THE 30 SECOND CANDIDATE HISTORICAL TIMELINEFROM IDEA TO ADTRICKS OF THE TRADEQ_AND_ATHE TELEVISION PROGRAM
Wisconsin Public Television
     

   
 
While a few political ads adopt a documentary approach, most start with a script. The script is the initial effort to distill political concepts into an understandable, even dramatic, presentation.

 
 

Rosser Reeves, through his work on spot advertising, was well prepared for this distillation process. His secret was strict adherence to what he called the "Unique Selling Proposition." USP, as it was called, was a single quality of a product that let it stand out against competition. M&M's were unlike all those messy candies that would melt in your hands, for example.

Through repetition, the particular identified quality would stay in consumers' heads when it was time to buy. Reeves took this single-mindedness to the Eisenhower campaign. While he would have preferred just one theme to build the ads around, Reeves took the three concerns identified by Gallup (Korea, corruption, and cost of living) and wrote a series of scripts. None of the short spots would deal with more than one topic, each of them consisting of a single question asked of Eisenhower by a "typical" voter.

The candidate's responses were culled carefully by Reeve's reading Eisenhower's many campaign speeches. So, in essence, the message of the candidate matches the rest of the campaign, but the spot presents that message in a simplified, memorable form.









     

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