From The Archives

Nobody knows for sure who put the first campaign spot on TV, but one of the pioneers was Democratic Senator William Benton of Connecticut (above center). Not coincidentally, he was also the co-founder of a major ad agency. His 1950 spots, with action shots and rousing music, sounded themes that have become electoral perennials. There were spousal plugs ("My husband has fought hard"), campaign promises ("I shall continue to fight for ... tax relief for small businesses") and bland platitudes ("He's in there pitching for you"). What had yet to evolve: vicious attacks on the opponent.


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