Interview with Sam Delaney on ‘Mad Men and Bad Men: What Happened when British Politics met Advertising’

This is a fairly historic post on as it is my first vlog.  Oh yes.

I recently read an article about how a generation of YouTubers are making megabucks from posting fairly banal films on the platform, so I thought I’d try and get in on the action.

It features an interview with Sam Delaney on his new book ‘Mad Men and Bad Men’.  I’ve reviewed the book here, but hopefully this video gives you more depth and texture as to the contents of the book.

As you’ll see from the above, Sam is a really interesting, engaging guy with lots of funny stories and the book is littered with amusing anecdotes, so I would really recommend giving it a go.

“Dark Money” influences US Senate elections


A new report has been published on the extensive involvement of outside groups on influencing elections in the USA, many of which are funded by “dark money” (non-disclosure of donors).

The report by USA-based academics Erika Franklin Fowler and Travis Ridout points out that in many of the most competitive Senate races advertising funded by outside groups surpassed the parties—and sometimes even the candidates—as the primary sponsors of political advertising.

The document outlines the fairly extreme lengths groups go to in order to avoid having to give detail about who their financiers are; for example, concentrating their spending outside the windows where legislation would require detailed reporting.

Across House, Senate and Gubernatorial races in 2014, 35.4 percent of ad spending came from groups that do not disclose revenue sources and another 6.4 percent of spending then came from groups that only partially disclose their funders.

There are fairly raises serious question marks around the democratic legitimacy of such groups and there’s no suggestion that their influence is going to decrease.

Review: Mad Men and Bad Men by Sam Delaney

Mad Men and Bad Men Sam Delaney

Can you imagine how excited I would have been when I heard that a book on the strange relationship between British politics and advertising was to be published?  To put it lightly, I was fairly cheery about the whole thing.

I managed to persuade the author Sam Delaney to have a beer with me whilst he was writing it and what became clear was that he had managed to secure interviews with every major player in the recent history of British political advertising; from Jeremy Sinclair and Lord Bell to Chris Powell and Trevor Beattie.  My sense of anticipation about the book’s launch was duly increased even further.

So when I finally got my hands on a copy of the book, it’s safe to say my expectations were fairly high and I’m delighted to confirm that they were duly met and surpassed.

The book strikes the perfect balance between a fun, gossipy, behind-the-scenes account of the last 8 General Election campaigns and deep thinking on how elections are won and the role of political advertising in it.  There’s revealing anecdotes, bitchy asides and insightful commentary on how to market political parties and win elections.

It’s definitely the most interesting and easy to read account on the subject of political advertising that I’ve ever read.

If you need further convincing, you can read much more erudite reviews of the book in places like the New Statesmen, Telegraph and Financial Times, but I can promise you that if you’ve ever remotely enjoyed this blog, you will find Sam’s book an intensely enjoyable and interesting read.

You can buy the book here.

Should you feature your opponent’s leader in your attack ads?

Me getting defensive on the BBC Daily Politics
Me getting defensive on the BBC Daily Politics

I was kindly invited on to the BBC’s Daily Politics Show today to discuss negative political advertising and debate whether or not Labour are doing the right thing in deciding not to feature David Cameron in their campaign posters.

Here’s a link to the feature: