In honor of the most polarizing midterm election in recent history- one that has offered controversial ads banned by online platforms and major television networks, here’s a walk down memory lane featuring dramatic voice over readings from noteworthy ads of previous election cycles.
In a satirical spot from 2012 featuring images of the worst offenders of financial crimes including Bernie Madoff and Enron’s Ken Lay, this ad from Barack Obama’s campaign implied that Big Bird was behind their crimes.
Sesame Workshop asked President Barack Obama’s campaign to suspend the ad so the concept of its non-profit organization could remain non-political in application and perception. Too late. The ad already went viral before viral was a thing.
Perhaps the most famous political attack ad of all time is one that is still referenced today. The “Daisy” ad from Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1964 presidential campaign featured a message to voters: A vote for Barry Goldwater might result in nuclear war.
Note to voice over talent out there- make sure you can laugh on command. In this 1968 spot voiced by the presidential candidate himself, audio of Hubert Humphrey laughing at Spiro Agnew is the only program material. The commercial spot ends with a place card reminding voters, “This would be funny if it weren’t so serious.”
In another 1968 spot for President Nixon, a dramatic voice over is read underneath violent imagery and cinematic music.
“It is time for an honest look at the problem of order in the United States. Dissent is a necessary ingredient of change. But in a system of government that provides for peaceful change there is no cause that justifies resorting to violence. Let us recognize that the first civil right of every American is to be free from domestic violence. So I pledge to you that we shall have order in the United States.” The copy is eerily similar to today’s ominous ad content.
In a 1972 ad for Presidential candidate George McGovern, images of newspaper clippings with salacious headlines fade in and out while a dramatic voice over warns viewers. ‘This is about the government. This is about credibility. This is about lying…..This is about spying. This is about espionage…. This is about secrecy. This is about stealing. This is about hidden funds. This is about deception. This is about the White House.. And this is how you stop it. With your vote.”
In a 1984 spot for Ronald Reagan, grocery items are shown with newsy voice over detailing the price increase of each item if the opposing candidate is elected.
“Add 26 cents to a loaf of bread if Carter-Mondale’s inflation continues. Add 23 cents to milk. $1.28 to a pound of bacon. If that doesn’t convince you to vote for President Reagan, stop off at the gas station and imagine paying $2.27 per gallon.” The voice over is at the 4-minute mark at the video link below.
Voice over talent are working more than ever this election cycle. Whatever your political affiliation, we hope to see you in the recording booth.