DAISY: DRAMATIS PERSONAE
There were many personalities involved with the Daisy spot (official title "Peace, Little Girl") and its legend. The following is a brief round-up of some of the best and brightest who were either directly involved or on the periphery of the most famous 60 seconds in advertising history.
JOHN F. KENNEDY [35th President of the United States]Kennedy was responsible for identifying Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) as a potential advertising agency for his anticipated 1964 re-election effort. The President sent his brother-in-law and campaign manager, Stephen E. Smith, to DDB to engage the firm in preliminary discussions.
Assassinated on November 22, 1963.
STEPHEN E. SMITH [Brother-in-Law to President John F. Kennedy; campaign manager for Kennedy's 1964 re-election bid]At President Kennedy's behest, Smith opened informal talks with DDB regarding the 1964 presidential campaign.
Died on August 20, 1990.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON [Vice President to John F. Kennedy; 36th President of the United States; 1964 Democratic Nominee for the Presidency]The complex and needy Texan desperately wanted a landslide over Republican opponent Barry M. Goldwater to erase the notion that he was merely an accidental President following John F. Kennedy's assassination.
Died on January 22, 1973.
HUBERT H. HUMPHREY [Senator from Minnesota; 1964 Democratic Nominee for the Vice Presidency]Humphrey was asked about the Daisy spot on the September 20, 1964 edition of NBC's "Meet the Press." The senator stated that he did not approve of the ad and recommended that it be discontinued.
Died on January 13, 1978.
BILL MOYERS [Special Assistant to the President]Moyers, a trusted protégé of President Johnson, was involved in various aspects of the 1964 presidential campaign including speechwriting, but he was primarily responsible for overseeing the media component of the effort. Moyers had been the Deputy Director of the Peace Corps at the time of the Kennedy assassination. Moyers recruited Lloyd Wright, the Deputy Associate Director of Public Affairs for the Peace Corps, to be the Democratic National Committee (DNC) liaison to the campaign advertising agency, DDB. Moyers was likely responsible for writing the Johnson speech that paraphrases W.H. Auden that is excerpted in the Daisy spot.
Mr. Moyers currently hosts Bill Moyers Journal on PBS television.
E. HAYES REDMON [Assistant to Bill Moyers]Redmon is perhaps the only person inside the campaign to voice serious concerns about the Daisy spot (Hubert Humphrey's stated objection to the spot on the September 20, 1964 edition of "Meet the Press" was most likely a politically correct answer). In a September 18, 1964 memo to Bill Moyers Redmond declared "I'm worried about the count-down ad" and then went on to express his reservations about "scare ads." Redmon's memo can be seen on the Daisy Documents page.
Died on November 27, 1973.
LLOYD WRIGHT [Democratic National Committee Campaign Media Coordinator]Wright, a former Peace Corps official who was brought to the campaign by Bill Moyers, inherited the relationship with DDB that was initiated by President Kennedy's campaign manager and brother-in-law, Stephen E. Smith. Wright was responsible for evaluating several other advertising agencies (most notably Grant Advertising, a Chicago-based firm) before providing his recommendation in favor of DDB to handle the campaign. Wright worked closely with the DDB creative and executive teams. Wright's memos can be seen on the Daisy Documents page.
Mr. Wright is semi-retired.
RICHARD (DICK) MAGUIRE [Democratic National Committee Treasurer]Maguire was one of four persons (Bill Moyers, Jack Valenti and Wilson McCarthy being the others) addressed in Lloyd Wright's memo recommending that DDB be chosen as the advertising agency for the 1964 presidential campaign. Maguire, in fact, signed the contract with DDB on March 19, 1964 (Maxwell Dane signed for DDB). Maguire had a long history with the Democratic Party dating back to his role as treasurer for John F. Kennedy's successful 1946 run for a seat in the House of Representatives. Wright's memo and the DNC-DDB contract can be seen on the Daisy Documents page.
Died on February 18, 1983.
