Campaign spots: Nothing new under the sun

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. –Ecclesiastes 1:9

The more you watch and study politics, the more you realize that it’s not often you see something completely new and different.

The 1964 “Daisy Girl” spot and the others produced for LBJ‘s presidential campaign were truly new and fresh. They changed American political advertising.

But just because something isn’t new and fresh, doesn’t mean it’s not effective.

I was reminded of that yesterday during my appearance on MNBC’s “Jansing & Co.” Host Chris Jansing showed me and viewers several new Obama and Romney spots. Among them was a new spot by the Obama campaign, “Challenges.”

After watching it, my reaction was that the spot is patterned after the wildly successful Ronald Reagan spot from 1984, “Morning in America.” I called it “Morning in America with humility.” Like its Reaganesque ancestor, “Challenges” features gauzy images of working-class America — families, factory workers, soldiers, home builders and, of course, the American flag.

Even the Obama spot’s tag line (“the last thing we should do is turn back now”) is eerily similar to that of the 1984 Reagan spot: “Why would we ever want to return to where we were less than four short years ago?”

Later, I recalled that “Morning in America” wasn’t actually original, either.

A few weeks ago, political adman Doug Bailey visited LSU for a program on political ads and showed a spot that he produced for President Gerald Ford in 1976. When I saw it, I instantly realized that Reagan’s “Morning in America” was actually patterned after Bailey’s spot, “Peace.” Watch it at this link.


Have you seen any spots in this election that remind you of spots you’ve seen before?

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