NEWS: Keep ads out of the politicians’ hands

The Advertising Standards Authority is, we understand, considering washing its hands of political advertising. The furore over Saatchi’s ‘Demon Eyes’ campaign for the Conservative Party showed the ASA in a poor light, and sparked a debate within its own ranks that still smoulders.

The Advertising Standards Authority is, we understand, considering

washing its hands of political advertising. The furore over Saatchi’s

‘Demon Eyes’ campaign for the Conservative Party showed the ASA in a

poor light, and sparked a debate within its own ranks that still

smoulders.



In truth, to vet or not to vet political ads is the least of the ASA’s

worries. Far more disturbing were the openly expressed opinions of some

disgruntled advertisers who felt that government regulation they could

understand and predict was better than a voluntary code that you

couldn’t.



We believe they are wrong, that voluntary regulation is right, and that

the ASA is the right organisation for the job. Steering clear of

political advertising is a sensible move to steer the agenda back to the

rights and wrongs of mainstream marketing communications.



Yet there is still something sad - worrying, indeed - in the widely held

view that prompted the debate: that we all expect politicians to lie and

so there’s not much point in trying to establish the truth or otherwise

of their advertising.



In real life, marketers who make untrue claims about their products will

eventually get their just rewards, because customers who have once been

disappointed won’t come back for more.



Aside from the real con men who reason that they’ll never run out of

suckers, marketers are in business to build relationships between

consumers and brands, so untruthful advertising is counter-productive.



Shouldn’t this be true of political parties? In an age of marketing-

driven politics, developing loyalty to a party brand should be

paramount.



But then voters only get the chance to make a buying decision once every

four years or so, and cynics might reason that consumer memories just

aren’t long enough to remember past failings when it comes time for the

voting booth.



Hence the move to negative political advertising - reminding the

consumer of the failures of your rival brand may be more effective than

selling the sometimes ephemeral benefits of your own, especially when,

like New Labour, consumers have no experience of using your product for

real.



Negative advertising can be fun, but it can also trivialise important

issues.



We may laugh at political advertising but choosing a government is more

important than choosing a washing powder.



If the ASA isn’t the right body to adjudicate on political advertising,

then who or what is?



Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message
Lynx unleashes £9m 'Peace invasion' campaign
Social Brands 100 Youth: Pizza Hut most social youth brand in UK
Cheryl Cole is wild and arresting in new L'Oreal work
Morrisons told not to show alcohol ads during YouTube nursery rhymes
O2 head of brand Shadi Halliwell departs after 23 years at company in restructure
Tesco hit by further sales decline as it turns to digital Clubcard and social network
Branding guru Wally Olins dies aged 83
Duracell short film captures epic Transatlantic voyage