Johnson’s “Daisy” Ad

Perhaps one of the most famous negative Presidential campaign ads came from 1964.  It was run by the campaign of President Lyndon Johnson (D).  His opponent was Republican Barry Goldwater.  Johnson won the election in a landslide.  This commercial, called the “Daisy” ad, aired only once as it was deemed to be too extreme at that time.  The voice you hear in the middle of the ad is that of President Johnson.  What is more important though is what is being “said” about Barry Goldwater.

What is being said about Barry Goldwater in this ad?

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25 responses to “Johnson’s “Daisy” Ad

  1. In this ad, Goldwater is depicted as a politician who will do anything necessary during times of war. It implies that Goldwater will support war, specifically the Vietnam War, and the usage of nuclear weapons. He is saying that the price of peace can come at deathly costs and that the only choice for people who are not willing to love each other is to go to war.

  2. If I’m not mistaken I believe it one time I heard this was first political commercial aired. The ad claimed that is Barry Coldwater was elected that we would all be doomed because he was a fly by the seat of your pants type of person. Even though Coldwaters name was never said in the aid, Johnson claimed that if the opportunity arose that Barry Coldwater would hit the nuclear button and destroy all of us. Johnson said he would do this without thinking about what his actions would have on everyone around him not only an enemy. This commercial led to all the wasted air time we see now every time any election comes up. Thanks but I could have lived a happier life without seeing all this wasted propaganda for an election.

  3. Taylor Sonichsen

    In this ad, Goldwater is being portrayed as someone that would destroy the country. Though his name was never said in this ad Johnson was trying to make the point that if Goldwater was elected then he would do whatever it takes in the time of war even if it meant blowing up the country. Johnson is making Goldwater as the bad guy because everyone wants peace and happiness and if Goldwater was elected we would have nothing but a nuclear war on our hands.

  4. Goldwater is viewed as the enemy in this video. They are saying if you vote for Goldwater, you are risking your whole country being blown up. Its too dangerous to not vote, because if you don’t vote, Goldwater will win and America will be destroyed. Goldwater is being viewed as someone who will destroy the once innocent and free America and turn it into a warzone.

  5. Nicole Sciortino

    This is probably my 10th time seeing this commercial and every time I watch it I get a different interpretation. This commercial is saying if the American public votes for Goldwater that there will terrorists coming to bomb the U.S. all the time. Also it is saying that we will be in a war with other countries during the presidency. So Johnson is saying if you want the country to be in ruins and in a war for 8 years then vote for Goldwater.

  6. Brittany McLaughlin

    I only watched the ad once to put myself in the same shoes as the American people since it only aired once. From what I got from the video, Johnson insinuated Goldwater was heartless and would lead to nothing but war and hurt for the American people. Although Goldwater was never called outright, it was very obvious the message was that he would go the route of nuclear warfare without much thought. Johnson was pushing the message that this was a sensitive time in American history and the wrong decision could ends things.

  7. Rebecca Albarran

    In my opinion the ad shows how fast a regular day can turn drastic and deadly within seconds. It seems as if Johnson is saying if you are to vote for the opponent and he wins he will use nuclear weapons without thinking about the consequences. He wants that to be the last thing the government does and says we must work together in order to have success.

  8. I watched this ad thinking “What does this little girl have to do with politics?” it made sense once the other part came out. It is absolutely obvious that in this ad, Barry Goldwater is viewed as one who will support war 100%. Johnson basically cdid everything on his power to make Barry Goldwater look bad to all his voters. I didn’t like the video because that is not a way to do things. why get a child involved on this situation. There are other resources and ways to something like this. If Johnson wanted to show the people how bad of a candidate Barry Goldwater was, he could have done it differently. Johnson succeeded though, he made Barry Goldwater look as a heartless person, who was willing to use nuclear weapons if necessary. #PCS110

  9. This ad escalated very quickly and I can see why it was pulled from national television. Johnson basically depicted Goldwater as a person that would destroy the country because of war. Johnson represented himself as being for peace and Goldwater for putting american lives at stake.

