Daisy: Political Ads That Changed the GameWatch the video
ARCHIVAL (DAISY AD, 1964):
NARRATOR: Seven. Six. Five. Four. Three. Two. One. Zero.
MONIQUE LUIZ: There were actually people that thought I blew up in that ad. Back then, they didn’t realize it was just camera, and that’s how it was shot.
IMAGE MAKERS: POLITICAL ADS THAT SHAPED THE BATTLE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE
SID MYERS (CREATIVE DIRECTOR, DOYLE DANE BERNBACH): Yeah, I did watch Mad Men. But our agency was nothing like that. First of all, we never wore those suits with ties. We came to work in jeans and sweatshirts. Yeah, there was drinking and some womanizing, I guess, at the agency, although I didn’t know anything about it. In the early ‘60s, television was in its infancy and it was very simplistic.
PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON: What is the most important issue…?
SID MYERS: Political advertising was Nixon sitting on a desk and talking to you for ten minutes and you just zoned out. And then cartoons and, and cute little songs. You know, “I like Ike! You like Ike! We all love Ike!” And it had nothing to do with the issues of the time.
LLOYD WRIGHT (MEDIA COORDINATOR, JOHNSON 1964): There was this enormous climate of fear. In school, kids were taught to jump under their desks to hide from an atomic bomb. And instead of dealing with ways to overcome it, Goldwater, we thought, was exacerbating it.
ARCHIVAL (ASSOCIATED PRESS):
BARRY GOLDWATER: Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice.
SID MYERS: We knew that we had to do something that was cogent, something that was very powerful, to get across this idea of having a president who is responsible, whose hand was on the button and not crazy enough to use it.
MONIQUE LUIZ: My parents responded to an ad for a girl picking daisies, but they weren’t sure what was behind it. They had to have me count backwards from ten to one, and that’s about all they knew about the ad. And then when it aired that’s when they first saw what it was about.
LLOYD WRIGHT: I don’t know how many takes they did. To get that little girl looking up in a way that says, “I’m scared.”
ARCHIVAL (DAISY AD, 1964):
NARRATOR: Seven. Six. Five. Four. Three. Two. One. Zero. These are the stakes.
LLOYD WRIGHT: It was powerful indeed.
SID MYERS: It only ran once. And because it ran on the news and it was in the newspaper, on the cover of Time magazine, I think 100 million people saw that ad.
LLOYD WRIGHT: The night of that ad Bill Moyers, who was in charge of organizing the political campaign, was working in the White House Office late. LBJ was having a meeting, and LBJ says, “What have you done? What have you done to me?” You know, “running that ad like that?” And he knew LBJ well enough to know this was an act. So he plays along, “Well, Mr. President, you know, we agreed we needed to let people know what Goldwater is saying and…” And Bill starts walking out. LBJ gets up and accompanies him to the door and whispers to Bill, “You don’t think we need to run it again?”
KOOL POP: Well, hello there. I’m a Kool Pop.
MONIQUE LUIZ: After the Johnson ad, the height of my stardom was around five or six. I was casted in the Cool Pops, in Spaghetti-O’s. Today, I live in Phoenix and I’m an HR supervisor. I saw the commercial for the first time online. I had tears in my eyes and I had people around me and I was like, “Oh my gosh, it’s me.” You know, I didn’t even know that I was that famous or that the ad was that famous. I just kind of forgot all about it.
SID MYERS: That was the beginning of political – of attack ads.
LLOYD WRIGHT: If I may say, it wasn’t the beginning of negative ads. It was television that created the impact as if it were the beginning of negative ads because more people were seeing it.
SID MYERS: It’s so stupid the way they’re doing negative advertising now. The Daisy commercial didn’t mention Goldwater at all, it was just talking about this is what could happen if the nuclear bomb was used indiscriminately. We took the truth and just showed it five degrees off-center, which made it very creative and interesting for people to watch.