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.
“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.
(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.
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.