resonated in the minds of viewers and has remained notable throughout history.

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