Tories dump Maurice Saatchi’s lion as new posters target Blair

The Conservatives have revamped their pre-election advertising strategy amid growing criticism of M&C Saatchi inside the party.

The Conservatives have revamped their pre-election advertising

strategy amid growing criticism of M&C Saatchi inside the party.



Tory bosses have ordered a more traditional, hard-hitting attack on

Labour after admitting that the posters and a party political broadcast

featuring a lion shedding a red tear had flopped.



In the first sign of tension in the Tory high command over the party’s

election advertising, Maurice Saatchi is being blamed for proposing the

British lion as a way of undermining Labour policies on Europe and

tax.



A senior party source said this week: ’It was a failure. People

concentrated on the lion, not the words about Labour. There were some

doubts at the beginning but Maurice won the argument. Now the sceptics

have been proved right.’



Tory officials denied that the lion had been ’killed off’ early, saying

it was always due to end its run on 3,000 poster sites this week. It has

been replaced with a picture of a smiling Tony Blair - without the

’demon eyes’ which were censured by the Advertising Standards Authority

last year. The poster is headed: ’Tony and Bill’ and asks: ’pounds 30

billion spending pledges ... Who pays?’



The change of tack is a rebuff for Saatchi, who had argued that a more

’emotional approach’ was right for this year’s election. After the

Tories’ drubbing in last week’s Wirral South by-election, Tory

politicians apparently demanded a return to the crude-but-effective

style of the 1992 ’tax bombshell’.



Topics