The 5 Craziest Presidential Campaign Ads of All Time

Attack ads aren't always as straightforward washed out black and white shots we've been seeing in this campaign.
The 5 Craziest Presidential Campaign Ads of All Time

It seems like all political ads are the same. We're sick of seeing commercials for Obama and Romney, yet we can barely remember what a single one is about. You can try to stand out by being innovative or controversial, or you can take the easy route and make an ad crazier than the entire population of an insane asylum. For example ...

"Ike ... Bob"

The 1952 election was the first to see the use of TV ads, so we understand that nobody quite knew what they were doing. But it still should have been obvious to Adlai Stevenson's campaign that they needed to employ voice actors who sounded like humans, not Marvin the Martian.

Stevenson's strategists wanted to suggest that an Eisenhower administration would be controlled behind the scenes by Robert (Bob) Taft. Why they thought having their two actors repeat "Ike" and "Bob" like they were insane conjoined twins would accomplish this has been lost to history.


Richard Nixon wasn't popular with the hippie crowd, so maybe this 1968 ad was an attempt to reach out to them. Because the only way it makes any sense is if you've just dropped all the acid.

It's supposed to be an attack against Nixon's opponent, Hubert Humphrey. The shaky camera, sci-fi sound effects and photos of various crises are meant to suggest that Humphrey would make a mess of the country. But it kind of just looks like Humphrey can shift between dimensions. We vote for the guy who can do that every time.


Not willing to be outcrazied, the Humphrey campaign countered with a surreal attack ad of their own.

It's 20 seconds of a guy laughing hysterically at a TV showing the name of Nixon's VP candidate, Spiro Agnew. The "joke" is that Agnew was an obscure politician, but it seems safer to vote for an unknown than a candidate supported by what sounds like a James Bond supervillain who just finished announcing his plan to blow up the White House with a space laser.

See how far we've come? Laughing at a candidate's name used to be the strategy of one of the most successful commercial makers in history. Now it's the strategy of Free Republic.

"Hey, Pal"

Not only did the Democrats not learn a lesson about avoiding creepy laughter in their ads, but they doubled down in this 1988 Michael Dukakis commercial by hiring the sex offendingest looking guy they could find and asking him to do his best evil pedophile laugh.

We get that they wanted to portray the Republicans' approach to debt management as laughable, but why did that necessitate the actor thrusting at the camera during the line "over the hump"? The Republicans didn't deserve that, but most of all, America didn't deserve it.

"First Time Only for Love"

America doesn't hold a monopoly on disturbing political ads. Russians were encouraged to vote for Cracked's favorite evil mastermind, Vladimir Putin, with an ad campaign that equated casting a ballot for Putin with playing with his Tetris block, if you know what we mean. (We mean having sex with him.)

A cute young blonde visits a fortune teller to learn who her true love will be, and also to exchange terrible double entendres. The tarot cards reveal Vladimir Putin -- cue romantic music, a joyous expression and a slow-motion trip to the polls. (Although personally we'd demand our money back, as we're pretty sure there's no Putin card in a standard tarot deck.)

The 5 Craziest Presidential Campaign Ads of All Time

Thanks to this ad and others like it, young women throughout Russia will always equate losing their virginity with voting for Putin. We're surprised that no Americans thought of this tactic during the Clinton administration.

You can read more from Mark at his personal site.

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