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A political campaign refers to an organized effort that tries to influence the manner in which decisions are made in a group. Campaign messages usually have the information that a politician or a candidate would like to pass to the voters.
For instance, a campaign message may describe policy issues. Such points normally act as a summary of the campaign agenda of the candidate. Advertising of campaigns is one of the mechanisms that are always used by candidates to inform people about their political manifesto.
Campaign advertisements can be done through many ways. For example, they can use newspapers, television, and even radio advertisements. Political advertising enables politicians to address a wider audience. Hence, they can persuade many voters to support them.
There has been a drastic change in the way political advertisements are done in U.S.A. For example, in 1948 Truman was happy for having greeted approximately half a million voters.
He also covered over thirty thousand miles during his campaign period. In 1952, that trend of reaching voters changed when another presidential campaign took place. With the invention of television sets, political adverts started featuring on television commercial advertisements.
Eisenhower Answers America
In 1952, the first political campaign advertisement featured on television, and it was meant to reach Dwight D. Eisenhower’s supporters. “Eisenhower, created forty twenty-second television spot commercials entitled, Eisenhower Answers America”.
In his advertisement, he talked about finding a solution to corruption, solving the Korean War, and he also informed his audience about how he would improve the economy. In this case, he reached his targeted audience without necessarily shaking their hands.
This advertisement enabled him to convince American voters that democrats had over stayed in power since 1933, and they were no longer leading the nation properly. He managed to win overwhelmingly against Adlai Stevenson who was a democratic nominee.
Kennedy –Nixon debate
In 1960, there was another intensive presidential election campaign, in which John Kennedy managed to seriously defeat Nixon. John Kennedy also came up with close to two hundred advertisements. Two of his advertisements overpowered Nixon’s efforts.
“The first one was an advertisement derived from a speech he had made in Houston. “In this case, he called for religious tolerance in response to criticisms that Catholicism was incompatible with a run for the Oval Office”.
The second one was the remarkable Kennedy –Nixon debate. “John Kennedy was able to put Nixon on the defensive with his unexpected grasp of the facts, but Nixon held his own in responding to the Kennedy criticisms”.
This debate reached approximately eight million viewers and it led to the success of Kennedy in the elections. The debate greatly impacted on Nixon’s Campaign profile which was initially better than Kennedy’s.
The analysis of election campaign advertisements reveal how various strategies can lead to the success of an election candidate. The advertisements mentioned above depict the democracy that prevails among the American people.
In this case, election candidates have to convince voters that they are suitable for public offices. “Since America has become more culturally diverse, political advertising must become less negative and more dialed into the minds and homes of the American public”.
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Messages should also be customized so that they can reach people with various beliefs and needs in the country. In my view, campaign advertisements are important tools for election campaigns, and they can lead to the success of a candidate if properly used.
Casey, Shaun. The Making of a Catholic President: Kennedy vs. Nixon 1960. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.
Diamond, Edwin. The Spot: The Rise of Political Advertising on Television. New York: The MIT Press, 2001.
Kraus, Sidney. The Great Debates: Kennedy vs. Nixon, 1960. London: Indiana University Press, 2001.
Murrin, John and Paul Johnson. Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People. New York: Wadsworth Publishing, 2005.