I know, I know, after the recent presidential election, we’ve probably all had our fill of campaign commercials. But this web site is worth a few minutes of your time, I promise. The Museum of the Moving Image put together The Living Room Candidate: Presidential Campaign Commercials, 1952-2008. You can watch campaign commercials starting with the Dwight D. Eisenhower v Adlai Stevenson contest of 1952, all the way up to Barack Obama v John McCain in 2008.
The site is easy to browse. Just choose the year for the campaign you are interested in and at the bottom of the screen, thumbnails of the commercials appear, divided into Democrat and Republican. Click the one you want to view, and voila, you’re watching the commercial. You can even watch the “Peace Little Girl (Daisy)” commercial from Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1964 campaign, called by this web site: “the most celebrated and perhaps most notorious of all political commercials.” It aired only once, and was so controversial it even made the cover of Time.
Besides the pure entertainment value, what I really liked is the additional information provided by the site. The credits and a transcript for each commercial chosen are easily accessible, and tabs to the right of the commercial provide information on the campaign, each candidate, and the results of the election (including the number of popular votes, states, and electoral votes won by each candidate).
So take a moment and check out this site. It’s cool, it’s funny–and who knows what you might learn along the way?