Monday, August 19, 2019

64 Years of Presidential Campaign Commercials - A Lesson Plan

In a little more than one year from now we'll be casting ballots for President of the United States. That means for the next year we'll see campaign commercials online and on television. Campaign commercials have changed a lot in the last 60+ years. That's evident in a C-SPAN Classroom lesson plan titled Evaluating Historical Presidential Campaign Ads.

Evaluating Historical Campaign Ads includes fourteen videos of campaign commercials that were broadcast beginning in 1952 through 2016. A fifteenth video features two campaign consultants (one Republican, one Democrat) talking about what makes an effective campaign commercial. All of the videos can be shared individually, embedded into classroom websites, or clipped by using the clipping tools provided by C-SPAN.


Applications for Education
The focus of the lesson plan is on having students identify what makes a campaign commercial effective. An extension to the lesson would be to have students compare the issues of concern over the last 60+ years. Another lesson extension would be to have students analyze changes in tone and rhetoric over time.