Kennedy vs. Nixon Ad (1960)

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“1960 Kennedy vs. Nixon”

In Richard Nixon’s political ad, “Peace,” the overall message is about experience and knowing what to do during though times. Nixon's campaign tried to convey this seriousness by shooting its commercials of Nixon perched on a desk and speaking directly to the camera. In JFK’s 1960 “Debate,” political ad, he addresses the people in a snappier way, and by “facing the issues squarely.” However, neither of the candidates' ads was about issues; rather, they were more contrast in styles. The messages focused on the era as a dangerous time; it was really an election about change versus experience.

In Kennedy’s ad, he expresses his ideas directly, specifically, and offers “new American leadership for the country.” His tone is very magnetic and appealing, and it is quite pleasing to an American to hear that Kennedy thinks that America is a great country, but “it could be a greater” one. Whereas Nixon speaks with such composure and a serious-minded tone in his ad, it almost seems he is not excited (or even cares) to be there. The way Kennedy carries himself while giving speeches is an especially confident, poised, and self-assured one, so much that he even comments on whether if people think that America was doing everything satisfactorily, that he agreed with them, that they “should vote for Nixon”! Furthermore, on the Kennedy-Nixon debate, Kennedy appeared looking “tanned, confident, and vigorous,” while Nixon was “wearing no make up and a light-colored suit that blended into the background looking exhausted and pale, and sweated profusely.” Also, Mr. Nixon’s tone is exceedingly formal, thus making him look a tad bit uncharismatic, (unlike his likable contender). His way of speaking directly to the camera and giving detailed answers to an offscreen speaker, presented him “as a though, experienced leader able to stand up to the Communists.”

In general, while Nixon was not as charismatic and pleasant as JFK, he was a seasoned,...
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