Distributor:  Icarus Films
Length:  51 minutes
Date:  1997
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: 8-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
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This title is included in the following collections: The Icarus Films Collection, The Docuseek2 Complete Collection 2nd Edition

30 Second Democracy

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Explores the disturbing relationship between political parties and the advertising industry during election campaigns.

30 Second Democracy

:30 Second Democracy explores the disturbing relationship between political parties and the advertising industry during election campaigns. Through television advertising, techniques perfected to sell commercial products are readily applied to political candidates, turning elections into marketing exercises and voting into another consumer choice.

:30 Second Democracy is unique among explorations of this theme, providing a comparative history of political television advertising in the U.S., Britain and Canada which looks at how each of these countries has taken widely differing approaches to regulating political advertising on television, with very different results.

Included in the program are some of the most famous and infamous political ads of recent memory, from President Johnson's 'Daisy' ad in 1964, to the British Labour Party's Kinnock 'Biography' and the Canadian Liberal Party's Free Trade ad, to the controversial 'Willie Horton' ad of the 1988 U.S. Presidential campaign. Complementing the ads are interviews with some of the highest profile admakers and analysts of political ads in the world.

'A provocative and critical look at the history and practice of political advertising on television...using great vintage clips and pithy observations from an assortment of media and political analysts to explore this important subject.'-John Haslett Cuff, The Globe and Mail

'Do we elect leaders or do we buy them? This in-depth documentary looks at how TV peddles political candidates the same way it sells soap and chewing gum.'-Toronto Star


Main credits

Vainola, David (film producer)
Vainola, David (film director)
Vainola, David (screenwriter)
Vainola, David (narrator)
Kawaja, Jennifer (film producer)
Wearing, Joseph (screenwriter)

Other credits

Camera, Jonathan Freeman; editor, Stephanie Duncan; music, Edmund Eagan.

Distributor credits

A Film by David Vainola

Docuseek2 subjects

Comparative Government
Politics and Political Science
Radio and Television

Distributor subjects

Advertising and Marketing
Comparative Government
Media Studies


adverts; ads; advertising; television; radio; political; campaign; 30 second; spots; history of; documentary; film; video; Daisy; ad; LBJ; Johnson; Goldwater; Willie Horton; Dukakis; Bush; "30 Second Democracy"; Icarus Films

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