MC139: Prof. Craig: Presidential Campaign Ads Featuring Children

MC139: Presidential Campaign Ads Featuring Children

We've been discussing campaign ads and their appeals to voters in class, but have not focused on specific elements much beyond positivity and negativity.  The use of children in campaign ads is controversial, yet it has happened in nearly every campaign. 

Your assignment is as follows.  For each of the ads listed under "For assignment," note your answers to the following questions and be prepared to discuss them in Wednesday's class.

  • Describe the age, gender, and appearance of the children in the ad. What are they doing?

  • What settings, costumes, and props are used? What effect do they have?

  • Is the presidential candidate shown interacting with the children? If so, what impression do you get of the candidate from these interactions?

  • What message does the commercial communicate?

  • Do you think the use of children in this commercial is effective? Why or why not?

  • Do you think the ad's use of children is fair, or do you think it is unfairly manipulative or inappropriate? Why?


For class discussion:

  • 1988: G.H.W. Bush: Family/Children

  • 1964: Johnson: Ice Cream Cone

  • 2000: G.W. Bush: Dangerous World

  • 1964: Goldwater: We Will Bury You

For assignment:

  • 1976: Ford: Children/Achievements

  • 2000: Gore: Ian

  • 2016: Clinton: Role Models

  • 1996: Dole: The Threat

  • 2004: G.W. Bush: Changing World

  • 2016: Trump: Ivanka Trump

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