43 years after the 'Daisy' ad

 daisy_still_lg.jpg I've been kicking myself all morning for missing the 43rd anniversary of the Infamous 'Daisy' political ad. The legendary spot debuted September 7, 1964 during NBC's 'Monday Night at the Movies'.

The ad, run by the Lyndon B. Johnson campaign, features a little girl innocently counting the petals on a daisy. Her counting is suddenly replaced  by a NASA-esque countdown, the frame freezes and zooms in the girl's eye, and then the whole scene is replaced by a nuclear explosion. As the mushroom cloud billows, we hear Johnson saying "we must learn to love each other, or we must die", and then it concludes with "Vote Lyndon Johnson on November 3rd. The stakes are too high to stay home."

Scary stuff. The ad ushered in the era of 'modern' political communication, and remains a masterpiece of Machiavellian political manipulation. The combination of imagery, sound and omnipresent societal fears was a watershed in how politicians use the media to influence voters. The ad continues to resonate today- Warren Kinsella even named his strategy firm- Daisy Consulting Group- after the iconic commercial.

So why commemorate the 43rd anniversary of anything, let alone a political ad? Because, you wiseass, awesome Cold War history/fetish site Conelrad just published an amazingly thorough history of the Daisy Ad. They even have an interview with the 'daisy girl' Brigitte Olsen. Worth a read, as it opens a window into a fairly fascinating period in American history where a lot of the groundwork for today's uber-campaigns were laid.

So, happy belated Daisy. We don't need to look much farther than you to understand electioneering in 2007.