Convention | Richard Nixon, 1968
This innovative and controversial ad for Richard Nixon ran eight days before the election. It was part of a series of powerful collage ads created from still photographs, music, and minimal narration by documentary filmmaker Eugene Jones. In "Convention," images of Vietnam, race riots, and poverty, intercut with a smiling Humphrey at the Democratic convention, are accompanied by "Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight." The song cleverly references both the riots at the convention and the domestic and international turmoil of the time. The ad ran as a paid spot on NBC’s comedy show Laugh-In. Sharing the show’s kinetic and irreverent style, it confused some viewers, who assumed it was part of the progam. Hundreds of others called the network to protest its bad taste. The Nixon campaign agreed to pull the ad, but the following night, The Huntley-Brinkley Report gave it free airtime by covering the controversy. As a result of his poor showing in the 1960 presidential debates, Richard Nixon’s appearances on television were carefully controlled in 1968. He refused to debate Humphrey, and "the one minute spot commercials presented Nixon’s views on his principal campaign themes—Vietnam, law and order, race, and the economy," said Leonard Garment, one of his campaign managers.
"Convention," Nixon, 1968
Maker: Leonard Garment, Harry Treleaven, Frank Shakespeare, and Eugene Jones
Original air date: 10/27/68
Video courtesy of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.