UKIP poster references sex-abuse victims in Rotherham

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UKIP are exploiting the trauma felt by victims of the Rotherham child sex abuse in a poster for the police commissioner election in South Yorkshire taking place in 2 days time.

The election was called following the resignation of the incumbent who has been held partially culpable (by some) for the failure to prevent 1,400 cases of sex abuse in Rotherham..

The posters, which will be displayed across South Yorkshire up until polling day, states that there are “1,400 reasons why you should not trust Labour again”.

As far as accusations in political posters go, this is as aggressive and uncompromising as they come.

As regular readers know, attack ads only work when the target audience ALREADY hold a point of view; if you’re trying to use an attack ad to seed an idea, it will backfire 99% of the time.

So, the UKIP campaign must be fairly confident that prospective supporters and undecided voters hold the Labour Party – not just the previous holder of the office – responsible for the crimes committed in Rotherham.

I would be incredibly surprised if that were the case and I suspect that this will be a classic case of an attack ad that misjudges the mood of the floating voter.

TUC demonstration 18th October – promotional poster

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The TUC have produced a brilliant retro-style poster promoting the March and rally being held in central London today to protest about wage inequality, the cost of living and earnings for the lease well off.

The poster evokes the trade union spirit that was portrayed in the recent movie box office hit Pride.

The visual language and copy is brilliantly righteous and compelling and gives the viewer a sense that the movement is on the side of the many.

It also presents the rally as something that will have a carnival, festival style atmosphere and not just another dry political event.

I’m not sure who produced it, but they could design my silk protest banner any day.

You can’t trust Nick Clegg

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The Labour Party have released a line of attack against the Lib Dems and their leader Nick Clegg which I suspect will run until polling day in May next year.

The ‘You Can’t Trust Nick Clegg’ line is a classic piece of political attack against any opponent who has broken promises and the effectiveness of its deployment is usual dependent on how blatantly the party / politician in question has gone against their word.  In this case, the slogan lands as heavily as a piano lobbed off a tall building.

Four-step guide to shedding the nasty party image

The Labour Party have released a new video which borrows various techniques from the US Democrat Rapid Response unit, including:

- recordings made secretly at the opposition’s events

- interviews of minor opposition politicians being off-message as evidence against the mainstream of the party

- splicing small snippets of an opposition leader’s speech and using it in another context

- cartoon-style illustrations and a musical score reminiscent of a slapstick comedy

The attack lines used are on point and well structured.  The borrowed content and visual effects work well together.  The voice over and audio mix, however, sounds cheaply done and impacts the production value disproportionately.

Nevertheless, as this one is likely aimed at motivating party activists (hence the donation request at the conclusion) it’s pretty good.  The viewer is left dumbfounded about how David Cameron seems to have changed almost nothing about the party he inherited from Michael Howard.

The Tories: for a privileged few

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The focus of the Labour Party’s communication activity has now pivoted from defence against UKIP to attack on the old foe that is the Conservative Party.

The lines of attack are now familiar and will become more so as we move ever closer towards polling day in May next year.

What is new is that Labour have created a brand logo for their attack. Creating a singular visual point of consistency which encapsulates the values of an organisation and lodges itself into the minds of an audience is hardly a new practice, but it’s fairly unusual to create one for an opponent.

It seems like a smart move to me and it will be interesting to see if it’s something that lasts beyond conference season.

Political Marketing in the USA

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A new book on political marketing, with a focus on the USA, edited by Jennifer Lees-Marshment, Brian Conley and Kenneth Cosgrave has been released.  It’s available to purchase here

The book first underlines the importance of marketing to almost every facet of politics before providing in depth analysis of practically every aspect, including: voter targeting, database management, social media practice, celebrity endorsement, fundraising, branding and advertising.

As well as codifying a vocabulary for discussing the discipline, the authors have also created a particularly useful matrix (featured above) which outlines all the political marketing activity that a campaign can and should undertake.

Many successful political operators have a good natural instinct for political marketing activity or through experience have picked up that many of the methods are crucial to success.  But I wonder how many political campaigns have a singular marketing chief who has these tasks written into their job description.

If I was running a political campaign, the authors’ political marketing matrix would be the ongoing basis for my ‘to do’ list and the blueprint for structuring my organisation.

UKIP: More Tory than the Tories

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The Labour Party’s line of attack against UKIP during their conference in Doncaster is “UKIP: more Tory than the Tories”.

The aim of the communications is to remind people in Labour’s heartlands who have a deep and visceral aversion to the Conservative Party that a flirtation with UKIP is tantamount to getting into bed with Margaret Thatcher.

These ads are aimed squarely at the working class in the midlands and north who might be tickled by Farage’s brand of anti-elitism and pub populism.

I’m not a fan of the strap line – it just reads like it’s been written by a Labour spokesperson. It’s void of humanity and is not the language of everyday speech.

The strategy, however, is sound enough.