If you don't vote, one of them gets in anyway.

by Julian Westaby.

Our potential Prime Ministers 'getting social'.

It’s Election time again and although we’ve tried to veer-away from it, we’ve feel we’ve got to comment on the recent Election shenanigans, from a marketing angle. It seems to us that whether it’s Clegg, Brown or Cameron, there’s not a lot of innovation going on, anywhere. We’re not suggesting that British politics jumps on the USA bandwagon and gets really cheesy but why not get a wee bit more ‘social’ like Barack did?  Over here, it’s still the same old knocking copy and condescending stuff we’re getting subjected to. No-one’s ‘show-boating’, in a good way.

In our opinion, the political marketing process should be leading the way and demonstrating real innovation. It’s something the whole country’s focused on and as they get masses of FREE airtime to be clever, they have to capitalise on this. So far, one week into this campaign, we’re not seeing any cleverness. To use a test we use a lot, cover up the individual ‘logo’ on any bit of the electioneering schtick, from any party and they’re all much-of-a-muchness. Nobody appears to be using the vast landscape available. Nobody’s doing anything different.

We’ve been hearing all the chat about this being the first ‘social media’ election but in our eyes, we’ve not seen anything coming out of the ether that’s going to have the legs of a ‘ Labour Isn’t Working‘ poster. None of the marketing work they’re doing is going to singularly ‘win the election’.

So why is this? We reckon it’s because most (if not all) of them are shit-scared of some ‘Photoshop Internet fiend’ (basically, that could be most people now) who could ‘doctor’ a clever, bold or controversial new campaign and conduct an underground campaign, turning tables and really making a fool of them. The speed at which this could happen frightens them. The ‘make your own Dave Cameron poster‘ is a good example of what can happen but we’d argue that The Conservatives probably got more positive footage out of this than anything else.

However, we can imagine a brash, cynical, ‘Malcolm Tucker-stylee’, spin Doctor imagining the most salacious, rude, outrageous, contradictory, vulgar and funny thing that a clever blogger could do, to any campaign. Because if this, nothing of any merit, nothing really ground-breaking, ever makes it past the concept stage. The spin-doctors and focus groups and numerous ‘what-if’ scenarios, they remove any chance of advertising or marketing innovation taking place.

We’re living in a world where parodies and ‘homages-to’ are sometimes much more funny and successful than the real thing, so who’s going to risk doing anything edgy, when your competing party will do a hilarious ‘mash-up’ that will come back and bite you on the bum?

Anyway, perhaps this isn’t the issue. Is there a time in living history when people have trusted politicians less? Are we the only people who think that insincerity is no way to run a country? With the ‘expenses’ debacle continuing, (courtesy of a bit of help from Legal Aid) maybe we should be asking all the Political Parties to be ‘legal, decent, honest and truthful’ (as the Advertising Standards request) before we ask them to be funny and innovative?