Last Friday (2nd Jan), the Conservative Party released their first poster of their general election 2015.
The poster features a road that begins in the foreground of the image and runs into the horizon through a green and lush British countryside landscape. The ad carries the headline “Let’s stay on the road to a stronger economy”. The body copy features substantiation to the claim that the economy is improving, including the phrase ‘the deficit halved'; a statement which many in the media claim is a ‘porkie’.
I give the Conservatives credit for the fact that their first poster of the campaign is one which positively states their case for their re-election. That always feels like the appropriate thing for an incumbent to do, as opposed to beginning with an attack on the opposition.
This sort of enthusiastic communication will do a good job of reassuring voters who are already leaning towards voting Tory in May that they are doing the right thing.
However, it must be said, that this is a fairly dull piece of advertising. There is a little in the way of interest or reward for the viewer. Instead of trying to charm the electorate with wit or intelligence the party have tried to avoid risk and deliver a straight message.
The fact that this poster, which is unlikely to gain a huge amount of traction positively as it is so boring, is getting so much negatively publicity (around the deficit claim) will be very frustrating for the Conservative leadership.
Perhaps the middle of road isn’t always the safest place to be.
The #torybingo Twitter storm continues today, having dominated discussion around yesterday’s budget from around 9pm last night. Activists with image manipulation skills are now adding further fuel to the piss-taking by producing their own related imagery.
There is a tumblr account logging many of the posts and countless more plastered across social networks.
The three above are my personal favourites. One is a pastiche of the original poster but instead carries the headline “Get pissed, proles. You might as well, your zero hour contracts give you plenty of spare time”. Another shows David Cameron’s coalition cabinet as a bingo arena. And the final one is a parody of a poster from John Major’s Conservative Party leadership which appealed to working class voters.
The Conservative Party today released an advert drawing attention to changes to beer and bingo taxes in the Budget.
The advert features a big gaudy headline of ‘Bingo’ and celebrates the 1p cut in beer duty and the halving of bingo duty to 10% with the subhead “to help hardworking people do more of the things they enjoy”.
I mean, yeah, it’s quite condescending.
Ok, ok, it’s pretty much the most patronising, ill-conceived and embarrassing political advert I’ve ever seen.
Unsurprisingly, #torybingo took off on Twitter and has been trending nationally for some time now.
@RedAndy54: Shoot badgers for fun, 21 #torybingo
@minigong: Full of hate, 38 #torybingo
@ed_son: House. And another house. And another. And another with a moat. #torybingo
Any Tory with half a brain and a sprinkling of self-awareness would have realised this was a nightmarish, terrible and suicidal idea. I simply can’t believe it was run.
Advertising industry trade magazine Campaign has today run a feature on the history of the most famous piece of political advertising in British history – Saatchi & Saatchi’s Labour Isn’t Working (1978) for the Conservative Party.
Included in the article are the following nuggets:
1. The poster was picked out from a selection of roughs by Gordon Reece, Thatcher’s election strategist.
2. The people in the queue are not genuine unemployed people, but are in fact members of Hendon Young Conservatives.
3. Martin Walsh photographed the same people over and over again, rather than a single long line, due to the shortage of volunteers for the shoot.
Here’s a high res version of the original poster:
The Conservative Party released some content in advance of today’s Autumn Statement. They have played a straight bat and obviously wanted all the chatter and news to be around the statement rather than the supporting social media materials.
However, from these images you get a sense of the key messages that the Tories will be pushing come election time: 1) We’ve cut the deficit 2) We’ve done it whilst maintaining investment in important parts of the economy.
The Conservative Party this morning released a new website and accompanying twitter hash tag #sharethefacts.
The Tory’s stated aim for the website is to:
“help us fight back by rebutting Labour’s claims, sharing what we’re doing for hardworking people, and letting everyone know the damage a Labour government would do to Britain.”
The site is optimised nicely for mobile and it enables people to easily share on social networks bite-size chunks of Conservative Party policy, rebuttal or attack.
As is almost customary these days, the hash tag has been adopted by piss-takers, deriders, opponents, wind-up merchants, jokers, bantermen, comedians and naysayers and it has gone viral and is trending across Britain.
A small sample of the tweets that force the freshly-made, delicious, social media campaign cake that the Tory’s baked for us today back into the faces of the Conservative high command are available below.
Since Party Conference season the battle lines for the 2015 general election are becoming increasingly clear.
The Conservative Party will point to the fact that Britain now has the fastest growing economy in Europe, is cutting the deficit and has made home-ownership a realistic possibility for significant portions of the country.
Ed Miliband’s Labour Party will claim that it is an economic recovery for the few and not the many, that there is a cost-of-living crisis and that the answer is state intervention where markets have got out of control.
I have taken a quick look back into recent political history and found some Conservative Party posters that I can foresee David Cameron adapting for his own use – see below. If anyone can recall posters that are similar to Miliband’s position I would be very interested to see them, as my research has hit a brick wall.