JACK VALENTI [Special Assistant to the President]Valenti was a close confidante to President Johnson who was involved in various aspects of the 1964 campaign including approval of DDB as the advertising agency. Valenti issued curiously redundant and late-in-the-game campaign strategy memos that urged Goldwater to be portrayed as reckless. According to an internal DDB memo Valenti was present at the White House meeting during which a work print of the Daisy spot was shown. Valenti's campaign strategy memos can be seen on the Daisy Documents page. Died on April 26, 2007.
RICHARD N. (DICK) GOODWIN [Special Assistant to the President]According to an internal DDB memo Goodwin was present at a White House meeting during which a work print of the Daisy spot was shown. He is widely credited with coining the term "the Great Society" to describe Johnson's domestic agenda. The internal memo can be seen on the Daisy Documents page.
Mr. Goodwin is an author, essayist and playwright. He is married to historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.
WILSON D. MCCARTHY [Presidential Aide]McCarthy was an aide to President Kennedy who continued to work for President Johnson after the assassination. McCarthy was privy to the decision-making process on the choice of DDB as the advertising agency.
Died on June 12, 1981.
WALTER JENKINS [Presidential Aide]Jenkins was a highly trusted and influential aide to President Johnson. Jenkins became embroiled in a sex scandal late in the 1964 campaign that led to his resignation. Jenkins' name appears on various campaign memos that are included on the Daisy Documents page.
Died on November 23, 1985.
LAWRENCE F. O'BRIEN JR. [Presidential Aide]O'Brien was another hold-over from the Kennedy administration and served as one of President Johnson's lead political advisers. O'Brien is addressed on various campaign memos some of which are included on the Daisy Documents page. Later in his career, O'Brien was chairman of the DNC when the committee's offices at the Watergate complex were famously burglarized.
Died on September 28, 1990.
KENNETH P. O'DONNELL [Presidential Aide]Kennedy aide who remained on in President Johnson's White House. O'Donnell is addressed on various campaign memos some of which are included on the Daisy Documents page. Portrayed by Kevin Costner in the Cuban Missile Crisis motion picture THIRTEEN DAYS (2000).
Died on September 9, 1977.
MYER "Mike" FELDMAN [Special Counsel]According to Theodore C. Sorensen's 1965 book "Kennedy," during the 1960 Kennedy presidential campaign, Feldman, a lawyer by training, compiled an internal opposition research book on Richard M. Nixon that was dubbed the "Nixopedia." It contained a wealth of embarrassing material on the Republican candidate. In 1964 Feldman assisted in creating a similar document for the Johnson campaign to be used against Barry M. Goldwater. Feldman conducted his work as a member of a secret strategy apparatus known variously as "the Five o'clock Club," "the Department of Dirty Tricks" and "the Anti-Campaign." Feldman is addressed on various campaign memos some of which are included on the Daisy Documents page.
Died on March 1, 2007.
FREDERICK G. DUTTON [Presidential Aide]Dutton was an aide in the Kennedy White House who stayed on to serve President Johnson. Dutton worked with Myer "Mike" Feldman on opposition research activities during the 1964 campaign. He is addressed on various campaign memos some of which are included on the Daisy Documents page.
Died on June 27, 2005
JOHN P. ROCHE [President of Americans for Democratic Action - ADA]Roche authored a June 12, 1964 letter to Bill Moyers suggesting a billboard concept targeting Barry Goldwater: "Goldwater in 64 —Hotwater in 65? With a mushroom cloud in the background." This document can be viewed on the Daisy Documents page.
Died on May 6, 1994.
GEORGE E. REEDY [White House Press Secretary]In a tape recorded White House conversation, Reedy presented President Johnson with an interesting theory of attack on Barry M. Goldwater:
I think there's a weakness to Goldwater. I think the big weakness is that people think he's pretty reckless. And I think the one thing that we ought to get out now is some of the things that he has said about the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, but not say it in the way that it has been said. I think we gotta get this thing down to some gut things: Mothers that are worried about having radioactive poison in their kids' milk. Men that are worried about becoming sterile. Uh, give them some thoughts about maybe kids being born with two heads and things like that.
This conversation can be heard on the Daisy Audio page.
Reedy had been a reporter for the United Press before going to work for Lyndon Johnson in 1951.
