The Tories are on a different planet

Ken Livingstone’s campaign have released a new poster which accuses Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party colleagues George Osborne and David Cameron as being blue aliens from another planet.

The aim of the poster is to link Boris Johnson’s policies in London with those of the government.  This is a sensible strategy, as recent polls have shown that the national party’s actions seem to be having an impact on voter intention in the capital.

I don’t love this poster.

The headline and visuals are neither funny, clever or particularly cutting for an attack poster.  It just feels a bit flat.

If the message you want to convey is “These Tories are a bunch of posh boys and they don’t know what real life is like”, why not say that in the most punchy or amusing way you can?

This feels more like Labour are blowing a raspberry rather than giving a sucker punch.

UPDATE *** Here’s the high resolution version that ran in today’s Metro

Mitt Romney Versus Reality: Global Edition

Team Obama have released a rebuttal video focusing on international affairs.

This approach, where Romney’s attacks on the President are spliced with footage of Obama contradicting him, has been deployed a few times already in this campaign.  It’s an effective mechanic for lampooning Romney.  It makes the Republican candidate seem at best ill-informed and at worst a liar.

This video culminates in a very emotive speech defending American values.  This is a lovely touch.

Most effective pieces of communication use a combination of ‘desire’ and ‘permission’.  The early part of this video – the factual rebuttal – are all about giving people the logical permission to endorse Obama.  And the last 30 seconds deliver the desire beautifully.

Very nice.

Cool doesn’t cut it

Campaign group American Crossroads have released a video which acknowledges that Obama is thought to be pretty cool, but then goes on to highlight issues some of the perceived problems with his presidency.

This ‘biggest celebrity in the world‘ was a fruitful line of attack for McCain in the last Presidential election.  Except this time, Obama’s critics have got a powerful ‘reason to believe’ in the fact that the economy hasn’t bounced back.  Expect to see many more ads in this vein.

The Coalition of Equal Marriage – Homecoming

The Coalition For Equal Marriage have produced a video to promote changing laws around same sex marriage.

The short film shows British forces returning home to greet their loved ones, with the reunion of one male soldier and his male partner soon turning into a surprise marriage proposal.

The video highlights that people have the right to serve in British military regardless of sexuality, but are not currently able to celebrate their love and commitment with civil marriage.

The video is nicely put together and, whilst it’s on the cheesy side of things, seems to have got a decent amount of traction after only a couple of days.  Supporters are encouraged to use the hashtag #equalmarriage.

BETC London – We also move products

BETC London, the creative agency behind Ken Livingstone’s infamous party election broadcast, have released an advert for their agency in this week’s advertising trade press.  The ad features Ken crying and carries the end line “we also move products”.

Very good indeed.

Ken Livingstone was moved to tears at the launch of the broadcast created by BETC, saying: “It’s an appalling responsibility… the people you saw on the screen represent hundreds of thousands of Londoners who desperately want a mayor who is going to make their life easier in this city.”

The ad is perhaps to draw a line under some of the mainstream media and Westminster Villages’ (over) reaction to the broadcast and remind any clients reading the trade press that BETC is a very capable creative agency.

Cancer Research – The Answer is Plain

Cancer Research have released a new video calling for signatures to a petition that seeks to remove branding from cigarette packaging.

The ad shows a group of 10-year-old children discussing cigarette boxes, to illustrate how young people are affected by the different colours and designs.

The film concludes with the thought: “Unbranding cigarette packs won’t stop everyone from smoking, but it will give millions of kids one less reason to start”.

I can’t comment neutrally, as this was made by my agency, but I found it incredibly impactful.  It’s a clever advertising idea, based on solid research that suggests cigarette packaging is attractive to young people.

By using children as the creative vehicle, it enables adults who “know better than to fall for some pretty colours on a cardboard box” to support the campaign, as they can feel they’re acting for kids who they perceive to be more vulnerable to brands than themselves.

Boris Johnson: The NightMayor

Finally!  A decent piece of video content for one of the candidates for London Mayor (although Paddick’s official campaign claim to have had nothing to do with it).

The NightMayor attacks Boris Johnson for his percieved absence during the 2011 London Riots and his purported culprability for issues surrounding News of The World links with the Metropolitcan Police.

The film concludes with a piece of positive messaging around Brian Paddick, the Liberal Democrat candidate, and leaves viewers with the damning end line “jokes aren’t funny the second time around”.

The video carries a simply and effective narrative by professionally putting together  existing footage of both Boris Johnson and the Lib Dem candidate.  Yes, the ‘movie-trailer-as-political-ad’ has been done to death, but if it’s done well it can be very impactful.

Whoever’s pulled this together has obviously had some experience in production and, my word, doesn’t it show.  Paddick’s campaign is having a strong back straight!