Presidential Ad Flashbacks (1952 Campaign Songs Edition)

First in a series from our Dustup 2016 NostADgia® desk

The first presidential campaign television commercials ran in 1952 (the Eisenhower/Stevenson I bakeoff.)

At the time, apparently, the inaugural political admakers thought that borrowing from the entertainment world might be a good approach. Thus, the campaign song.

Via the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project:

“I Like Ike”

Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1952

An almost purely positive piece about candidate personality, this is from the campaign of Republican Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. A catchy jingle, along with lyrics not totally devoid of substance, it is essentially a device for reminding voters of their personal attachment to the most popular living American of his time. In this regard, note the closing theme that “we’ll take Ike to Washington”. Jingles were one of the early approaches to televised campaign advertising that would eventually go out of fashion.

The spot itself (cartoon visuals compliments of Walt Disney Studios).



We especially like the sad-sack donkeys in the ad.


Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 12.45.54 AM


(Fun fact to know and tell: Irving Berlin also wrote a campaign song for Ike.)

On the flip side, there was this TV spot for Illinois Gov. Adlai Stevenson.

[Editor’s note: The earworming staff apologizes for any residual effects of this video.]



Favorite riff #1:

He is the Gov who brings the dove of peace and joy.

Seriously? In 1952, the U.S. was in the muddle of the Korean War, for God’s sake. Who do you want in charge: The Man Who Saved the World From Hitler, or a guy who can’t even take care of his shoes?

Favorite riff #2:

Didn’t know much about him before he came.

But now my heart’s the ballot that bears his name.

We just can’t.

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3 Responses to Presidential Ad Flashbacks (1952 Campaign Songs Edition)

  1. Carol P. O'Reilly says:

    Interesting. You certainly did your homework.


  2. Pingback: Presidential Ad Flashback (1952 Campaign Song Edition) | Campaign Outsider

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