Assignment I: Deconstructing a Campaign Ad Campaign ads, for better or worse, ar

Assignment I: Deconstructing a Campaign Ad
Campaign ads, for better or
worse, are a major source of information for citizens as they decide which
candidate to vote for in an election. 
The purpose of this assignment is to prompt you to take apart a number
of campaign ads so that you can come to understand the multiple levels of
meaning, truth and deception that they may contain.
Do a Google search for “The Living Room Candidate.”  This will
direct you to a digital archive of all presidential campaign ads from 1952 to
2020.  This archive is part of the
website for the Museum of the Moving Image which is located in Long Island
City, Queens.
Pick one election for this assignment from
1968 to 2020.  It’s OK to look at the earlier ads but they
are primitive by current standards.  The
“Daisy Girl” ad, released by the Johnson campaign in 1964, however, is a
classic and is well worth a look.
Choose 3 or 4 ads that were produced for the candidate
of each party for the election year that you have chosen.  So you will
be working with 6 to 8 ads.  All of these
ads are titled and you will refer to the ads by their title as you write your
essay.  I will be interested in referring
back to the ads you refer to as I assess your assignments.
As you take apart (or deconstruct) these ads, answer
the following questions:
1) Look up current events information for the election
year that you have chosen. What were the campaign issues for that year?  Look
up the current events (big news stories for that year etc.) that point to the
hopes, fears and aspirations that the voters had going into that election.
2) What is the explicit message that is communicated
in the ad’s narrative?  Express this in a
simple sentence.  Keep in mind that every ad embodies a short
story.  Think about what that story is
and about what the “moral” of that story is.  
3) What are the adjectives (descriptive terms) that
are used in the ad?  Are they positive or
negative?  Note that to properly answer this question you have to
give specific examples of words and of how these words are used.  Would you characterize the ad itself as
positive or negative?
4) How do the images in the ad tie into the message
that the ad is trying to convey?  How are the candidates portrayed?  How are they dressed?  How are they postured?  What activities are they shown doing?  What about other images of people, of places?
Again, use specific examples of particular images to substantiate your points.
5) What is the tone of voice in the ad?  Is
it narrated by the candidate or by someone else?  Is the narrator a man or a woman?  How does the tone of the ad and the gender of
the narrator tie in to its message?
6) What fears or aspirations or political concerns are
reflected in the contents of the ads that you chose to examine?  As
reflected in the ads, what were the major issues in the political campaign that
you looked at?
7) What is your reaction to the ads?  Did they move
you?  Did they repulse you? Did they
pique your curiosity about the candidate? Did you find them honest, or
Your write up should run at least 4 full pages, double
spaced with 12 point font size and 1 inch margins