ROBERT F. KENNEDY [Attorney General of the United States]Kennedy is heard on a White House telephone recording with President Johnson discussing campaign strategy. During the call Johnson poses his nuclear fear idea against Goldwater and winds up echoing George E. Reedy's "two headed" mutation comment (see Reedy, George E.). This conversation can be heard on the Daisy Audio page.
Assassinated on June 5, 1968.
WILLARD WIRTZ [Secretary of Labor]Wirtz was allegedly engaged by the DDB team to pick up Chinese food for a late night brainstorming session at the White House. Wirtz was later cautioned by President Johnson in a telephone conversation not to "overdo" a proposed campaign ad that Wirtz was involved with. Johnson invokes the Daisy spot as an example of overdoing an ad. This conversation can be heard on the Daisy Audio page.
Mr. Wirtz is retired.
ANTHONY J. CELEBREZZE [Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare]Celebrezze allegedly provided the Doyle Dane Bernbach ad men with stimulants during one all-night strategy session at the White House.
Died on October 29, 1998.
JOHN M. BAILEY [Chairman of the Democratic National Committee]On September 11, 1964 Bailey engaged in a spirited debate with his Republican counterpart, Dean Burch, during a "fairness pledge" signing ceremony sponsored by the non-partisan Fair Campaign Practices Committee (FCPC). The purpose of the gathering, organized by FCPC Chairman Charles P. Taft, was for the two party representatives to agree to promote a positive campaign. Burch used the occasion to launch an attack on the Daisy spot. Correspondence related to Burch's formal written complaint regarding the Daisy spot can be seen on the Daisy Documents page.
Died on April 10, 1975.
BARRY M. GOLDWATER [Senator from Arizona; 1964 Republican nominee for the Presidency]The conservative icon was prone to "shoot-from-the-hip" statements that made him vulnerable in the general election contest with President Johnson. Goldwater was viewed early on by President Kennedy as being the most desirable opponent in his anticipated 1964 re-election effort. The senator's cavalier comments on nuclear weapons ("merely another weapon," etc.) in particular led to the creation of the Daisy spot and other nuclear-themed ads.
Died on May 29, 1998.
WILLIAM E. MILLER [Congressman from New York; 1964 Republican nominee for the Vice Presidency]Many years after the 1964 election, Miller traded on his obscurity by appearing in a famous American Express television advertisement with the tagline "Do You Know Me?" The ad was devised by the Oglivy & Mather agency in 1975.
Died on June 24, 1983.
NELSON A. ROCKEFELLER [Governor of New York; 1964 Republican primary opponent to Barry M. Goldwater]Rockefeller – not Lyndon Johnson – was the first candidate to attempt to tar Goldwater with his cavalier statements regarding nuclear weapons. Yet despite the costly mass mailing of a pamphlet entitled "Who Do You Want in the Room with the H Bomb," to all registered Republicans in the state of California, Rockefeller still lost this crucial primary to Goldwater.
Died on January 20, 1977.
CHARLES LICHTENSTEIN [Goldwater speechwriter and advertising manager]Lichtenstein readily admitted to author Kathleen Hall Jamieson ("Packaging the Presidency," 1984) that DDB was the superior advertising firm during the 1964 campaign.
Died in August of 2002.
DEAN BURCH [Chairman of the Republican National Committee]Burch helped run Barry Goldwater's primary campaign for the 1964 GOP nomination and was then installed as the Republican National Committee Chairman (RNC) chairman the same day the Arizona senator claimed his nomination at the San Francisco convention. Burch decried the Daisy spot during a September 11, 1964 Fair Campaign Practices Committee (FCPC) pledge signing ceremony with his Democratic counterpart, John M. Bailey. On September 12, 1964 Burch mailed a formal letter of complaint to the Chairman of the FCPC. This document can be viewed on the Daisy Documents page.
Died on August 4, 1991.
SENATOR EVERETT DIRKSEN [Republican Senator of Illinois]The minority leader fired off a formal letter of protest regarding the Daisy spot to National Association of Broadcasters Executive Vice President Vincent T. Wasilewski on September 12, 1964. This document can be viewed on the Daisy Documents page.
Died on September 7, 1969.
