The Conservative Party’s pounds 1 million campaign to recreate the
‘feelgood factor’ has backfired, according to private polling by Labour.
An overwhelming majority of the former Tory supporters who took part in
group discussions told Labour researchers that M&C Saatchi’s slogan -
‘Yes it hurt. Yes it worked’ - only reminded them of their continuing
economic insecurity. Many voters said the poster blitz merely made them
recall the job losses that were still affecting their families, friends
Labour officials claimed the former Tories were unimpressed by the
apologetic tone of the ads. ‘People see it as arrogant and not as an
apology,’ one Labour source said. ‘We have tested the campaign
thoroughly and we can only view it as a disaster.’
The only crumb of comfort for the Tories was that the campaign appeared
to have a high recognition. Many voters, shown a copy of the poster by
Labour researchers, had already seen or heard about it.
Sources at M&C Saatchi and the Tory party dismissed Labour’s attack as
‘pure propaganda’ and insisted the campaign had achieved its objective.
‘Our own research shows that people did not say they would vote Tory
tomorrow, but we did not expect that,’ one insider said. ‘The important
thing is that they have got the message. This is only the first stage of
a long haul.’
Brian Mawhinney, the Tory party chairman, told M&C Saatchi he is
delighted with the campaign. However, some Tory MPs expressed initial
reservations about reminding people of the ‘hurt’.
Tory officials said the advertising would proceed as planned. A national
press campaign, bought by Optimedia, will break shortly using the same
slogan - written by M&C Saatchi’s freelancer, Peers Carter, who also
devised the poster.