OPINION: This election campaign has let the voters down

Thank God it’s over. This dreariest of election campaigns was epitomised by ridiculous sideshows such as ’the Labour Party has a war book - shock, horror!’

Thank God it’s over. This dreariest of election campaigns was

epitomised by ridiculous sideshows such as ’the Labour Party has a war

book - shock, horror!’



The respective advertising campaigns have done little to relieve the

general feeling of torpor.



What will we remember? For the Tories, there was ’demon eyes’,

obviously, although it preceded the campaign proper. And then Tony Blair

on Helmut Kohl’s knee and the ’boy Blair’ idea. Funnily enough, they’re

the most negative of the Tory ads, but it’s a sad truth that negative

ads get noticed, particularly when they contain such a simple concept.

Contrast this with the crying British lion, again about Europe, and the

point is obvious. The Tories’ campaign suffered from a surfeit of

clients sticking an oar in and distilling the impact of the work.



The whole tenor of Labour’s campaign has been ’don’t mess up’. Caution

has strangled the potential of its partnership with BMP DDB. Some in the

party believed the election was not about sleaze or any other issue, but

tax. Unable to convince the electorate that it could be entirely trusted

on the issue, Labour has set out to tar the Tories with the same brush.

’Twenty-two Tory tax rises’ and the ’two faces of John Major’ stand out.

But there were too many anodyne executions like ’five pledges’.



There have been too many ads, full stop. They’ve blurred into an

indistinguishable mass. Who owns ’boom or gloom’ or ’Britain deserves

better’? With the benefit of hindsight, we may need to re-evaluate the

use of national press ads during elections. Has any one press ad broken

through? The Referendum Party’s weight of spend has only served to

compound the overkill.



Some thoughts for next time: do the parties really need to spend as much

money? A politician’s gaffe will always top the news agenda over any ad.

But the biggest lesson of all is that there’s no point in hiring top

talent if you end up writing the ads yourself.



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