Daisy: Political Ads That Changed the Game | Retro Report


Seven. Six. Five. Four. Three. Two. One. Zero. 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. 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. What is the most important issue… Political advertising was Nixon sitting on
a desk and talking to you for 10 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 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. Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. 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. 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 10
to 1, 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. I don’t know how many takes they did. To get that little girl looking up in a way
that says, “I’m scared.” Seven. Six. Five. Four. Three. Two. One. Zero. These are the stakes. It was powerful indeed. 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. 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?” Well, hello there. I’m a Kool Pop. 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. That was the beginning of political – of
attack ads. 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. 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.




Comments
  1. New Zealand had Dancing Russians for a National Party campaign in the 70's. Still remember it to this day.

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