8 of Adlai Stevenson's Awful 1952 TV Campaign Ads

Image credit: 

Are you sick of attack ads, Super PAC ads, and even ads in color? Then let's turn to a cornier, gentler time -- the election of 1952, when the original "Egghead" Adlai Stevenson ran against Eisenhower, running a series of remarkably unremarkable TV ads. Well, it probably wasn't just the TV ads that did Stevenson in, but the rest is history. Happy Presidents' Day, everyone!

1. "Endorsement: Women"

A man for all the people. Even women.

2. "Ike...Bob"

An adapted radio ad. Sort of horrifying, really.

3. "Music Man" Ad

"Vote Stevenson: a man you can believe in, son." Best rhyme ever.

4. "Adlai to You"

On the difficulty of pronouncing the candidate's name.

5. "I Love the Gov"

"I'd rather have a man with a hole in his shoe than a hole in everything he says."

6. "The Same God Made Us All"

Oh boy, here we go again with the God-given liberty.

7. "Platform Double Talk"

"What're you complaining about, you get two policies for the price of one!"

8. "Let's Not Forget the Farmer"

So if the above is to be believed, this ad should seal the deal: all possible demographics, including women, people who don't like Eisenhower, people who can or cannot pronounce "Adlai" properly, people who love the governor of Illinois, Christians, politically savvy people, and now farmers are behind Stevenson. What could possibly go wrong?

Stevenson on TV Advertising

According to the Museum of the Moving Image, Stevenson didn't like being on TV much (emphasis added):

Stevenson never warmed up to the medium during the campaign. He refused to appear in his own spots, and his speeches, which were aired live, frequently ran too long; the broadcast would fade out while he was still talking. In his election-eve special, when his son tells him, "I like watching television better than being on it," Stevenson replies, "I guess that goes for all of us, doesn’t it?"

One Sample Eisenhower Ad

Just compare the above to Eisenhower's "I Like Ike" ad. Poor Stevenson.

See also: 12 Creative Campaign Slogans to Inspire the 2012 Candidates and 15 Recent Presidential Elections: A Matter of Inches.

More from mental_floss...

February 20, 2012 - 12:05pm
submit to reddit