The latest campaign round of marketing mortar rounds from the Labour party against the Conservatives may backfire.
In terms of branding, it won’t be the first time.
A poster playing on the words Cameron, ‘Camera-on’ aims to show the duplicity of the Conservative leader’s stance on NHS promises. According to the poster, on one hand David Cameron says he is committed to the NHS.
On the other hand ‘Camera – off’ claims he wants to scrap early rights to see a cancer specialist.
At first glance it is all strong stuff.
On the other hand it is also confusing. Most motorists passing the poster will only ‘take-in’ a cursory glance of the message.
With the main political parties only feet apart in terms of perceptions, it is perhaps time for the marketing ‘politterati’ to come up with something more original than the standard respected leader taking a personal pot-shot at the other.
Previous examples of character assassinations include:
‘Demon Eyes’ campaign by the Conservatives against Tony Blair in 1997.
‘Dave the Chameleon’ adverts by the Labour party, showing Cameron as a computer generated reptile cycling on his bike through a Shrek-like world; changing colours and views as he goes.
But even those stabs pale into insignificance when compared a 2008 Canadian campaign.
An advertisement showed Opposition Leader, Stéphane Dione being defecated on by a puffin.
Sliding further still, the 1993 Canadian federal campaign featured a televised attack against Liberal leader Jean Chrétien, focussing on his facial deformity caused by Bell’s palsy.
Today’s electorate is surely more discerning and sophisticated. It demands more than a Punch and Judy show.
It demands unambiguous political messages concentrating on policies – not , at least at this point of the campaign – personalities.
Through avoiding such playground digs, political brands would come across as ambassadorial rather than territorial.
My book, Soul Traders, discuses the various campaign tactics used over the years to score political points over opponents.
This current classic tactic is called, Ad hominem, in which one smears an adversary’s character, rather than addressing their argument.
Perhaps it is apt to consider research published in the Journal of Advertising, which concluded that negative political advertising makes the body turn physically away from such messages.
However the mind remembers the message – albeit perhaps for a the wrong reason.
Wednesday, February 10th, 2010 at 6:58 pmand is filed under Branding, Conservative party branding, government branding, Labour party branding, political branding, Politics, UK party politics branding. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.