The greatest shift I see in campaign commercials over the years is the increased snarky tone, making the candidate look ridiculous.
The Bush 2004 ad against Kerry is hilarious, but compare it to Bush Sr.’s ad in 1988 against Dukakis (which merely states what Dukakis didn’t approve) and it becomes humorous and mean. Adding humor to an attack doesn’t make it more clever, or more poignant, it just makes it seem petty. Johnson’s 1964 “Merely Another Weapon” ad against Goldwater is just as critical on the candidate as Bush Sr. is on Dukakis or Bush on Kerry, but it is straight and to the point, without trying to be friendly at the same time. I respect that. I don’t respect, McCain’s 2008 commercial calling Obama “The One.” Well chosen quotes and video clips can be entertaining, but I don’t find it credible, mature, or presidential.