Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The History of Presidential Campaign Commercials

As we head into 2016 on U.S. television it might feel like we're seeing a marathon of presidential candidate campaign commercials. From an editing and production perspective the commercials today are nothing like those of the 50's. Look beyond the production quality and students will see that the strategies employed in commercials today aren't all that different than those used sixty years ago. The Living Room Candidate is a site that can help students see the evolution of campaign commercials.

The Living Room Candidate is part of a larger project called the Museum of the Moving Image. Visitors to The Living Room Candidate can view the commercials from each campaign from both parties. A written transcript is provided with each commercial. Provided along with each video is an overview of the political landscape of at the time of the campaigns. Visitors to the website can search for commercials by election year, type of commercial, or by campaign issue.

Applications for Education
The Living Room Candidate has a great tool for students called The Living Room Candidate Ad Maker. The Ad Maker can be used by students to remix old advertisements, sound bites, and images to create new campaign commercials. The teachers page on The Living Room Candidate offers nine lesson plans for teaching about the historical context of campaigns, analyzing campaign ads, and creating new campaign ads.

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