SENATOR THRUSTON B. MORTON [Republican Senator of Kentucky]Morton, a moderate (but highly partisan) Republican, took to the floor of the senate to denounce the Democratic advertising campaign as "slime." He read descriptions of two of the ads (Daisy and Little Girl, Ice Cream) into the Congressional Record.
Died on August 14, 1982
DONALD C. BRUCE [Republican Congressman of Indiana]Bruce, one of the founders of the American Conservative Union, spoke out against the Daisy and Ice Cream ads at a Republican Ward dinner on September 21, 1964. He suggested that the spots aided Soviet political goals by "repeating as fact a Communist-sponsored lie which for years has been Kremlin-directed propaganda aimed at neutralizing the American will to resist the Communist program for world conquest by promoting fear of 'the bomb.'
Died on August 31, 1969.
JOHN J. RHODES [Republican Congressman of Arizona]On September 12th Rhodes accused the Daisy commercial of "callously playing on the fears of the American people by deliberately trying to picture Sen. Barry Goldwater as a man who would get this country into a nuclear war. The television spot paid for by the Democratic National Committee with the obvious approval of President Johnson was deliberately and viciously designed to scare the nation into a vote wave of hysteria."
Died on August 24, 2003.
ROBERT E. SMYLIE [Republican Governor of Idaho]Governor Smylie, who was also the Chairman of the Republican Governors Association, made a public demand that the Federal Communication Commission bar the commercial from being rebroadcast.
Died on July 13, 2004.
DOYLE DANE BERNBACH (DDB) (Including DDB Contractors)
WILLIAM BERNBACH [Co-founder of DDB]Bernbach was the creative force in the triumvirate of partners (see also Ned Doyle and Maxwell Dane] who co-founded the advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach in 1949. Bernbach was the person responsible for recruiting the Democrats-only talent from DDB's staff to work on the Johnson campaign. Bernbach's name can be seen on many of the DDB memos included on the Daisy Documents page.
Died on October 2, 1982.
MAXWELL DANE [Co-founder of DDB]Dane was the DDB partner responsible for administrative and financial matters of the agency. It was Dane who signed the 1964 campaign account contract on March 19, 1964 (Richard Maguire signed for the DNC). Dane was among those singled out in an early iteration of the Nixon "Enemies List." The DNC-DDB contract, various other DDB memos and the Nixon "Enemies" memo can all be seen on the Daisy Documents page.
Died on August 8, 2004.
NED DOYLE [Co-founder of DDB]Doyle was an attorney by training and handled the recruitment of clients to the agency. Doyle's name can be seen on many of the DDB memos included on the Daisy Documents page.
Died on March 5, 1989.
JAMES H. GRAHAM [DDB Johnson Campaign Account Executive]Graham was the account executive in charge of the Johnson project. He was essentially a manager and a liaison between DDB and the campaign seniors. In an interview with CONELRAD, Gene Case, who worked on the campaign as a copywriter, called Graham a "misfit" and added that Graham had tried to have him fired (Case stated that William Bernbach vetoed the action). Graham's name can be seen on many of the DDB memos included on the Daisy Documents page.
Died on April 28, 2006.
ANN M. BARTON [DDB, Secretary to Account Executive James H. Graham]Ms. Barton worked with James H. Graham and others assigned to the 1964 Johnson campaign unit. In November of 2000 she posed a remarkably insightful question to the New Yorker magazine's legendary fact checking department in response to yet another article that cited Tony Schwartz as the creator of the Daisy spot ("Annals of Marketing: The Word Lab," the New Yorker, October 20, 2000 by Nicholas Lemann). Ms. Barton wrote a letter to the magazine pointing out the existence of a feature ("When the Client is a Candidate," New York Times magazine, October 25, 1964 by Pete Hamill) about the 1964 political advertising effort that is notable for its lacking a single mention of Mr. Schwartz. Ms. Barton goes on to ask why Mr. Schwartz didn't challenge his exclusion from this prominent article on the campaign. Ms. Barton's letter and Mr. Lemann's response to her can be seen on the Daisy Documents page.
Ms. Barton is a Library Assistant at Texas Woman's University in Denton, Texas.
