Monthly Archives: March 2010

Labour Party Poster Competition

The Labour Party’s ‘create our next ad’ competition has now closed.  The winner is to be revealed on the weekend, but they have posted a few of their favourites on their homepage for now.

There were over 1000 entries and it seems like the quality is very high.  I’m quite chuffed that they are featuring one of my submissions (above) as one of their favourites.  I’m not sure that it’s strategically very strong and I wish I had time to shoot some shoes as oppose to grabbing what I could find online. 

The hypocrisy of someone called Benedict who works in advertising accusing someone else of having had a privileged upbringing also can’t go without apology.

I’ll post the winner along with the rest of my scamps next week.

Political advertising luminaries back in the fray

Philip Gould, Lord Bell and Trevor Beattie

Rumours are rife that 3 political advertising luminaries of elections past have been drafted back into the front line. 

At a recent Labour Party fundraiser Alastair Campbell was reportedly dropping Blair’s former adman Beattie’s name in at regular intervals and discussing ideas the two were working on. 

At an event held by the IPA last night, Lord Bell (involved in the infamous Labour isn’t working) was ‘outed’ as being back in the political advertising game.  Bell let on that David Abbott – one of the greatest copywriters of all time - had recently written him a poster around the thought “the economy is Brown bread”.  Very good.

And Philip Gould – a founder of New Labour and author of political communication bible The Unfinished Revolution - is featured on the Labour Party’s new create an ad website (and is presumably helping to judge the winner) offering tips on creating a good political poster: “Keep the message simple; use strong images; try to weave in humour wherever possible” .  Couldn’t agree more.

As the result of the election gets ever more uncertain it seems the parties have called upon the communications experts who have served them so well in the past.  With these guys on board, I’m sure there will be advertising fireworks to come!

The Labour Party’s 2010 General Election Pledge Card

The Labour Party launched their 2010 pledge card over the weekend.  This is something that Blair used with great effect in 1997, 2001 and 2005.  The image is stock-looking, which always riles me, but nonetheless is hopefull and optimistic in look and feel.  It’s always difficult for incumbent governments to go for a route other than to stoke up fear around the opposition, so the Labour Party must recieve credit for putting out an aspirational and positive piece of communication when they could easily have opted for negativity and alarm.

Labour Party Poster Competition

Saatchi&Saatchi's example to inspire wanna-be ad makers

Labour has called on its online supporters to lend their creative talents to designing the party’s next campaign poster.  Campaign chiefs have booked digital poster boards next weekend in London and Manchester that will carry the artwork.  Users can upload their poster on the Labour Party site, although it doesn’t state how the winner will be chosen.

Labour have obviously taken heart from the repeated ridicule that has met the Tories’ advertising efforts and decided to put their faith on their supporters skill and wit.  Many brands have put their advertising into the hands of consumers, Doritos are currently running a masterclass in how to do so with their King of Ads competition, but this is the first time a political party has tried to harness the power of the crowd for a poster campaign.

Saatchi & Saatchi, Labour’s ad agency, have provided their supporters with two different briefs to highlight the sort of material they are looking for: 1) Labour’s pledge to protect frontline services and 2) David Cameron’s lack of substance.  The ad agency’s attempt at inspiration is above.

Conservative Poster – 80,000 Criminals Out Early and others

A new poster for the Conservative Party attacks Gordon Brown’s record on law and order.  It suggests that 80, 000 criminals have been released early under Labour.  It’s fairly blunt accusation; no word play, no insinuation, just an upfront allegation.  Fairly uninspiring, but gets the message across.

*** Update*** Just been sent the rest of the posters in this campaign.  Taken as a whole, this is a fairly fierce attack on Gordon’s record.  Undoubtedly the work of M&C Saatchi, whose advertising philosophy is ‘brutal simplicity’. 

Castrate Labour – get Balls out

Above is a screen grab from a very good new video for Antony Calvert.  Calvert is the Conservative Party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Morley and Outwood and he’s standing against the incumbent Ed Balls MP.  The video attacks the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families and calls for donations to help him reverse Balls’ significant majority.  The video is running as online display advertising and users can click through to donate.   It’s very nicely put together and I’m sure Calvert will be reaping the financial rewards for the effort.

Two admen have created a new grass-roots communications project called Powerpoint for - screen grab above – is their first offering.  It features a tiled photo of George Osborne looking pensive, users are invited to email suggestions to what he might be thinking / saying / doing.  I really like the ‘low-fi’ style of the website and the simplicity of the attack makes it all the more brutal.  Looking forward to seeing more of their work!

M & C Saatchi v.s. Saatchi & Saatchi

The Conservative Party have drafted in their former creative advertising agency, M&C Saatchi, to work on their campaign in the months coming up to the general election.  Labour’s creative agency is Saatchi&Saatchi and so Maurice and Charles new shop is now taking on the agency, that ousted them as founding partners 15 years ago, in the biggest communication battleground of all.  What an interesting sub-plot to what is already shaping up to be the most exciting general election for over a decade.

In related news Claire Beale, editor of Campaign Magazine, has written this week that

“Recent political advertising has failed to nail a winning – or even a clear – strategy for any of the main parties.  Communications have been confusing at best, incoherent at worst… by embracing consumers as advocates, the parties are failing to score their core messages.”

I can’t help but agree.  With just over a month to go until polling day, let’s hope the various Saatchi’s raise the bar.

Cash Gordon

The Conservative Party have created a new website called Cash Gordon.  The website tries to highlight the money that Unite have given to the Labour Party and attempts to paint Charlie Whelan as an evil master of puppets.  There’s a gaming element to the site where points are awarded to supporters who make the most number ‘actions’.  ‘Actions’ include writing a tweet to Charlie Whelan, inviting friends to join in and donating money to the Conservative Party.

The site looks relatively shiny and uses Facebook Connect in order to try and make the content as shareable and social as possible.   The user-journey isn’t fantastically smooth and the content is very text heavy.  I also think they could do a better job of explaining what exactly it is they want people to do, how you accumulate points and what prizes are on offer for the top campaigners. 

Making a game which rewards both individual and group behaviour using Facebook Connect is a good idea (and one which many brands have used) but the execution here is slightly lacking. These sites take a while to build and are relatively expensive and I’m just not sure Charlie Whelan as an agenda is salient with enough people to warrant the investment.