Political ads fail to make an impact in run-up to the General Election

LONDON - General Election advertising campaigns failed to capture the attention of the nation, garnering almost no coverage in the month before polling day.

The only political advertisement to make the April's Ads that Make News survey, compiled by Propeller Communications and Durrants Media Monitoring for April was a Conservative ad accusing prime minister Tony Blair of lying about the Iraq war. The strategy backfired on the Tories and was quickly dropped. 

None of the Labour nor Liberal Democrat ads even made the list, which analyses coverage of advertising campaigns in the national media, despite a strong showing before the campaigns got under way.

Instead, the papers were more interested in Club 18-30 shaking off its "sun, sex and sangria" image in a new ad campaign by Saatchi & Saatchi, which presents the holiday chain in a cooler light. It topped the survey for April.

Jamie Oliver's resurgent popularity following the success of 'Jamie's School Dinners' made Sainsbury's the second most-written-about advertiser, on the news that the supermarket chain had offered the chef £1m to reappear in its advertising campaign. It was also revealed that Sainsbury's was retaining Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO as its ad agency after a review.

An ad for the Channel 4 programme 'Shameless' was at number three on the list, after the Advertising Standards Authority revealed that the poster, which showed the cast parodying Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper, was the most complained about last year.

Martin Loat, director of Propeller Communications, said: "With the election campaign in full swing in April we were expecting the main political parties to unleash some headline-grabbing political posters on the nation. But their ads lacked excitement, rather like their policies, some would say. With party politics increasingly homogenised, perhaps the era of hard-hitting political posters is behind us."

Other ads in the top 10 were the new American Express spot by Ogilvy & Mather and starring Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, which shared equal fifth place with Adidas' new spot for the F50+ football range, starring Tottenham's Jermain Defoe and Chelsea's Arjen Robben and created by 180 Amsterdam.

Michael Winner's latest love-it-or-loathe it turn for Esure was at number seven, while a bizarre story about a fetish shop opening in Hovis Hill, in Shaftesbury, North Dorset, saw Hovis' advertising mentioned frequently, putting it at number eight.

Top 10 Ads that Make News for April 2005
1 Club 18-30 shaking off "sun, sex and sangria" image
2 Sainsbury's offering Jamie Oliver £1m to re-sign
3 Channel 4 'Shameless' ad sacrilegious
4 Conservative Party accuses Blair of lying about war
5 = Amex with Jose Mourinho
5 = Adidas F50+
7 Esure starring Michael Winner
8 Hovis fetish shop story
9 Jamster ringtones
10 Pepsi ad starring Kirk Douglas

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