NEWS: Tories make economy focus of election push

The Conservative Party has approved a two-stage communications strategy which will make the economy the key battleground at the next general election.

The Conservative Party has approved a two-stage communications strategy

which will make the economy the key battleground at the next general

election.



The plan, recommended by Maurice Saatchi, aims to re-establish the

Tories’ economic credentials before warning the voters not to risk

allowing Labour to wreck the economic recovery.



Phase one was launched this Thursday with a Party Political Broadcast

showing how the British economy is out-performing other European

countries on employment, inflation and investment. It shows a group of

workers who appear to be in Britain but turn out to be in Germany.



The PPB, by M&C Saatchi, was the agency’s first since it was appointed

by the Tories last December. It was flagged by a teaser campaign in some

national newspapers on Thursday. The press ad told people to tune into

the broadcast ‘to see what the opposition say about Britain’.



The film was written by Maurice Saatchi, Jeremy Sinclair - a founding

partner at the agency - and Steve Hilton, who acted as the middle man

between Conservative Central Office and Saatchi and Saatchi during the

1992 election campaign.



This week’s pounds 100,000 push is expected to be followed by a poster

campaign and press ads - also concentrating on the economy - over the

next few months. There will also be PPBs and ads to coincide with the

local authority elections in May.



The campaign has been shaped by a newly formed trio of outsiders

advising the Tories - Saatchi, Sir Tim Bell and Peter Gummer, chairman

of the Sandwick public relations company. Their ideas were discussed by

John Major’s Cabinet when it held talks on general election planning on

Wednesday.



Some Tory sympathisers in the advertising world are worried that the

strategy is too negative, but Tory bosses insist the campaign is

positive and that it will prove effective.



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