Playlist What Makes an Effective Ad

Prouder, Stronger, Better

President Reagan's evocative re-election campaign ads were created by the Tuesday Team, an all-star group of advertising executives including Hal Riney, Philip Dusenberry, and Jerry Della Femina. The Reagan campaign made it clear to the team that they wanted something more effective and memorable than the straightforward "hard sell" ads of the 1980 campaign. The result was an inspiring series of picturesque ads collectively known as "Morning in America." With brightly lit montages of idyllic scenes of suburban life and swelling music, the ads evoked a Norman Rockwell vision of the country, suggesting that President Reagan had restored American optimism. By asking, “Do we really want to go back to where we were four short years ago?" the ads also gently attacked the Democratic candidate, former Vice President Walter Mondale, by linking him to the Jimmy Carter presidency. The voice of Hal Riney, who narrates the ad, is familiar from many commercials, for cars, insurance companies, and other products. According to Dusenberry, when Reagan was introduced to the Tuesday Team, he said, "I understand you guys are selling soap. I thought you'd like to see the bar." The "Morning in America" ads were run in heavy saturation early in the year, during Reagan's uncontested primary run, to set the tone for the rest of the campaign.

Transcript

Museum of the Moving Image
The Living Room Candidate
"Prouder, Stronger, Better," Reagan, 1984

MALE NARRATOR: It's morning again in America. Today, more men and women will go to work than ever before in our country's history. With interest rates at about half the record highs of 1980, nearly 2,000 families today will buy new homes, more than at any time in the past four years. This afternoon, 6,500 young men and women will be married. And with inflation at less than half of what it was just four years ago, they can look forward with confidence to the future. It's morning again in America. And, under the leadership of President Reagan, our country is prouder and stronger and better. Why would we ever want to return to where we were less than four short years ago?

[TEXT: PRESIDENT REAGAN]

Credits

"Prouder, Stronger, Better," Reagan-Bush '84, 1984

Maker: Tuesday Team: Hal Riney

Original air date: 09/17/84

Video courtesy of Ronald and Nancy Reagan/Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

From Museum of the Moving Image, The Living Room Candidate: Presidential Campaign Commercials 1952-2012.
www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/1984/prouder-stronger-better (accessed April 23, 2014).

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This playlist is designed to support the classroom use of the “What Makes an Effective Ad?” lesson plan. Additional analysis of the ads and an ad evaluation rubric are provided in the lesson.
Click on thumbnail to view video
 
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Political ads use emotion, persuasion, facts, and cinematic style to influence voters. To critically analyze an ad, one must evaluate it on all of these levels.

This is an ad for President Ronald Reagan's re-election campaign in 1984. Focus on its emotional appeal.

What is the tone of the ad? What is the ad’s argument? Does the tone reflect the argument? Why or why not?

How do you think the makers of the ad want you to feel? How do you know? How does the ad actually make you feel? Does the ad succeed?
This 2008 John McCain ad criticizes Democratic candidate Barack Obama. Focus on its emotional appeal.

What is the tone of the ad? What is the ad’s argument? Does the tone reflect the argument? Why or why not?

How do you think the makers of the ad want you to feel? How do you know? How does the ad actually make you feel? Does the ad succeed?
This is an ad for Vice President Richard Nixon's first presidential campaign in 1960. Focus on its emotional appeal.

What is the tone of the ad? What is the ad’s argument? Does the tone reflect the argument? Why or why not?

How do you think the makers of the ad want you to feel? How do you know? How does the ad actually make you feel? Does the ad succeed?
This is a 1972 ad for President Richard Nixon's re-election campaign against George McGovern. Focus on the persuasiveness of the ad’s argument.

What is the central issue of this ad? Why is it important? What is the ad’s argument? How does the ad support its argument? Is it convincing?
This is a 2000 ad for Vice President Al Gore's campaign against George W. Bush. Focus on the persuasiveness of the ad’s argument.

What is the central issue of this ad? Why is it important? What is the ad’s argument? How does the ad support its argument? Is it convincing?
This is a 1972 ad for President Richard Nixon's re-election campaign against George McGovern. Focus on the persuasiveness of the ad’s argument.

What is the central issue of this ad? Why is it important? What is the ad’s argument? How does the ad support its argument? Is it convincing?
This is a 1992 ad for President George Bush’s re-election campaign against Bill Clinton. Focus on the factual claims this ad makes.

Does this ad make specific factual claims? List all of the claims the ad makes. Are these claims general or specific? Does the ad cite any sources to support its claims? If so, are they reliable sources?
This is a 1992 ad for Bill Clinton’s campaign against incumbent President George Bush. Focus on the factual claims this ad makes.

Does this ad make specific factual claims? List all of the claims the ad makes. Are these claims general or specific? Does the ad cite any sources to support its claims? If so, are they reliable sources?
This is a 1996 ad for President Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign against Bob Dole. Focus on the factual claims this ad makes.

Does this ad make specific factual claims? List all of the claims the ad makes. Are these claims general or specific? Does the ad cite any sources to support its claims? If so, are they reliable sources?
This 2004 George W. Bush ad criticizes opposing candidate John Kerry. Focus on the ad’s cinematic style.

What do you see in the ad? How are the images edited together?

What kind of music do you hear in the ad? Is there a voiceover? Are there sound effects?

How do the images and sounds make you feel? Do the sounds and images in the ad communicate an idea? If so, what idea do they communicate? How does that relate to the argument of the ad?
This 1984 Walter Mondale ad criticizes President Ronald Reagan, who was running for reelection. Focus on the ad’s cinematic style.

What do you see in the ad? How are the images edited together?

What kind of music do you hear in the ad? Is there a voiceover? Are there sound effects?

How do the images and sounds make you feel? Do the sounds and images in the ad communicate an idea? If so, what idea do they communicate? How does that relate to the argument of the ad?
This 1964 Barry Goldwater ad features Senator Margaret Chase giving her endorsement. Focus on the ad’s cinematic style.

What do you see in the ad? How are the images edited together?

What kind of music do you hear in the ad? Is there a voiceover? Are there sound effects?

How do the images and sounds make you feel? Do the sounds and images in the ad communicate an idea? If so, what idea do they communicate? How does that relate to the argument of the ad?
This ad is for President Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign. After viewing the previous ads, do you think this ad is effective? Why or why not? Please focus on all four levels of effectiveness: emotion, persuasion, truth, and style.