Client seeks ad agency with view to possible marriage. Young and
sexy or long experienced in the art of seduction, it doesn’t matter. We
just want to be loved again. Apply W. Hague, Conservative Central
Yes, the Tories are looking for somebody to make the earth move for them
again just as Maurice Saatchi and Tim Bell did two decades ago.
Time was when such news would have had suitors by the dozen beating on
the door of Smith Square. There will be less of them today. As a
product, the Conservative Party is something few consumers want to buy
with even its most ardent supporters privately admitting that it has no
hope of regaining power until 2006 at the earliest. The one-time market
leader now barely qualifies as a challenger brand.
Apart from its virulent anti-Europeanism, it has no distinguishing
And heaven knows what the public must have made of the repulsive
spectacle at last week’s party conference of batty old Margaret Thatcher
defending an evil dictator who allowed a litany of human rights offences
to be conducted in his name.
Yet it’s precisely because the Tories look like a bunch of no-hopers
that their account will have a perverse appeal to some agencies.
Political advertising is always an opportunity to push creative
boundaries to the extreme; even more so now that the Committee of
Advertising Practice is about to banish party ads from the
But just as Saatchi & Saatchi was making its way in the ad world when it
landed the Tory account in the 70s, so it seems likely that a young and
hungry shop willing to do anything for a profile will be best suited to
help restore the party’s post-millennium fortunes.
Few large agencies will relish the prospect of committing to the
business with no guarantee of success and the risk of being made the
scapegoat for failure. And with the Labour Government having aligned
itself with big business, there’s the worry of upsetting other
The world has moved on since the Saatchi-inspired Camelot years of
While the party shuns Europe, agency networks try to exploit its
The party that once embraced the ad industry threatens to become
estranged from it through its own xenophobia.