There are some video advertisements that our eyes see but our brains don’t register. There are some ads that we forget as soon as we see them. Other ads may have a catchy jingle that gets stuck in our heads for awhile, or even a slogan that we can recite years later. And then there are the ads that stick with us forever; that capture us, move us, and change us. The Daisy Ad is one of those ads.
Released in 1964, the Daisy Ad was the mother of the modern political attack ad. The advertisement was made for the presidential campaign of Lyndon B. Johnson, who had entered the oval office in 1963 when JFK was assassinated. In 1964, he was defending his presidency against Republican candidate Barry Goldwater.
Before the Daisy Ad, presidential candidates weren’t expected to exchange the vicious, emotionally-charged attack ads Americans are accustomed to these days. Take, for example, JFK’s 1960 presidential election ad:
It’s a cute tune: that’s for sure. But if presumptive 2016 presidential candidates Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton ran an ad like this, they’d likely face the wrath of endless internet trolls. (Don’t believe us? Ask Mitch McConnell.)
Political ads today have some teeth to them. More importantly, they have the ability to tug at viewers’ most powerful emotions, like anger and fear. For this, we have the Doyle Dane Bernbach ad agency to thank. They are the masterminds behind the Daisy Ad, and since they hit the scene, the ad world just hasn’t been the same.
According to the Smithsonian Magazine, the DDB agency had a policy of treating advertising like art, not science. The founder of the company would tell his employees “Playing it safe can be the most dangerous thing in the world, because you’re presenting people with an idea they’ve seen before, and you won’t have an impact.”
The DDB agency truly practiced what they preached. The Daisy ad had the impact of, well, an atomic bomb—not only on the political advertising landscape, but on the hearts of viewers. The ad made such a big impact, in fact, that the advertisers only had to pay to broadcast it one time; after that, the news networks picked it up and played it for free.
So, how can you make an ad that’s as powerful as the Daisy ad?
Appeal to the emotions and values of viewers, instead of simply their logic. Yes, your product or service may have many convenient and practical features. But there is also something about your business that will pull on the heartstrings of your viewers. Maybe it’s that you took over the company when your father or mother passed away. Maybe it’s that you give a percentage of your proceeds to charity. If you can remind viewers of your goodness—of your humanity—then your advertisement will have the impact of the Daisy Ad (sans atomic bomb).
Each Thursday, the Viddyad team will choose a new commercial to add to our Video Ad Campaign Hall of Fame. If you have any nominees (video advertisements that made you laugh, made you cry, stood the test of time, or made you go “WHOA”) let us know! Comment below or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image source: http://nyti.ms/297mqdL