Monthly Archives: September 2009

Charles Saatchi: Brown is like All-Bran


In his new book, ‘My name is Charles Saatchi and I’m an artoholic, marketing guru Saatchi damns today’s “dim, unsubtle and charmless” political advertising.  He disparagingly compares Gordon Brown to Kellogg’s All-Bran because “you know exactly what you are going to get”. 

It’s a sign of Labour’s dark times that when I first read the quote I thought, ‘now that’s actually not a bad thought…’

Green Party Posters – Labour is old news




A fantastic new billboard campaign for The Green Party by Glue London.  The campaign reminds Brighton constituents and visiting Labour Party activists about the Green Party’s recent victory over Labour in the EU Parliamentary elections.

The use of collaged newspaper to create images of Labour’s big beasts and the headline copy of ‘Labour is old news’ is very smart and beautifully executed.

Confusing Irish anti-EU campaign

The debate around the Lisbon treaty is hotting up once again in Ireland and the ‘NO’ campaign have opted for this striking populist style for their campaign. 
Whilst it may be striking, it is also very confused and confusing.  The pink heart graphic tends to stimulate a positive emotion from people.  Once one has opted for this illustrative style you’re left with two choices with the headline copy:
 1) A negative rug-pull
2) A sickly sweet tug on the heart strings.
This schizophrenic campaign tries to use option 1) in some executions, 2) in others, and sometimes both 1) and 2) in the same execution.  All this poster campaign will do is confuse an already complicated debate.
positive art direction with negative copy

positive art direction with negative copy

positive art direction with positive message

positive art direction with positive message

positive art direction with negative copy

positive art direction with negative copy

Lib Dem’s campaign against re-touching

Campaign for real women

The Lib Dems have launched a new campaign against advertising agencies retouching their adverts.  They want the Advertising Standards Authority to insist that adverts carry cigarette-style health warning along the lines of “WARNING: THIS ADVERT FEATURES A RETOUCHED MODEL”.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat MP, Jo Swinson, who chairs the party’s working group on women’s policy, said:

“Adverts that feature heavily retouched images of perfect skin, perfect hair and perfect figures mean that women and girls increasingly feel that nothing less than perfect will do.  Advertisers should be honest and upfront about the extent of airbrushing that goes on.”

Looking at the dodgy, cheap campaign materials that the Lib Dems have put out (see above) I think creative agencies will take a bit more convincing…

Conservative Party to advertise on Spotify

Conservatives party on spotify

The Conservative Party are going to be using the new social media music phenomenon ‘Spotify’ to advertise in next year’s general election.

The reason why this is so exciting is that Spotify can target adverts at their database of users based on: age, gender and most importantly postcode location. 

So, for example, if the Tories had research which showed that  young women, living in a particular area, in a particular marginal constituency, were particularly receptive to messaging around crime – the Conservative machine would be able to serve up adverts that outlined their plans for the area with regards to law and order.

This sort of targeting is the utopia for any political campaign.  And, as an added bonus, online advertising is virtually unregulated, quick to produce, easy to adapt and very cheap.

Spotify, which has 2.7 million users and has just been released as an application on the iPhone, provides users with free, instant and legal music from a massive library of songs.  Every hour of music listened to, requires users to sit through roughly 3 minutes of adverts. 

Whilst they don’t have a huge number of users, they’re currently growing by about 10, 000 every day and come general election time (given the speed of growth of other popular social media platforms) it would be unsurprising if they had 10 million users.

If I was planning a general election campaign, I’d be on the phone to Spotify tomorrow morning.

Voicebox by Vinspired


party political broadcasts are so boring

Vinspired, an organisation which tries to get more people volunteering, have launched a new project, called Voicebot.  Voicebot aims to create a direct channel between young people and MPs. 16-25 year olds are being asked to submit 160 characters on what they care about and the best submissions will then be physically written out by a robot inside Parliament in October.

Once you’ve submitted your 160 character message, the robot draws it and then sends you a photo of your actual message.  You can click through to their flickr site where you can view all the other messages that have been uploaded.

Above are screen shots from the website (which is sooooo slick) and the jpeg they sent me of my message.  What a very, very cool and technically ground breaking campaign. 

The next stage of getting MPs to engage in a meaningful way with the messages will, ridiculously, be the more complicated bit…

Could you be blue?

open primary bedford

This is the sort of communications political parties up and down the country need to be doing more of.  By opening up political processes through clear, clean and engaging communications people will begin to trust the people governing the country. 

Most people have no idea how they can get involved in shaping their local communities, and whether or not you agree with open primaries, political parties have an obligation – that is too often shirked – to open up the process.