Vice-President, Copy Supervisor, Doyle Dane Bernbach Inc.
chuukyuu At the time of the 1964 presidential election, you handled the campaign for the Democratic Party. What was your reaction when Mr.Bernbach named you to handle the campaign?
Mr. Lee I was delighted. I was very anti-Goldwater. I was also doing the advertising for a dog food at that time. Dog food, I had found out, doesn’t excite me. But I could very easily get excite about beating Goldwater.
chuukyuu Comparing political campaigns with merchandise campaigns, what difference, if any, is there as to the way you get an idea?
Between the two types of campaign are there any differences other than those in time and duration?
Mr. Lee As I recall, initially Sid Myers and myself were a little overwhelmed by the dimensions of the problem, doing the advertising for a president. I'd say for a while at the beginning we were blocked. We did not know what to do. It was completely new for us. Mr. Bernbach got us over this initial fright with a nice piece of advice. "Make mistakes," he told us. It was what we needed to become uninhibited. After that I'd say that the creative process was basically the same as commercial products.
The differences between advertising a product and a president? I'm not sure. In political advertising you are given the rules of the game from the politicians who have already made certain basic decisions about how people feel about things. Your own intuition about how people feel is not acceptable to the politicians. They have already decided. You have to write to those rules. I suppose, though, that is not really different from an advertising manager for a commercial product who may have definite ideas about how to sell his product and insists that you tick to those ideas.
I will say, however, that same of the advertising I did for the Democrats in 1964 was false advertising. I didn't know it at the time. None of us did. But it was unquestionably false, s\s events subsequent to 1964 demonstrated. I don't believe this could be said of any of the commercial advertising I've done.
chuukyuu When the TV commercial, "Daisies and a Little Girl", was withdrawn after only one broadcast due to the protest by the Republican Party, what was your reacting? You must be only one copywriter who has experienced this.
Mr. Lee What happened was the day after the Daisy commercial ran the Chairman of the Republican National Committee complained about it to the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee in front of a group of reporters. This immediately made what might have gone unseen, nationally famous. The commercial had run at the end of, a very long dull movie and not too many people had seen it. But by complaining about it the Republicans made it famous. And it appeared that night on the six o'clock news program as a news item. I could not have been happier.