Interviews about 1976 campaign advertising with Bruce Wagner, Douglas Bailey, media advisers to President Ford, and with Tony Schwartz, a media consultant who later joined the Carter campaign.
0.1 linear feet (ca. 88 pages)
L. Patrick Devlin (accession number 92-041)
The Ford Library contracted the transcription of the Wagner and Schwartz interviews and staff edited the transcripts.
Mr. Devlin donated to the United States of America his copyrights in the unpublished contents of the interviews The interviewees presumably keep their copyrights. The Bailey interview appeared in The Central States Speech Journal which may hold the copyright.
Prepared by Nancy Mirshah, August 1992
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L. Patrick Devlin interviewed political media specialists while researching presidential campaign commercials. In April 1976, he spoke with Bruce Wagner of the President Ford Committee (PFC). He also interviewed Tony Schwartz, an experienced Democratic media specialist, who was unaffiliated with a candidate at the time. The interviews proved to be timely: Wagner resigned the day before his scheduled interview, and Tony Schwartz would later join the Carter campaign. Schwartz produced the last of Jimmy Carter's television ads before the election. Devlin interviewed Douglas Bailey of the President Ford Committee in January 1977, when he could question him about the effects of advertising on the election results.
Bruce Wagner directed operations from the start of Campaign '76, the President Ford Committee's in-house ad agency. He held the top full-time executive position, and reported to the part-time chairperson, Peter Dailey. Like many of the Campaign '76 staff, Wagner had temporarily left employment at a private ad agency. Wagner and Dailey resigned because of strong disagreement with the airing of "slice of life" ads in the California primary. In August, the President Ford Committee hired political consultants from Bailey, Deardourff and Eyre, Inc., a firm specializing in moderate Republican campaigns. Douglas Bailey and John Deardourff co-chaired Campaign '76 during the general election. Both met frequently with President Ford and PFC officials in strategy meetings. Deardourff also directed operations.
The interviews provide interesting information about campaign advertising that is not available in the extant President Ford Committee Campaign '76 files. Some topics discussed are strategic decision-making, Wagner's resignation, the Reagan campaign, the use of polls and pretesting, radio and television ads, negative advertising, and prior presidential campaigns. Schwartz explained how to analyze campaign problems, and Bailey discussed Schwartz's Carter ads. The interview questions and answers are sometimes rambling and spontaneous.
The collection contains edited transcripts of the Schwartz and Wagner interview audiotapes, and a published copy of the Bailey interview. The interview audiotapes are available in the Library's audio-visual department. In addition, Library staff added to the collection a paper by Devlin that resulted from the interviews. "Contrasts in Presidential Campaign Commercials of 1976" appeared in The Central States Speech Journal, Vol. 28, Winter 1977, No. 4.
The President Ford Committee's Campaign '76 files provide the Library's largest source of material related to campaign advertising. Additionally, scattered folders may be located using a PRESNET database search and the Library's "The 1976 Presidential Election: Guide to Manuscript Collections Available for Research." Researchers may view the campaign commercials in the Library's audio-visual department.
Interviews and Publications, 1976-77.
(Box 1, 0.1 linear foot)
Transcripts of interviews with Bruce Wagner, Douglas Bailey and Tony Schwartz. Topics include political advertising in the 1976 presidential campaigns, in prior campaigns, and in general. The Wagner interview includes the scripts of taped campaign commercials played during the interview. Included are the Ford "Accomplishment," "Future," and "Candid" ads, and the California primary "slice of life" ads. Also present is Devlin's article on campaign commercials which resulted from the interviews.
Box 1 - Interviews and Publications
- Bailey, Douglas Interview, 1/7/77
- Devlin, L. Patrick Article: "Contrasts in Presidential Campaign Commercials of 1976"
- Schwartz, Tony Interview, 6/1/76
- Wagner, Bruce Interview, 6/4/76