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In political ads, old ideas never die

In Ned Martel’s Oct. 25 Style article “Could the pols use a bit of wisdom from the Mad Men?,” ad executive Rob Reilly bemoaned the failure of campaign advertising to come up with fresh ideas because the powers that be fear abandoning techniques that worked previously. How about their penchant for duplicating ideas that didn’t work?

Six decades ago, I was a callow intern in the media department of an influential East Coast agency. We managed to snare the Adlai Stevenson presidential campaign in 1952, a real coup because it gave our New York and Baltimore account executives a chance to use television for the first time in a presidential campaign. Our crew of unshaven, sweaty copywriters, who in no way resembled the oversexed 1960 studs of “Mad Men,” were convinced that a sensible, jingle-inspired song would carry us to victory over a wishy-washy opponent, a man named Dwight Eisenhower, who had a hard time deciding whether he was a Republican. Our guys came up with a masterpiece called “Don’t Let ’Em Take It Away!

Last night, 60 years later, this lifelong Democrat watched in horror as a TV commercial listed the poor track record of the Republican Party and ended with the ominous statement, referring to Medicare and Social Security benefits, “Don’t let Mitt Romney take them away.” If nothing succeeds like success and everything fails like failure, I think I’ll move to one of those newly discovered planets in the cosmos.

Mollee Kruger, Rockville

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