Sunday, April 4, 2010

Fire up the Quattro we've got a country to fix

Labour's latest salvo in the on-going poster war seems to have rather backfired. Chosen from over 1,000 activist created posters as part of their so called "People's Poster" campaign, the new poster depicts David Cameron as Ashes to Ashes star Gene Hunt alongside the slogan "Don't let him take Britain back to the 1980s"
So what's the problem with it?
1) Ashes to Ashes isn't actually all that big a show so many people won't get the reference
2) Having said that Gene Hunt is a massively popular character, whose anti-pc down to earth approach has won over the hearts of viewers. Associating David Cameron with him actually makes Cameron cool
3) It only appeals to Labour's base

The third issue, that the poster only appeals to Labour's base highlights one of the issues with this "People's poster" concept and crowd sourcing in general. If you look at all of the examples highlighted as the top entries the majority (I think all but one) were negative posters and personal attacks on either David Cameron or George Osborne. Nothing on Labour's vision for the country or track record.

As @ianamccord on  Twitter pointed out this is why you get an ad agency. An ad agency will design a message and medium that will target your new audience or the audience you want to target, whereas if you ask your existing customers (in this case activists), or even yourself, all you'll get is something that targets the people you are already reaching. Result, you get a poster that enlivens and engages with your base and helps convince no one new of anything.

Of course this has given Conservative activists yet another reason to fire up Photoshop, and has even got  the party officially in on the action. Only in their wildest dreams could CCHQ have compared David Cameron to Gene Hunt without being laughed out of the country, but now Labour has done it for them and meant they can officially compare him to the much loved, no nonsense, get things done man that Gene Hunt is.

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