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Tip of the Week – Campaign ads

I normally don’t have much control over what shows up on the family TV – there’s typically so much Netflix streaming, Pysch watching, Apple TV playing going on that I rarely have much to say on what appears. But there are two times in my house when I get full dibs on the big screen.

March Madness and presidential elections.


So the last two weeks have been great. Speeches. Cheering. Ballon drops. Signs. Campaign slogans. Pundits. Loud pundits. Stupid pundits. Loud and stupid pundits. You know. Typical national convention stuff.

And . . . campaign ads. Lots of campaign ads. So this week, I started poking around for useful campaign ad teaching sites. The good news – lots of great sites. The bad news – lots of great sites. So to help out a bit, I’ve cobbled together some of the best websites focusing on the art of the campaign ad.

The Living Room Candidate
This is the place start. The Museum of the Moving Image has put together a database of 300 campaign ads from 1952-2008. Ads can be browsed by election yeartype of commercial, or issue, and each ad is accompanied by a written transcript.  The site also features commentary, historical background, and election results. And it has a great set of lesson plans.

Propaganda Techniques in Literature and Online Political Ads
Students explore the similarities of the propaganda techniques used in the literary text and in the online political ads to explain the commentary the text is making about contemporary society.

The Ultimate Presidents Sale
Students will research and examine candidates’ background, policies and messages. The saturation of television political advertising that permeates students’ channel surfing lends itself to scrutiny, and this lesson can help them sort through the medium to see the method and message.

Electing the President: How Do You Make Up Your Mind?
Students will understand that choosing a President will require thoughtful analysis of their personal preferences, who is telling the truth, complicated issues, and their willingness to look for answers.

The Science of Campaign Ads
Using psychology to create more effective ads.

Five Myths About Campaign Ads
Do ads work? Are they as nefarious as their reputation suggests? Two decades of research has exposed several myths about campaign advertising.

Political Ad Tracker
Political Ad Tracker takes a closer look at ads from candidates, parties and outside groups and allows you to rate whether an ad is believable and how it impacts your views on the candidates and issues in the 2012 campaign.

A nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases.

Every day, reporters and researchers from PolitiFact and its partner news organization examine statements by anyone associated with American politics. We research their statements and then rate the accuracy on our Truth-O-Meter – True, Mostly True, Half True, Mostly False and False. The most ridiculous falsehoods get our lowest rating, Pants on Fire.

Mad Money: Tracking TV ads in the Presidential Campaign
Watch the latest campaign ads in the 2012 presidential race and track ad spending during the primaries and general election.

SuperPac App
Uses audio fingerprinting technology to listen to actual political ads and matches them up against the ads in their database. Then highlights who create the ad and factchecks them.

Have fun!

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jeff Benes #

    Excellent resources. Sadly, are you able to see a lot of campaign ads in Kansas? I live in Kansas City, and we receive a lot of Missouri ads, such as McCaskill/Akin, but not much from the national level. WIth such targeted campaigning, Kansas doesn’t get much attention. Even our state politics don’t equate to much. Youtube keys me in to the important ones, but it is a different sense. Thank you for the great resources, though.

    September 7, 2012
    • glennw #

      The surprising thing is that we have seen more than several Obama ads. (I’m not an election expert but I’m thinking that doesn’t seem like a good use of campaign funds.)

      And we had tons of local / state stuff. I’m sure if I lived in Ohio or Florida I probably wouldn’t enjoy the ads quite so much!


      September 7, 2012

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