Noting the continued push for the Labour Party to embrace the ‘One Nation’ absurdity in their branding, the party’s machine decided this weekend to launch a rather poorly thought through poster campaign ‘Who wants to bung a millionaire? Dave Does’.
Quite apart from the clear effort to divide the nation into two economic groups in the poster, which negates the ‘one nation’ motto, the development and deployment of the campaign, based as it is on a TV gameshow ident from 1998, appears to have been handled by a four-year old or a competition winner (for which approach we thank for the ‘Fire up the Quattro’ campaign just before the 2010 General Election). The problem is that the advert just isn’t very good and deeply misses the current political narrative.
- It’s too late. The media messaging on the purported tax cuts to millionaires has already been used months ago. The campaign feels warmed-over and stale
- The design is derivative of an old TV show nobody watches anymore
- The media narrative is about welfare, not millionaires
- There is a widespread understanding that Ed Miliband himself is a millionaire, thereby creating a cognitive dissonance (the ‘ah, but’ moment) for the reader
- It’s the politics of envy writ large
- The figures don’t look convincing.
To expand on the last point, Labour claims that the average family will lose £891 per year from the new budget, but according to the Channel 4 Fact Checker Blog:
In attacking Mr Osborne this week, Labour went for a much higher figure: an average household loss of £891 this year, based on IFS research.
There’s nothing wrong with it mathematically but it’s based on what the government has done compared to doing nothing, an incredible scenario given that Labour would undoubtedly have had to introduce austerity measures too.
Mr Osborne is probably right about the nine out of ten [better off under the new budget], although by choosing to frame the debate in terms of working households alone he has made it difficult for independent assessors to FactCheck him.
At the heart of the problem with Labour’s messaging is of course that they don’t have a message to put out. Ed Miliband is dithering on welfare, on NHS Policy, on crime and punishment, on Trident and on the whole economic scene. Without a message to put out, poster designers have ‘fuck all’ to work with.