Daisy Girl: Lyndon Johnson’s memorable and controversial political ad

‘Daisy Girl’, for incumbent Democrat President Lyndon B. Johnson‘s 1964 Presidential bid against Barry Goldwater, is one of the most famous and controversial political ads.

As with the Conservative Party’s famous ‘Labour isn’t working’ advert from the 1970s, it showed how with political adverts a little bit of controversy often makes the message go a long way.

The Johnson advert starts with a young girl innocently counting the petals on a flower, but then switches to an ominous voiceover counting down to zero. The screen is then filled with a mushroom cloud from a nuclear explosion.

The advert played on fears that Johnson’s opponent, Barry Goldwater, was willing to use nuclear weapons in Vietnam. The controversy resulted in the advertisement being pulled – it was aired only once. But the controversy also resulted in widespread media coverage which spread the advert’s message far and wide:

For other memorable political adverts, see my Political Ads page – including the amazingly bizarre Luis Fishman classic. The stretch from 7 seconds in until 22 seconds in is fairly normal. But as for the rest…

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