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‘It’s Morning in America …’ and the Dawn of Political Ads

It’s considered by many to be the most successful presidential ad campaign in history. It was also one of the first. “Prouder, Stronger, Better”—or as it’s commonly referred to, “It’s Morning in America Again”—was written and narrated by the late, great ad exec Hal Riney when he was part of the Tuesday Team, an independent all-star creative group that was formed for late President Ronald Reagan’s reelection campaign.

Riney, a master of television advertising, is known for bringing GM “A different kind of company, a different kind of car” and California Crocker National Bank a hit jingle performed by The Carpenters. He’s arguably most famous for not only writing the script for one of the most powerful political ads in U.S. history, but also using his own voice to narrate the commercial. Many have cited his confident, genial tone as representative of true American wholesomeness and authenticity.

It’s morning again in America again. Today, more men and women will go to work than ever before in our country’s history.

– Hal Riney, “It’s Morning In America Again”

The ad opens on a sunrise in a busy city and continues with a montage of Americans going to work played out under Riney’s calm, optimistic narration. The message of the ad: Americans had President Reagan’s policies to thank for improvements to the U.S. economy. Why would they want to return to the policies of Democrats like his opponent Walter Mondale, when the Reagan era was going so well?

Riney also wrote and narrated another of Reagan’s hugely-successful ads, “Bear in the woods” (titled “Bear”), and his “America’s Back” ad.

John Kennedy was my hero like so many of my generation. He was assassinated, God bless him, in Dallas and then Lyndon Baines Johnson came in and passed the civil rights legislation. When he ran for re-election against Senator Barry Goldwater…Johnson’s group produced the Daisy spot. And it only ran twice and it changed the culture of political advertising. I know for a fact.

– Roy Spence, Chairman, GSD&M (4A’s Interview 2017)