LSU’s Reilly Center to Host Retrospective on Landmark in Presidential Campaign Ads
BATON ROUGE – LSU’s Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs and LSU Press will host a retrospective on the infamous “Daisy Girl” ad of the the Lyndon B. Johnson 1964 presidential campaign, considered one of the most significant in the history of American political advertising. The event will be held at the Manship School of Mass Communication’s Journalism Building at 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 24.
The event is open to the public and will feature a panel discussion moderated by Manship School Dean Jerry Ceppos and including Associate Professor and Reilly Center Co-Director Robert Mann and special guests:
- Monique Luiz, the Daisy Girl. Luiz, who was three years old when she starred in the spot, famously plucked flower petals before a countdown triggered a nuclear explosion. The forum will be Luiz’s first public appearance to discuss her role in this historic campaign commercial.
- Sidney Myers, creative director of the spot and former senior art director for Doyle Dane Bernbach, the advertising firm that created and produced the spot.
Mann is the author of “Daisy Petals and Mushroom Clouds: LBJ, Barry Goldwater and the Ad that Changed American Politics,” which will be released by LSU Press in October. Mann will sign copies of the book following the symposium.
A lecture in Mann’s political communications class on the subject was also filmed for an episode of C-SPAN television series “Lectures in History,” earlier this year, and the network will film the symposium for a special as well.
“Peace, Little Girl,” the original title of the ad, ran once as a paid advertisement on NBC, on the evening of Monday, Sept. 7, 1964. The spot was likely viewed by as many as 50 million people that night and by another 50 million, who by week’s end saw it replayed on the network news broadcasts. Political historians generally agree that the spot – which never mentioned or showed the image of Johnson’s opponent, Barry Goldwater – is considered by many to be the most important in American political history.
“This one 60-second spot, aired only once, dramatically changed the way Democrats and Republicans ran for president,” said Mann. “It and the other spots that LBJ ran against Barry Goldwater in 1964 transformed political advertising. The Daisy Girl spot was really the first television spot of the modern political era and its impact is still with us.”
The panel discussion will be Luiz’ first public appearance to discuss her role in the commercial.
“We are delighted to have two of the people most important to the creation of this spot at the Manship School to discuss their significant roles in American political history,” Mann added.