Phil Dusenberry, retired chairman of BBDO North America, was a member of the Tuesday Team of ad pros that created President Reagan's 1984 re-election ads. He spoke last week about the client and the campaign.
The man: "One of the first times we met President Reagan was down at the White House. There we were, a bunch of guys from New York and Chicago and San Francisco.
He said, `I hear you guys are doing a campaign selling some soap. I thought you might like to meet the bar.' He put everybody at ease."
The message: "There was an expression, `Let Reagan be Reagan.' If you let him be himself and play to the emotional power that he had, you were way ahead of the game."
The landslide: "If a single commercial hadn't run, I still think he would have won. We didn't know at the time how far ahead we were. We wanted to give President Reagan every possible advantage. This is a one-day-only sale. You only get one day to make the sale."
The opportunity: "Political strategists are very good at strategizing. They're not good at creating great advertising, and yet they have somehow convinced themselves that they are. That's a mistake. If they were to create the strategy and then get some real pros to work it up, the advertising would be far better than the political advertising you see today. We proved this when we had the Tuesday Team. It was a clear demonstration that great creative work really shines through and is far better than the stuff being put together by the political hacks of the world."