  10. This ad is extremely powerful in many ways, first and foremost the symbolism of the innocent little girl in the beginning which paints a calm, carefree scene which is then obliterated by an atomic bomb. Johnson then says “These are the stakes, to make a world in which all of God’s children can live, or to go into the dark. We must either love each other, or we must die.” Which I find rather surprising in an ad like this mainly because instead of calling out Barry Goldwater personally, the film nearly portrays that anything or anyone that is not on Johnsons side is surmising total chaos and is accepting of the nuclear age. The film does so much alone that Johnson didn’t really need to say anything about his opponent. The closing statement alone brings a great sense of power saying “The stakes are too high for you to stay home.” This notorious ad did a great job at disproving the competition without much even being said, after all Johnson did win with outstanding numbers

  11. First off I would like to say that even in todays standards I don’t believe this ad would be allowed to air on television. Johnson is portraying his opponent, Barry Goldwater as a menus to society. And if Mr. Goldwater were to become president, then his actions would lead to the downfall of America. PSC 110

  12. Goldwater is being protrayed as an evil person. That he will do whatever it takes to make sure that our country seems like a power house. Daisy is used to show the innocence and the youth of our country. The nukes going off symbolize that gold water dose not care for the current and younger generation but rather he cares about war. His actions will cause america to fall. P

  13. I believe what is being said about Goldman is that he does not want peace, that he’ll probably pick choices that would end america. It also shows in the way that he says that one must love each other, implying that Goldman does not love others which could end bad. More importantly war could be seen here with the atomic bomb.

  14. This ad shows Gary Goldwater will go to war with little reason and is willing to let children die. This ad was to extreme but powerful. If this ad was put up today it would seem ridiculous with such big accusations.

  15. The ad is stating that if President Johnson is not elected it will lead to catastrophe. I think it speaks to the racial tensions of the time as well. With Goldwater opposing the Civil Rights Act and Johnson championing the bill, Johnson made it clear that if we did not promote the ideas of racial harmony, tolerance, and inclusion it would lead to our downfall. Johnson’s ad is more effective than Goldwater’s sticker because it appeals to the heart of the masses instead of just the ivory tower intellectuals.

  16. this ad ahows that if voted for or had Goldwater be elected for president the worst thing would happen. it showed that Goldwater will do anything to either use or win a war even if it hurt your family. to top it off johnson said something that would scare anyone into voting for him. so by making Goldwater a monster in the ad it most likely made people want to vote for someone who wouldn’t hurt “Daisy” like Johnson.

  17. I believe that Johnson is saying that if you would vote for Goldwater, then you the United States would become like him, which is an illiterate person. This is referring to the little girl that couldn’t count to ten. This would then lead to world chaos which is represented by the mushroom cloud caused by some sort of bomb. Basically saying that we would become redneck!

  18. I believe what this ad is trying to convey is that if you don’t vote for Johnson and Goldwater wins, then nuclear war weapons will be used when not needed. It shows the girl to touch on the social emotional feelings of the viewers, showing we need to protect the innocent children and not have them live in a world of war and danger. He is making a point that we need to love each other in order to live and Goldwater doesn’t love if hes putting the citizens in a dangerous environment.

  19. The commercial wanted President Lyndon Johnson to seem like the good guy saving lives. Many people sympathize with anything that involves children and during this time many adults were not educated on the people running. Barry Goldwater seemed like the bad guy in this commercial which took away his winning.

  20. Melissa Johnson

    In the ad, Barry Goldwater is viewed as bad news for America. Johnson makes sure viewers see Goldwater as a bad man who wants to start war. Johnson places a little girl in the ad to show innocence of the country that Goldwater will soon “destroy.” Johnson wants voters to truly believe he is the best and only option for President.

  21. In this ad Barry Goldwater is being depicted as someone who would lead the country into chaos . By showing an image of an explosion Johnson implies that the image could quickly become a reality with Goldwater as President. In addition to the image of the explosion President Johnson included statements involving Christianity to grasp the attention of families during that time period.

  22. This ad is saying that Barry Goldwater is a trigger finger happy nut job who will go to war over anything and he is willing to start world war 3. Johnson was saying that we have to love each other or we will die, and that those were the stakes to make a perfect world for all of us (gods children) to live in.

  23. The ad is too extreme and serious. Johnson said that everyone will die if they vote for Goldwater and he involves the little girl for the fright of death if you vote for the wrong person. The thought of voting for Goldwater makes it a scary decision because one never knows what will happen.

  24. Cassandra Glockler

    Johnson’s campaign is using fear to pass a point along to the voter. They specifically used the little girl as a scare tactic. They are trying to show the point if Goldwater is elected, it will be nothing but un-peaceful times and war.

  25. In this ad its showing that Goldwater will support war, specifically the Vietnam War, and the usage of nuclear weapons. The little girl in the ad involves death and if you choose the wrong person then nothing good can come from it.

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