SIDNEY MYERS [DDB Senior Art Director]Myers was the art director of the Daisy spot. He is credited as such in the 1965 Distinctive Merit Award citation issued by the Art Directors Club. Myers stated in his interview with CONELRAD that it was he and the DDB creative team who conceptualized the Daisy spot, not Tony Schwartz. Myers was partnered with copywriter Stanley R. Lee for the duration of the Johnson campaign assignment. Myers' name can be seen on many of the DDB memos included on the Daisy Documents page.
Mr. Myers is retired.
STANLEY R. LEE [DDB Senior Copywriter]Lee was the copywriter for the Daisy spot. He is credited as such in the 1965 Distinctive Merit Award citation issued by the Art Directors Club. Lee was partnered with art director Sidney Myers for the Johnson campaign assignment. Lee's name can be seen on many of the DDB memos included on the Daisy Documents page.
Died on July 15, 1997
AARON EHRLICH [DDB Television Producer]Ehrlich was the producer of the Daisy spot. He is credited as such in the 1965 Distinctive Merit Award citation issued by the Art Directors Club. Ehrlich was responsible for bringing sound man Tony Schwartz in as a contractor to work on between seven and eight campaign ads including the Daisy spot. Ehrlich claimed in later correspondence to Schwartz that he "cast, directed, produced and edited" the commercial. For documents referred to in this entry, please see the Daisy Documents page.
Died on October 6, 2004.
TONY SCHWARTZ [Contractor to DDB]Schwartz has claimed that he conceived the audio and visual components of the Daisy spot. While Schwartz is not formally credited with respect to the ad, he is acknowledged by the DDB creative team for providing the soundtrack to the commercial. CONELRAD's research and the available evidence indicate that Schwartz provided DDB with the audio blueprint (child counting down juxtaposed with adult countdown and concluded with nuclear explosion) for the spot. CONELRAD could not find concrete evidence to support Schwartz's claims that he provided the visual and editing suggestions used in the production of the spot.
On June 16, 2008, the New York Times reported that Mr. Schwartz had passed away at his Manhattan home on the previous Saturday (June 14, 2008).
DRUMMOND DRURY [Elliot Unger Elliot contractor for DDB / Cameraman for 'Daisy' spot shoot]Drury, a native of the United Kingdom, filmed the Daisy spot and he is credited as having done so in the 1965 Distinctive Merit Award citation issued by the Art Directors Club. Drury's other notable atomic film credit is 1951's DUCK AND COVER.
Died January 24, 1989
GENE CASE [DDB Copywriter]Case worked on the 1964 Johnson campaign and claimed in an interview with CONELRAD to have conceived the slogan "Vote for President Johnson on November 3rd. The stakes are too high for you to stay at home." Sid Myers stated in his interview with CONELRAD that this line was written by Stanley R. Lee. Case's name can be seen on many of the DDB memos included on the Daisy Documents page.
Gene Case founded and runs the progressive advocacy advertising firm Avenging Angeles.
DOROTHY PARISI [DDB Vice President]Parisi was present at the DDB-DNC orientation meeting held March 26, 1964. The memo related to this "kick-off" meeting can be seen on the Daisy Documents page.
CONELRAD was unsuccessful in its attempts to locate Ms. Parisi.
AL PETCAVAGE [DDB Media Director]Petcavage was present at the DDB-DNC orientation meeting held March 26, 1964. The memo related to this "kick-off" meeting can be seen on the Daisy Documents page.
CONELRAD was unsuccessful in its attempts to locate Mr. Petcavage.
LEONARD "LEE" J. TREDANARI [DDB Television Producer]Tredanari was a television director for President Kennedy's presidential campaign and such programs as Edward R. Murrow's "Person to Person" and "Voice of Firestone." He was a member of the DDB Johnson campaign unit and is included on some of the memos that are included on the Daisy Documents page. Tredanari, who was also a winemaker, sculptor and singer, was a Vice President at DDB from 1965 to 1972.
Died on June 14, 2003.
LESTER BLUMENTHAL [DDB New York Account Supervisor]Blumenthal was present at the DDB-DNC orientation meeting held March 26, 1964. The memo related to this "kick-off" meeting can be seen on the Daisy Documents page.
