Tag Archives: Conservative Party

Welcome to Cameron’s Big Society future

It might be light hearted, but Labour makes a serious point today in its attack on David Cameron’s “Big Society” with the launch of a viral video and its scary echoes of Thatcher’s Britain.

The video drives home what it really means when the Tories say “Big Society”, but are afraid to say that they want to cut and abandon a range of public services with their pick ‘n’ mix DIY services that mean no guarantees for patients, parents or communities.

Big society is about breaking down the NHS, breaking down local education authorities and taking apart public services and people’s lives along with it. That’s what they have always done and Cameron might be the shiny new face of Conservatives in the UK, but it is the same old Tories who do not believe in “big society”. It’s just paper thin like most of Cameron’s campaign of photoshopped airbrushing and oil slick marketing.

Cameron is as Jacob Weisberg, author of ‘The Bush Tragedy’ wrote in the Guardian today, “as buffed as a freshly washed car, and providing a similar kind of short-term uplift”.

“With Cameron’s Tories, ideas take second place to their marketing. The event is geared around his presentation of a Contract with Voters, which is printed out on a white board that Cameron signs with a flourish after his talk. Aside from being a rip-off of the Republicans’ 1994 Contract with America (also known as the Contract on America), these 16 promises are a remarkably thin effort. The hard tasks, like cutting wasteful government spending, building a greener economy and raising school standards, are left vague.” Cameron is after a contract on Britain.

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What’s with Dave’s new poster?

The latest Tory ‘creative’ depicts David Cameron -  reportage-style, shirtsleeves up and a definite lack of airbrushing – accompanied by the booming caption: ‘Let’s cut benefits for those who refuse to work.’ So much for the ‘Big Society’, showcased last week, it doesn’t even seem to be worth backing up with marketing spend.

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Tory campaign "most inept… in living memory"

As the media attempts to canonise Nick Clegg, things are going from bad to worse for the Tories as Bell Pottinger chairman Peter Bingle calls the party’s election campaign the most inept in “living memory” in a leaked memo.

Can we stop a minute and take someone temperature? The Sunday Times went bonkers at the weekend (I mean literally) with its frothy front page headline “Nick Clegg nearly as popular as Winston Churchill”. One world war and one TV debate naturally being the exact same thing.

Worse than that it then confounded this piece of bad journalism by referring to this screamer again today saying that Clegg was in the “surprising position of having to talk down headlines that put his popularity on a par with Churchill” (without pointing out it was the culprit behind the headlines).

At the moment no one knows what the Lib Dem poll surge means. They today stand on 33% compared to the Tory’s 32% and Labour’s 26%, but the key question is will it last and translate to anything significant that will boost the party’s presence in the House of Commons much beyond its current 62 seats?

It appears likely that this figure will rise and it looks like it will hit the Tories hard. They are panicking and attacking Clegg (soft on crime/immigration et cetera) and warning that voting for the Lib Dems could keep Gordon Brown in power and the Tories out for a very long time.

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Will the TV leader debates change us?

Will it be historic? Will it be more than quips and point scoring? Millions are expected to tune in tonight and Twitter will light up as the three leaders prepare to debate on ITV in the first of the TV debates.

With audience predictions of between 12 and 20 million tonight could be a huge moment in British politics at a time when trust an enthusiasm for the process is at a low ebb.

The large audience could still turn it around for one party in what is the closest election for a generation. What is it going to mean for Nick Clegg and his Liberal Democrats? He is the unknown in here like Vince Cable in the debate of the chancellors.

David Cameron has been complaining about the strict rules imposed, which is as pointed out in The Guardian odd as his team helped draft them. He is after all our friend and wants to empower us all.

The Americans must wonder why we have waited so long to do this. They have had televised debates on air since 1976 ( a long gap between Kennedy and Nixon in 1960) giving us sound bites galore including the oft quoted riposte made by Lloyd Bentsen to Republican vice-presidential candidate Dan Quayle.

The debate comes at a time in the campaign when the main political parties face what The Times called “a wall of public antipathy amid a tightening race”.

And it is a tight race. With every poll that comes the Tory lead appears to be slipping representing itself on the periodical table as an unstable political element that allows no concrete predictions.

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‘Short-sited’ manifesto policies

As I revealed in today’s Marketing, Labour has mooted the launch of a website to help parents complain about sexualised products and aggressive marketing aimed at children in its manifesto.

If it sounds vaguely familiar that’s because Tory leader David Cameron unveiled a virtually identical policy in February which is repeated in his party’s manifesto today.

