Ivan Massow is hoping to become the Conservative Party’s candidate for London Mayor.
His campaign are running paid-for ads on social media sites that push users to YouTube where they can watch an animated campaign video in the style of artist Julian Opie, the bloke who did that Blur album cover (Massow is an art collector so it wouldn’t be unreasonable to wonder if the video is by Opie himself).
In the film Massow is positioned as a political outsider. The video, narrated by Massow, informs viewers that the candidate is gay, a former alcoholic and dyslexic. This candid approach feels very unexpected and the viewer immediately feels a warmth to him. Massow goes on to attest to being a candidate who understands normal peoples’ lives, takes the tube, hates traffic and gets fed up with the governing elite.
His position is clearly articulated, it’s differentiating and the production values are good. No mention of the political party which he is hoping to represent, however.
The viewer, having been intrigued by the refreshing tone of the video and the lack of political affiliation, when invited to click through at the end of the video, will likely go and have a look at his website. On the homepage, there is no mention of his political party.
The viewer, probably now a little suspicious searches online for something like “who is Ivan Massow” at which point they are met with a raft of articles by the mainstream media that confirm he is indeed a Conservative and which call into significant question a huge number of the things that Ivan has just told them in his film. For example:
He’s a millionaire businessman – does he really “understand the issues that normal people face”?
He lives in a town house in Oxford Circus – is he honestly “someone who takes the tube”?
He used to share a home with Michael Gove and Nick Boles, both prominent Ministers in the Conservative government – can he possibly “hate politics as normal”?
The viewer is left feeling like they’ve been led on a merry dance and that Massow is guilty of the exact sort of inauthentic bullshit that he claims to be standing against.
I’m sure Massow is very different to what most people perceive as a ‘typical Tory’ and in that sense he is entirely justified in positioning himself as an outsider. But his team trying to hide from people the fact that he is standing for the Conservatives is just ridiculous and ultimately self-defeating as the intrigue will lead voters to finding out about other things they’re trying to keep quiet.