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Watch Presidential Campaign Ads Throughout History [VIDEO]

by Kymberly Bays, published


Many political observers have remarked that this election cycle is one of the most toxic in history, contending that campaign vitriol and inaccurate allegations have dominated the national discussion. But how does this campaign cycle compare to previous presidential election years?

For one, we are now inundated with campaign ads both on television and the web, from the official campaigns to PAC ads.

Thanks in part to the Museum of Moving Image, we can at least take look at campaign television ads throughout the decades since the first ads aired in 1952. Included in the collection are official campaign ads--so no devastating Swift Boat Veterans.

How have campaign ads evolved over time? What were the most effective? Which ads backfired? How did television ads change the dynamics of the presidential election?

Here are some notable campaign ads from the Museum of Moving Image's collection. Let us know! Which ads have you found most memorable?

1952 - Eisenhower, "Never Had It So Good": First TV Campaign Ad

1960 - Kennedy, "Kennedy Jingle": Wishing all campaign ads were this catchy...

1964 - Johnson, "Peace Little Girl": "Most Famous of All Campaign Advertisements"

1980 - Reagan, "Nancy Reagan": Candidate Spouse Front & Center

1996 - Clinton, "Surgeon": Defending Education

2004 - Bush, "Windsurfing": John Kerry 'Flip-Flopper'


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