Advertising Content and Styles Across the Years
The styles and contents of presidential ads have varied considerably since Eisenhower's first use of television spots in the 1952 campaign. For one thing, there have been great differences in the number of spots used by each candidate. The total number of ads in the sample analyzed here is 1,204 spots. As Table 4.1 shows, the small number of ads used by Eisenhower (35) and Stevenson (18) in 1952 (and an even smaller number in the sample used here for 1956) quickly increased in 1960 to 68 different spots used by John F. Kennedy and 48 different ads for Richard M. Nixon. The largest number of ads in any one year were used for Ronald Reagan in his 1980 campaign.
In looking at the components of videostyle in presidential ads across time, it is helpful first to consider the overall characteristics of the ads and then to look at trends across time and for individual candidates.
The verbal aspect of videostyle encompasses the content of the spot. Verbal content can include the issue/image content of a spot, whether the spot is focused on the sponsoring candidate or on the opponent,