I was 12 years old when I watched Lyndon Johnson’s campaign ad that showed a little girl picking daisies followed by the mushroom cloud of a nuclear blast. Even at the time, I understood the message: Don’t vote for that extremist Barry Goldwater! He will start a nuclear war!
Yes, the ad, if you thought about it was utterably lame (a little girl? daisies?), but it had to have contributed to LBJ’s landslide victory. Drew Babb analyzes the political commercial, which aired as a paid advertisement one time only on September 7, 1964 (after that, it was endlessly re-run by the three networks who covered the ad itself as a piece of news). He calls it the “mother of all attack ads.” [Read more…]