Strong and stable leadership


Theresa May used the phrase “strong and stable leadership” three times in the speech she made announcing her intention to call an election on 18th April outside 10 Downing Street.

In the first week of the campaign, whilst that phrase certainly featured, it was usually accompanied by words which pointed to the threat posed to the Brexit process by a “coalition of chaos” comprised of the SNP, Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

Conservative GE2017 - Strong Stable vs Coalition Chaos

It seems that the research undertaken on the first week of the campaign is showing that the public aren’t buying the threat posed by May’s principal opponents and so the Conservatives have simplified their pitch and focused it purely on the prowess of the Prime Minister’s leadership skills.

“Strong and stable leadership” is a pithy promise and a nice take on the classic incumbent campaign of “it’s not time for change”.

Theresa May clearly agrees, or is at the very least utterly convinced by the research, as she has been dutifully repeating it at every opportunity – a fact that hasn’t escaped journalists and politicos on twitter.

Indeed the phrase is now something of a meme; Buzzfeed have pointed out that she’s used the phrase 57 times in 10 days and challenged readers to see how many times they can type it in a minute; people have taken delight in the fact that it can be sung to the same tune as “all things bright and beautiful”; it has been suggested that the regularity of its use is on a par with the number of times Andy Burnham has pointed out that he hails from the north of England.

Strong and stable - chips and gravy

The fact that media commentators and members of the twitterati are already bored with the slogan will be of huge comfort to Lynton Crosby, the man behind the campaign: it’s a sign that the public might have noticed it.

The importance of relentlessly maintaining a consistent narrative isn’t something that’s new to the era of fragmented communication: Brendan Bruce, Conservative Party Director of Communications under Margaret Thatcher, once said that “good communications depend on intellectual clarity, creative impact and repetition”.

A repetitive refrain or a consistent strap line is a constant feature of every major successful election campaign.  Even those with a minimal interest in politics will still recall campaign catchphrases which are now months and years old: “take back control”, “son of a bus driver”, “make America great again” and “change we can believe in”.

It’s a sign of how well the Labour Party’s campaign is going that it’s not totally clear what their slogan is.

The line “standing up for you” was used in communications immediately after the announcement of the election, but it has since been removed from their social media channels’ header images and hasn’t featured on the end frame of recent online videos or even their latest party election broadcast.

Labour slogan GE2017 - Standing up for you

There is only one campaign that a challenger party should run and that is “it’s time for a change” (or a variant on thereof).

Given Labour’s objective is to convince the electorate to get the other lot of government, their narrative needs to stoke up a sense of anger about the status quo and inspire hope about the future and there is no better word at delivering that sentiment than change.

If the Labour Party can’t get their slogan sorted soon, it’s a word that Jeremy Corbyn will be hearing a lot more of after 8th June.


M&C Saatchi are “in talks” with Tories about GE2017

M&C Saatchi are “in talks” with the Conservative Party about working on their general election efforts according to Campaign Magazine.

The agency created the standout political advertisement of recent times with their ‘Pocket’ poster, which has been proven to have had a catalytic effect on the narrative around the general election 2015.

The agency were also appointed to work on behalf of the official Remain campaign during the referendum.  Their work for Britain Stronger In Europe was less memorable and one was left with the distinct impression that relations weren’t too rosy: M&C Saatchi leaked a selection of ads that they felt were worthy of running but which were not bought by the campaign.

Many of the people involved in Britain Stronger In Europe are also at the helm of Theresa May’s campaign; this fact might explain why M&C Saatchi are still only “in talks”, despite their stellar performance in 2015.

Hoey out

The Lib Dems in Vauxhall are giving Labour Party MP Kate Hoey hell for working with Grassroots Out during EU referendum.

Hoey, who was the chair of Labour Leave, campaigned hard for Brexit and was – amongst other activity – involved in the famous Thames flotilla during the referendum.

The Lib Dems are hoping to weaponize Hoey’s vocal support for leaving the EU in her Vauxhall constituency that voted heavily to Remain.

French Presidential Election – the campaign briefs in a sentence

This Sunday is the first round of the French Presidential elections 2017.  I’ve looked at the four leading candidates’ official campaign posters, logos and instagram feeds and suggest what the overarching creative brief might have been.

François Fillon

Brief in one sentence: communicate that Fillon is a forward-looking conservative and a safe pair-of-hands in an election field populated by radicals.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon

Brief in one sentence: make Mélenchon look like a people’s champion untouched by the hands of marketing.


Marine Le Pen

Brief in one sentence: make Marine look like a mainstream politician, who is publicly accepted, with France’s best interests in mind.


Emmanuel Macron

Brief in one sentence: make Macron seem like an icon, a man of the future, beyond left and right, whose time has come.

Macron posterMacron instagramen marche logo 2En_marche_logo

100 days of feminist ads

A new instagram feed which shares spoof ads for famous brands that challenge gender equality has launched.

It has been created by L.A based copywriter Eileen Matthews and you can find it @feministads.

The ads so far are very well done indeed. The posts reframe an attribute of the product, or execute the brand’s existing creative platform using a feminist context, in order to highlight various aspects of gender inequality. 

Eileen plans to post an ad a day for 100 days (today is day 10).

Unison – 15 minute care makeover

Unison, the trade union, have released a brilliant new satirical ad to campaign against the indignity of 15 minute care visits for elderly people.  The film is promoting a petition to let the government know that such practises are unacceptable.

The video features actress Claire Sweeney – who puts in an excellent performance – and mimics the format of day-time-TV game shows to dramatise the ridiculousness of the demands made on care workers because of a lack of funds and staffing.

It was created by London ad agency Don’t Panic and has received rave reviews in the advertising industry trade press, winning Campaign Magazine’s Ad of the Week.