Selling Ideas - Selling Products

Making Policy

Consumer goods were not the only products "sold" to the growing American media audience. For the first time in American history, in 1960 Presidential campaigns were focused on television debates rather than classical campaign strategies. The potential of the image to make an impact was obvious: whereas the radio audience favoured Richard Nixon after the debate, the television audience was won over by John F. Kennedy's on-screen charm.




The influence of televised style on the Presidential race continued, and showed its importance once again in the Carter-Reagan Debates in the 1980 election. Despite the fact that most media sources deemed President Carter to be the winner based on content, Reagan's style was considered better. In the week following the debate, Reagan reversed Carter's slight lead into a landmark victory of his own.