The Labour Party has decided to fight the Conservatives’ ‘new Labour,
new danger’ campaign with a pounds 1 million advertising push accusing
the Tories of telling lies.
As Campaign went to press, Labour’s executive committee was expected to
approve a national press and poster blitz showing a red traffic warning
sign and the slogan, ‘same old Tories, same old lies’. The ads will
break this week.
BMP DDB, Labour’s agency, has secured 1,600 poster sites - about 100
more than the Tories are using in their pounds 2 million summer
offensive against Tony Blair’s party.
For the first time, Labour will display posters at foreign holiday
destinations favoured by Britons, as well as resorts in this country.
In public, Labour has dismissed the Tory attack as ‘negative
advertising’ which would backfire. Privately, however, Labour
strategists are worried that the Tory campaign will hit home and dent
Blair’s commanding lead in the opinion polls.
But Labour sources denied the move was a panic response to the M&C
Saatchi blitz. ‘We always intended to hit back quickly when the Tories
started telling lies about us,’ one said. Labour strategists believe
they failed to respond quickly enough during the 1992 election when
Saatchi and Saatchi launched its ‘tax bombshell’ poster.
Labour’s move raises the prospect of a tit-for-tat ad battle running
until the election. The Tories have already earmarked pounds 10 million
for ads and will be able to outspend Labour.
Chris Powell, the chief executive of BMP DDB, said: ‘Experience suggests
that it is important to deal with the lies as they come up.’