David Cameron’s Conservative party are great. Specifically the leadership team. They’re cutting edge, they’re quick, they’re great thinkers, they’re top strategists. At least that’s what they tell each other.
The rest of the country sees it a little differently. After previous poster
disasters (see here), they’ve done what only cutting-edge quick thinking strategists could do. They’ve blamed the ad agency, changed back to an old firm, and brought out another poster. It’s possible that the original agency was a bit rubbish. It’s possible bringing in M&C Saatchi will make all the difference. It’s possible that I’ll spontaneously combust in the next five seconds – Well, it was possible! My toes were a bit warm. – but is it probable? Course not!
The problem isn’t with the ad agency. It’s with the party. Cameron hasn’t even sealed the deal with Tory core voters, never mind swing voters of Basildon or Worcester or wherever it is this year. There’s a lack of policy, a lack of intellectual depth, and a lack of trust. Posters are an expensive way to campaign. In years past that was fine. They could be left up for a couple of weeks, get lots of viewings in key sites around the country, and only get vandalised by people with ropes and harnesses. Now we live in an interactive age. The Tories seem to have taken annual leave the day the world went digital. Now, politicians unveil a poster to the media and three minutes later it’s been completely subverted. Sites like mydavidcameron.com allow the public to attack these ads with satire and turn the intended message on its head.
Cameron spent many months “detoxifying” the Tory brand. It was all hugging hoodies and voting blue, getting green like some colour blind decorator. Whirring windmills on the house fronts and cycling to work is all very well when you have a fifteen point lead in the polls. But when it’s down to four or five, then it’s straight back to the nasty party. Negative attacks and switching ad agencies before the election is even declared is panic. Pure and simple.
Not only have they gone negative, but the latest poster is a personal attack on Gordon Brown. Remember what happened last time they did that? It generated a boost in the polls. For Labour. The public aren’t as stupid as politicians and the media think. We don’t like bullying and we know that an election isn’t a beauty contest. It’s about who is best for the country. Shepherding the nation back through recovery without costing people homes, jobs, and public services. On top of that, it’s not the best design in the world for billboards is it? Driving past in your car or sat at the front on the top deck of the bus pretending you are the driver, you’re only going to get a fleeting glance. What’ll you see? A smiling Gordon Brown. And, if you’re going slow, the words vote for me in big letters.
Team Cameron are busy fighting the 1997 election, not realising time’s moved on.