By OUR PARLIAMENTARY CORRESPONDENT, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 13 December 1996 12:00AM
The Labour Party is to run a negative advertising campaign in the new
year, spelling out its ‘nightmare vision’ of the UK under the Tories
should they win a fifth term.
Although Labour chiefs condemned M&C Saatchi’s ‘New Labour. New Danger’
blitz for the Conservative Party, it appears to have provoked the party
into attempting equally negative advertising. Labour chiefs have asked
BMP DDB to produce proposals for the campaign.
A senior Labour source admitted: ‘We will go negative in the new year.
We want people to think how they would feel if they wake up the day
after polling and realise John Major is still Prime Minister.’
The plan prompted charges of ‘hypocrisy’ from Tories. One said: ‘Labour
seems to be mimicking the 1992 Saatchi and Saatchi work.’
Labour says its new offensive will be dwarfed by the continuing Tory
blitz, said to include a heavy poster presence from January through to
the general election.
M&C Saatchi is developing fresh ideas for the ‘new danger’ campaign.
Although it will warn of higher taxes under Labour, it is unlikely to
bring back the ‘tax bombshell’ which worked in 1992.
Tory officials say the party’s campaign will be ‘50 per cent positive
and 50 per cent attacking Labour’.
The latest row between the parties came as a spokesman for Foote Cone
Belding announced that its twice-weekly ‘mind and mood’ focus groups
suggested that the ‘demon eyes’ ad, depicting Tony Blair with ‘devil’
eyes had backfired. FCB said it was only liked by Tory loyalists, while
it was seen as ‘desperate’ by other voters.
But Tories took comfort from a leaked survey of Labour focus groups in
Scotland that concluded that the ‘demon eyes’ work had a strong impact.
The report, by the polling company, System Three, said Labour needed
dramatic advertising to capture the public’s imagination.
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk