Our All-time Favorite Political Ads

Feb 4th, 2013 // In: Blog // By: Comments Off on Our All-time Favorite Political Ads

Since all the talk today will be about the best and worst Superbowl ads, we thought we’d have a little fun and share with you our all-time favorite political ads.

Vince Casale’s Picks (Ad Man)
“Freak” This infamous ad by Club For Growth ran days before the Iowa Democratic Caucus in 2004. The ad became the talk of Iowa and every Sunday news show prior to the Caucus Day. The effective ad was responsible for the collapse of Howard Dean at the polls and then lead to the now famous “scream” speech that pretty much tanked his chances of winning the nomination.

“Any Questions” Anytime an ad not only creates a message that sticks on an opponent, but coins a new industry term – it’s definitely effective. Swift-boating is now synonymous with any attack from a third party group that discredits the supposed strength of a candidate. John Kerry thought he could play his military card, but the message in this ad was a killer. But don’t worry, even if your military record isn’t what it seems and you get called out on the carpet during a Presidential campaign, yes, even you can one day become Obama’s Secretary of State…

“Great Idea” This might seem a bit gratuitous, as it is an adproduced by us, but I still love it. What do you get when you have a hot headed State Legislator that doesn’t like to be challenged and a tracker with balls the size of cantaloupe? THIS AD… I don’t think there’s a better way to discredit a candidate than with their own words. Not only did the people take his advice and not vote for him, before he left office he attempted to introduce a bill to make it illegal to follow elected officials with a videotaping device. 1st Amendment? Who needs it… This ad was not only effective at the polls, but was a Campaigns and Elections Reed Award finalist.


Peter Casale’s Picks (Producer/Creative Director)
“Tough Enough” One of my favorites. Great Political ads work well when you can watch them without sound and still get the message. The Best political TV ads are so well written that you can listen to them with your eyes closed and still get the message. So before you “watch” this ad, just press play, close your eyes, and take a listen…How can you not love this one!

“Peace, Little Girl” or should we say “Daisy Girl” ad. Everyone knows about this ad, everyone still talks about this ad, yet it only aired once in 1964 – prior to email, twitter, Facebook, youtube, etc. It depicts a little girl standing in a field peeling petals off a daisy, then boom, cut to a mushroom cloud to reference a Goldwater Presidency would end in nuclear destruction! If you can air an ad only one time and its that effective, how can it not be the “Superbowl” ad of political ads?

“It’s Morning in America Again” How can you not know what “Morning in America” means? The original title of this ad was “Prouder, Stronger, Better”, yet everyone refers to it as “Morning in America”. Simple imagery, great narration, and it leaves you walking away inspired and relieved that America is on the right track. Better yet, the phrase “Morning in America” has taken on a meaning of its own both literally and metaphorically – and its still used today nearly 30 years later.

“Willie Horton Ad” or the “Revolving Door Attack Ad” – Gov. Dukakis let a convicted murderer out of jail on a weekend furlough. Horton spent his “Time Off” from prison to commit assault, armed robbery and rape. How can you not use this against your opponent. If that’s way Dukakis ran his prisons in Massachusetts, how would he run the country? Game, Set, Match, Bush Victory! Did they even have to produce another ad showing an awkward looking Dukakis in an ill fitted army helmet driving around in a tank with his head sticking out of it?


Lynn Krogh’s Picks (Political Architect)
“3AM” I love this ad. It plays on the viewer’s fear using imagery of kids sleeping, the dark night, the phone ringing… Concluding that Hillary is the only candidate with the experience to “answer the call.” (And Barack’s not…) If you missed this ad, you likely missed the 2008 cycle all-together.

“Ike for President” Clear and direct message with a catchy tune. The play on elephants and donkeys is pleasing to the eye, but gets the point across. Cartoons help to keep your attention and keep it playful. It’s a classic!

“Bloodhounds” As the Bloodhounds look for Huddleston, the voiceover describes all of the reason why he’s difficult to find… Missing votes while speaking at paid engagements. It’s clever and amusing, with smart shots of the dogs as they “hunt down” Mitch McConnell’s opponent.


John Brodigan’s Picks (Social Media Assassin)
“Chuck Norris Approved” This combined two things the Republican
party isn’t known for being hip to: humor and Internet memes. They took the “celebrity” endorsement of Chuck Norris and, instead of taking himself too seriously (like most celebs do when they make endorsements), used the popular “Chuck Norris Facts” in a great 30 minute ad.

“American Family” We should have seen more of this Mitt Romney. People are concerned with kitchen table issues and that Mitt Romney couldn’t related with their lives. The solution? Have Romney talking to a family around their kitchen table discussing how his family isn’t that different from theirs and voting for him could make it better.

“These Hands” This entire series was great. They took an anti-small business comment that the President made, and aired commercials in each of the swing states with a different small businssman from that state who was a) offended, and b) had be adverse effected by Obama policies.


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