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
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’.