Elevator Music 31: Political Echo Chamber features American political advertisements from the emergence of television in the mid-20th century to the present day. The selected advertisements are from both high- and low-profile races. Their tones range from serious and grave to downright ridiculous. And while they all try to connect with and influence the viewer, only some succeed. A variety of advertising tactics are employed, including provocative statements, powerful imagery, and even subliminal messaging, to persuade the audience about candidate.
Political Echo Chamber is presented in conjunction with A More Perfect Union at the Tang Teaching Museum this election season. This selection of advertisements attempts to provide history and context for what viewers are now watching on television as the country approaches the election of a new president, members of Congress, and thousands of state and local officials.
The ads have been organized into categories to help facilitate comparisons between the different purposes of political advertising: Upbeat Classics; Reagan “The Great Communicator” & Imitators; Racial Controversy; Who is the candidate? Attacks; Contrasting Candidates; Responses; Ads as political debate; Attacks: Greatest Hits; Voter Mobilization; and You have to watch it to believe it!
Advertisements from the current general election will be added throughout the fall. Or you can go home and turn on your TV to see plenty of examples from 2016.