Democratic Strategist Steve McMahon and Republican Strategist Todd Harris talked about the characteristics that make a good campaign ad. They analyzed a portion of Texas Congressional candidate MJ Hegar's ad entitled "Doors."
This lesson has students learn about different strategies that media consultants use to convince voters with campaign ads. They will hear from Democratic and Republican strategists and will explore what characteristics make effective ads and what characteristics do not. Students will view video clips of modern campaign ads and evaluate these campaign advertisements. This lesson can be used in a traditional classroom or in classrooms with one-to-one devices.
Begin class by asking the following question. Discus with the class the different campaign ads that they have seen and what they think is effective.
Introduce campaign advertisements by showing the following clip to the class. Have them answer the questions listed below individually. Discuss their answers as a class and correct any misconceptions.
VIDEO CLIP: What Makes a Good Campaign Ad? (4:54)
What challenges do media consultants and advertisers face with campaign ads?
According to Mr. McMahon and Mr. Harris, list the characteristics of a good campaign ad.
Describe the different mediums for campaign ads. How do advertisers develop ads around these platforms?
Using the campaign ad analysis handout, have students watch each of the videos. Students will summarize the ad, explain the strategists' opinions and evaluate the effectiveness of each ad. These videos can be shown as a class or individually if students have access to personal devices.
HANDOUT: Campaign Ad Analysis (Google Doc)
CAMPAIGN AD VIDEOS:
VIDEO CLIP: Brian Kemp (R-GA) 2018 Ad for Georgia Governor (2:42)
VIDEO CLIP: 2018 Anti-Ted Cruz PAC Ad (2:30)
VIDEO CLIP: Dan Helmer (D-VA) 2018 Congressional Primary Ad (2:30)
VIDEO CLIP: Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA) 2018 Gubernatorial Campaign Ad (1:17)
VIDEO CLIP: Richard Painter (D-MN) 2018 Congressional Campaign Ad (2:05)
VIDEO CLIP: Don Blankenship (R-WV) 2018 Senate Primary Campaign (1:37)
After viewing each of the videos, have the students rank the campaign ads based on what they learned about characteristics of good ads. They will present their rankings and be prepared to justify their choices. After all students discuss their rankings, the class will vote on the top advertisement.
As an exit slip, have the students answer the following question:
Create your own ad- Using a phone or video camera, develop a campaign ad for a past, current or potential political candidate. Use what you learned in the lesson about different strategies and how to effectively convince voters.
Historical Campaign Ads- Choose one of the following advertisements from previous campaigns. For this advertisement, summarize the message and strategies of the ad. Evaluate if the ad was effective at the time and would be effective today.
Video Clip: 1960 John F. Kennedy Campaign Ad (1:02)
Video Clip: 1960 Richard Nixon Presidential Campaign Ad (:58)
Video Clip: 1976 Jimmy Carter Presidential Campaign Ad (:33)
Video Clip: 1984 Ronald Reagan Presidential Campaign Ad (:59)
Video Clip: 1992 Bill Clinton Presidential Campaign Ad (1:02)
Video Clip: 2000 Al Gore Presidential Campaign Ad (1:01)
Additional Writing/Discussion Prompts: