Posts By: George Teague

It’s political correctness gone mad, no this time it really is

What do you think of the latest Labour poster, inspired by one of the few good lines by Gordon Brown during yesterday’s leaders debate?

You may, like me, find it rather funny, emit a chuckle then carry on with your day.

But the Tories were last night attempting a smear job on Labour claiming that the ad is offensive to people in wheelchairs.

Are they that out of touch that they’ve never seen Little Britain? Or is something else going on here?

Veteran CCHQ spinner Henry Macrory led the charge and others followed in condemning the ad. Now whileMacrory’s outrage may be genuine – as he’s not exactly in the Little Britain demographic – I’m pretty sure most of the ire is just pure mischief-making.

PerhapsTeam Daveis also worried that Labourhas learntits lesson after the Gene Hunt poster mega-fail. Namelythatusing aspirational characters in attack ads is stupid beyond belief.

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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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‘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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The nasty party’s back and this time it’s personal

So the gloves are off and the Conservatives have ditched the sunshine rhetoric to reconnect with their inner ‘nasty party’.

Yesterday they unveiled a set of sarcastic attack posters highlighting Labour’s supposed failings next to a grinning Gordon Brown saying: ‘Vote for me’.

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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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