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Thursday, Jun 03, 2004

ad monishment

"A similar dynamic has shaped political advertising. Last year William Benoit, a professor of communications at the University of Missouri, published a paper in the journal Advertising & Society in which he traced the emergence of the major themes in political advertising. After enduring some 2,027 presidential-campaign spots dating back to their earliest use, in the 1952 race, Benoit established that most of the formats used by today's campaigns originated in the 1950s. Even the snide tone that is now de rigueur dates back decades. A 1968 Hubert Humphrey ad titled "Weathervane" is a fine example. "Ever noticed what happens to Nixon when the political winds blow?" asks the narrator, as a weathervane in Nixon's image (with elongated nose) spins wildly in the breeze. "Which way will he blow next?" Switch "Nixon" to "Kerry" and the ad could easily feature in the current campaign."