While my Tory contacts have been quick to cry ‘copy-cat’, I don’t have a huge problem with people setting tribalism aside and being big enough to adopt good ideas irrespective of their provenance.

But this is far from a good idea. In fact it stinks of opportunism and the sort of nonsense that parties do when pursuing the ‘Daily Mail’ vote.

Firstly, I feel I should point out that there’s this organisation called the Advertising Standards Authority. You may have heard of it, it’s the body responsible for ad regulation in the UK. It’s been doing this for around 50 years so it’s hardly as if there’s nowhere for these supposed legions of concerned parents to turn to if they see ads that offend. So that deals with the ad side.

Where sexualised children’s products are concerned, the parties may have a better case. I’m not entirely sure who I would complain to if I saw something on sale that I offended me.

But is this really such a huge issue deserving of manifesto attention? I can barely think of any examples. Furthermore when the odd weird product has slipped through the net the retailer concerned has quickly removed it from shelves to kill off the bad publicity.

But why pick on the marketing industry anyway if clamping down on the premature sexualisation of children is a real worry? What about, for example, music videos which routinely show scantily clad women bumping and grinding away at all hours of the day?

Perhaps attempting to tackle these wider issues would open up a whole new can of worms that neither party has the stomach for so they are being conveniently overlooked.

Given that both parties have endorsed this website, it would appear that it will become a reality. Oh dear.

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Labour’s misfiring Quattro ad shows crowd sourcing limitations

Shocking as it is David Cameron has been shown in a positive light after Labour’s create your own ad competition gifted one to the Tories who were able to turn the depiction of their leader as 80s throwback DCI Gene Hunt on its head. Fair play to them.

The poster and the line are good. No doubt about it, but so was what the Tories were able to do with it. The original poster replaces DCI Gene Hunt’s head from ‘Ashes to Ashes’ with that of Cameron’s. You could on the surface see why it might work. Hunt first from the excellent ‘Life of Mars’ and then in the not so great ‘Ashes’ is a boozy male chauvinist pig with a flashy car from the decade of social conflict and deep divide.

But Hunt is also a cult figure with a nice repertoire of one liners that includes “Fire up the Quattro…”. The Tories were able to nicely adapt to read: “Fire up the Quattro, it’s time for change” to chime with their lame campaign slogan and instantly give Cameron the appeal that he appears to lack. That is the story being played out across the press in The Times, The Independent and The Daily Telegraph among many others.

Apparently Tories around central office have t-shirts and mugs with the slogan “Fire up the Quattro, it’s time for change” printed on them and Cameron has declared himself “flattered” to be compared to Hunt. You can see why. People like Hunt.

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How to do online campaigning

You’ve probably – being worldly-wise marketing types – already come across our new wheeze ripping its way across the net.If not it won’t be long until you do.

 

There’s a new party on the loose and it’s after your vote.Well I say new… but the Labservatives have been around now for 65 years. And as the new poster says, “We’ve had 65 years to get it right, so what’s another five?”

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Tories go on the attack

The shock news this week is that Euro RSCG has been ‘joined’ by M&C Saatchi on the Conservative Party’s ad roster.

I say ‘shock’ but given that Euro’s most memorable work was the infamous airbrushed Cameron ad which spawned a 1000 spoofs, maybe the shock is that this didn’t happen sooner.

Will M&C be able to summon up the ghosts of creativity past and produce another ‘Labour’s not working’? Yesterday the Evening Standard said M&C Saatchi’s brief was to ‘tear lumps out of Gordon Brown’. Can’t wait to see the work.

Online has been an unhappy place for the opposition party of late – this week they were forced to pull a website just days after its launch. For those of you who didn’t follow this saga, the Tories launched the site at the start of the week laying into the union Unite and its political director and former Brown aide Charlie Whelan, displaying tweets using the hashtag #cashgordon.

The trouble started when some technical scamps figured out it was unmoderated and using wizardry I don’t quite understand managed to post up tweets in 48 point saying some extremely rude things about Cameron as well as spoof images. Also the page was accepting code that allowed it to be redirected. A new and improved version has gone back up but not before a whole heap of mocking by Labour bloggers.

And this in the month that Wired magazine hit the shelves praising the Conservatives’ digital marketing team. Oh dear.

P.S – Marmite is getting in on the election fever and next week will roll out an advertising and Facebook campaign aimed at mobilising lovers and haters of the brown salty spread. Brandrepublic will reveal the full story on Monday.

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