The Conservative Party will spend a record pounds 14 million on its
pre-election advertising - more than double Labour’s budget of pounds 6
The work for the 1 May election will be the most expensive in British
political history. The bulk of political advertising will be swelled
further by Sir James Goldsmith’s Referendum Party, which has not
disclosed its ad budget but has a pounds 20 million war chest for its
The Tories, who have 3,000 poster sites, have booked 4,000 for the last
four weeks of the campaign. Officials say they also plan a last-minute
pounds 3 million press offensive.
Labour, which now has 2,000 poster sites, will take another 500 after
Easter. It has earmarked pounds 1 million for press ads.
The Tories’ next poster will have an economic message, combining praise
for the Government’s record with a warning about the risk of Tony
Blair’s New Labour.
The Tories have decided to take the gloves off in the later stages by
reviving the ’demon eyes’ posters. But Blair’s face will not be shown,
as this would defy last year’s ruling by the Advertising Standards
Tory sources played down reports that Charles Saatchi had emerged from
the shadows to work on the campaign. ’This is Maurice’s show; Charles
will be involved, but not as much as last time,’ one explained.
Labour seized on Charles’s involvement as a sign that M&C Saatchi was in
trouble. ’Every time the Saatchis are threatened with the loss of an
account, they wheel out an ad by Charles,’ a Labour adman said.