Thirty years ago yesterday, Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States. Whether you agree or disagree with Reagan’s distinct political ideology, I think it’s important to acknowledge his power as a communicator. Before becoming President, Reagan was an actor. Reagan refrained from any roles that portrayed him as “the bad guy.” As President, he took a similar approach–often preaching “wholesome American values” domestically and abroad.
So what does this all mean in the context of political campaign advertising? For one, Reagan was generally able to instill a sense of confidence among the American people. This was evident in his “It’s Morning Again in America” advertisement. Not many incumbent Presidents would dare to ask:
“Why would we ever want to return to where we were less than four short years ago?”
The commercial captures the essence of Reagan’s communication style–simple, optimistic and relatable. The narrator suggests that it was Reagan’s effective policies that contributed to an improved economy and a lower unemployment rate. He nonchalantly asks why voters would want to return to the policies of the Democrats. There was an authenticity in the narrator’s voice that many people would argue, mirrored the authenticity in Reagan’s voice. The montage of images further reiterates an America at peace. People are back to work, inflation has decreased significantly and families are able to buy new homes.
Was it really morning again in America? That question is debatable, but it was evident that many people were content with Reagan’s public policy agenda. Charisma and a consistent communication style are key to a successful presidency. Reagan wanted people to recognize that with him, the country was “prouder and stronger and better.”