Book charts Saatchis’ election link to Labour

Labour secretly called in Saatchi & Saatchi during last year’s general election campaign when its relationship with BMP DDB came under strain, a new book by Philip Gould, Tony Blair’s pollster and strategist, confirms.

Labour secretly called in Saatchi & Saatchi during last year’s

general election campaign when its relationship with BMP DDB came under

strain, a new book by Philip Gould, Tony Blair’s pollster and

strategist, confirms.



The book, The Unfinished Revolution, to be published next week, reveals

the extent of the turmoil between BMP and Labour before the election and

gives substance to rumours which circulated at the time to the effect

that Saatchis, not BMP, was responsible for Labour’s ’enough is enough’

attack on the Tories and for pushing the party’s thinking ’towards being

positive’.



Gould also declares that Blair ’was never really happy with the

advertising. He was always tetchy about it.’



Peter Gatley, BMP’s head of art direction, thought there was a

contradiction between using positive colourful posters for Labour’s

final burst of ads, which also had a slightly negative line, of ’Britain

deserves better’. Gould recalls, ’In fact he hated it so much, he

resigned from BMP when I insisted on using it - at least, this was the

reason he gave.’



Gould says there was ’continual internal controversy about our

advertising up to election day itself.’ BMP’s team ’never clicked’ with

Labour’s Millbank headquarters, where younger officials ’wanted newer,

more fashionable agencies’.



’Peter Hyman (a Blair aide) thought BMP lacked the political nastiness

and killer instinct we needed. Millbank wanted hard, ruthless

professionalism. The BMP people battled on. And they did keep us focused

on tax.’



Chris Powell, BMP’s chief executive, admitted to Gould that the agency

’had a far less central role’ last year than in the 1987 campaign. ’You

had a complex army of people all with different opinions in a general

melee,’ Powell said.



Gould admits the Shadow Communications Agency of volunteers, which

handled Labour’s 1987 and 1992 campaigns, was a ’front organisation’ for

BMP.



After 1992, Gould wanted Labour to switch to Butterfield Day Devito

Hockney, but Peter Mandelson ’wanted someone bigger’ than Leslie

Butterfield.



The Unfinished Revolution is published by Little Brown on 29 October.



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