Advertising & Promotion: Ads contract election fever

Election fever is upon us and some companies are determined to inject some of the fervour into their marketing messages.

Election fever is upon us and some companies are determined to

inject some of the fervour into their marketing messages.

This week, Tesco broke a national poster campaign through Lowe

Howard-Spink which mimicked the style of current political ads to

promote its ’Unbeatable value’ price guarantee.

The campaign may be tongue-in-cheek, but Tesco executives undertook

extensive research with its customers before signing it off.

’We had to make it light-hearted and inject some humour into the

situation,’ says Tesco head of advertising Catherine Baxendale. ’We

adopted the Tesco tone of voice, but were careful not to take on the

negative aspects of electioneering. There is no way Tesco wants to

interfere in the political arena. Our research showed that any ideas

that became political detracted from the message.’

But the line between a slick ad and landing in political hot water is a

fine one. Some Tesco lines were dropped because they were deemed too

partisan - such as a ’Demon pies’ parody and a pile of money headed

’Time for change’.

But for many, the election is all about sheer boredom. ’After the last

election, we found a quarter of the public didn’t want any polls, nor

did they want to read the press coverage. As far as they were concerned,

the election might as well not have happened,’ says Simon Baunholtz,

MORI’s director of political research.

Grand Met’s Old El Paso brand aims to bring some levity to the occasion

by bringing out a spoof campaign through Leo Burnett. ’A lot of people

find the heavy, serious stuff very dull and we think they want to see

something amusing.

We want to leverage something out of the occasion,’ says a company


For Tesco, Baxendale notes: ’Elections only come around every five years

so it’s a unique opportunity. It shows that we are in step with the



- Asda has introduced a range of election themed beers: Major’s Mild,

Ashdown Ale and Tony’s Tipple.

- Habitat spoofed the Saatchi & Saatchi ’Double whammy’ poster which so

effectively attacked Labour’s alleged tax plans.

- Thorntons has produced 49p chocolate cartoon lollies of politicians.

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