ARCHIVAL (PROUDER, BETTER, STRONGER AD, 1984):NARRATOR: Its morning again in America.
DOUG WATTS: The doors flew open at the end of the room and in walks the president. And he looked at everybody and he said, I hear youre selling soap and I thought youd want to see the package.
IMAGE MAKERS: POLITICAL ADS THAT SHAPED THE BATTLE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE
ARCHIVAL (YOUTUBE):PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: If were on the Death Valley Days set and waters not handy, Boraxo Waterless Hand Cleaner really cleans up for us.
DOUG WATTS (ADVERTISING DIRECTOR, REAGAN-BUSH 1984): He was the perfect subject. From his years acting, he understood the lighting, the theatrics. He understood what our role was as well, as advertising people. But in the re-election campaign, Nancy Reagan personally said, I want a higher quality advertising, I dont want the standard political fare. And so make that happen. I had written a brief about the revival of America after the four years of the Carter administration, where inflation had gotten so bad, and the economics of the country were in terrible shape. And in the early 80s, it was the beginning of the 24/7 news cycle.
ARCHIVAL (CNN):NEWS REPORT: CNN Headline News
DOUG WATTS: That started to have an impact on the American psyche. So it was important to find the optimism that was still in most people, but they were starting to lose a grip on it. All of these Madison Avenue all-stars most of whom couldnt care less about politics were all competing to have an ad produced for the campaign.
ARCHIVAL (REAGAN LIBRARY, 1984):HAL RINEY: The first approach is pretty straightforward.
DOUG WATTS: Hal Rineys calling card was the storytelling, and the folksiness. And Hal just got it square on the nose.
ARCHIVAL (PROUDER, BETTER, STRONGER AD, 1984):NARRATOR: Its morning again in America, and under the leadership of President Reagan, our country is prouder, and stronger, and better.
BERNIE VANGRIN (SENIOR ART DIRECTOR, HAL RINEY & PARTNERS): Hal had the voice: it was the pack of Marlboros and the bourbon voice.
JOHN PYTKA (DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY, PROUDER, STRONGER, BETTER): We call em warm and fuzzies. Warm and fuzzy, and a little bit of slow-motion, made me a lot of money.
ARCHIVAL (PROUDER, BETTER, STRONGER AD, 1984):NARRATOR: This afternoon, 6,500 young men and women will be married.
DOUG WATTS: You look at that wedding scene, and you feel as if were really just trespassing on somebodys wedding. But it was all staged, and it was just of a higher quality and a higher standard than people would ever employ for a political ad. When I took the ads in to the president we also looked at another spot that Hal did.
ARCHIVAL (BEAR IN THE WOODS AD, 1984):NARRATOR: There is a bear in the woods. For some people, the bear is easy to see. Others dont see it at all.
DOUG WATTS: Reagan particularly liked the bear ad the best, because it was about preparedness against the Russian behemoth. But the fact of the matter is, that bear ad only ran one time. We never really needed it, Prouder, Stronger, Better was so strong it set the tone for our campaign. People were saying, Oh, youre just white-washing everything. You know, everythings not rainbows and roses and puppy dogs and kittens.
ARCHIVAL (NBC NEWS):JANE PAULEY: Ronald Reagans reelection campaign is high on symbolism: the flag, the statue of liberty.SIDNEY BLUMENTHAL: Hes not mentioning any specific issues. Hes gliding along on the broadest and most general themes. Hes campaigning by photo opportunity.
DOUG WATTS: But the fact is, we did articulate what people felt. And this is why the term morning in America has become part of the political vernacular.
ARCHIVAL (WETA):WOMAN: This is our morning in America!
ARCHIVAL (FOX NEWS):ANCHOR: This was very much a morning in America speech.
ARCHIVAL (NBC NEWS):WOMAN: The point is that its morning in America is a better sales pitch.
DOUG WATTS: Its become a generic term, meaning different things to different people, but its definitely a part of the American culture today.