CONELRAD was unsuccessful in its attempts to locate Mr. Blumenthal.
GEORGE B. ABRAHAM [DDB Washington Account Supervisor]Abraham was present at the DDB-DNC orientation meeting held March 26, 1964. The memo related to this "kick-off" meeting can be seen on the Daisy Documents page.
CONELRAD was unsuccessful in its attempts to locate Mr. Abraham.
BIRGITTE OLSEN [Daisy Girl / Star]The 4-year-old child model / actress chosen by DDB Art Director Sid Myers to star in "Peace, Little Girl" (aka "The Daisy spot.").
Please also see Bill Geerhart's interview with Ms. Olsen.
ROBERT DRYDEN ["Missile" Countdown Voiceover]Dryden was a prolific radio and television voiceover actor chosen by Tony Schwartz to perform the missile countdown portion of the Daisy spot soundtrack. Dryden was also a character actor in television and film.
Died on December 16, 2003.
KARL A. WEBER ["Vote" Tag Announcer]Weber, according to Doyle Dane Bernbach records, was the voiceover talent for the "hard sell" ad copy "tag" that concluded most of the 1964 Johnson campaign ads (including the Daisy spot): "Vote for President Johnson on November 3rd. The stakes are too high for you to stay home." Weber was an accomplished radio, television and stage actor who later became president of the Screen Actors Guild (1968-1969).
Died on July 30, 1990.
PETE HAMILL [New York Times magazine contributor]Probably the first journalist to inquire directly about the authorship of the Daisy spot in his article "When the Client is a Candidate" for the October 25, 1964 edition of the New York Times magazine. Hamill's latest novel, "North River," was released in June of 2007.
JERRY G. LANDAUER [Wall Street Journal reporter]Author of an extremely detailed article ("Democrat Drumfire: Publicists Seek to Tie Barry to 'Extremists,' Show Cool, Busy LBJ") on White House campaign / advertising strategy published more than a week before the Daisy spot aired.
Died on February 28, 1981.
WALTER PINCUS [Washington Post reporter]Potentially the first journalist to assign sole authorship of the Daisy spot to Tony Schwartz ("O'Brien and Aides Spark Party Hunt for Men, Funds," September 29, 1968).
Pincus continues to write for the Washington Post.
JONATHAN SCHWARTZ [Nephew of Tony Schwartz]Schwartz provided his youthful voice to Tony Schwartz's pre-Daisy spot "counting" commercials that led to the audio blueprint for the Daisy commercial. These spots can be heard on the Daisy Audio page.
Schwartz now runs a successful finance company.
MONICA STUART [Birgitte Olsen's agent]Stuart, then of the Schuller Agency, helped Birgitte Olsen land the iconic role of the Daisy Girl. Stuart would later represent child star Linda Blair and help her win the role of Regan in THE EXORCIST.
CONELRAD was unsuccessful in its attempts to locate Ms. Stuart.
FRANCOIS TRUFFAUT [Film Director]Legendary French film director whose 1959 film THE 400 BLOWS inspired Sid Myers in a crucial editing decision for the Daisy spot.
Died October 21, 1984.
W.H. (Wystan Hugo) AUDEN [Poet]A line ("We must love one another or die") from the English-born poet's "September 1, 1939" poem is paraphrased by President Johnson in the Daisy spot soundtrack.
Died on September 29, 1973.
CHARLES P. TAFT [Chairman, Fair Campaign Practices Committee]Taft, a former mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio, founded the non-partisan Fair Campaign Practices Committee (FCPC). It was at a September 11, 1964 "fairness pledge" signing ceremony sponsored by the FCPC that RNC Chairman Dean Burch launched an attack on the Daisy spot. Taft is addressed in Burch's formal complaint to the FCPC regarding the Daisy spot. This complaint letter can be seen on the Daisy Documents page.
Died on June 24, 1983.
VINCENT T. WASILEWSKI [Executive Vice President, National Association of Broadcasters]Wasilewski was the recipient of Senator Everett Dirksen's formal complaint regarding the Daisy spot. This document can be seen on the Daisy Documents page.
Died September 9, 1999.
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