A terrific ad recently created by Fred Davis of Strategic Perception, one of the more creative Republican media ad producers, and underwritten by Citizens For The Republic has been furiously making the rounds of the blogosphere and soon to be publicly disseminated. In a perseptive inverse mirror effect it recalls precisely for the modern generation the extremely influential commercial put forth by Michael Deaver’s brilliant team for President Ronald Reagan’s re-election campaign of 1984. Deaver wanted everybody to quietly reflect on President Reagan’s success in restoring optimism as a fundamental quality in Americans as they preceeded with their daily lives, and see it as a direct result of his leadership. Mr. Davis frames the exactly identical emotional argument but in modern, darker shadows that remind all that the current sense of foreboding and uneasiness about the future also is a result of leadership, but leadership steering the nation’s ship toward failure and pessimism.
The dominant argument is that there is a right way and wrong way to leadership and it projects eventually to all Americans who man the ship of state, that the ship’s captain knows what is necessary, or that he increasingly has no clue. This is a message of enormous influence because it seeks to ennuciate in quiet but direct terms what increasing voting majorities have been feeling and whispering to themselves, but progressively acknowledge is a feeling their neighbors carry as well.
In 1984, more than any other issue, the sense that America had escaped the turbulence of the previous two decades and returned to a stable and positive direction that benefited everybody was overwhelming. It lead to President Reagan’s re-election in a crushing landslide of 49 states to one for Walter Mondale. Mr.Davis is now seeking to achieve the same overwhelming emotional reaction, but this time, that an immediate turnabout is in order, if there is to be relief from the progressively darker and stormy direction of the American Dream.
Watch the two commercials side to side – I think Mr. Davis just may be on to something.
1984 – Morning in America
2010 – Mourning in America