Labour Party Keeps It Simple

Perhaps Labour is putting the KISS mantra into place with its viral ads in the 2010 General Election; perhaps they think that everyday TV faces recognised by millions will win over floating voters, or at least get the core vote out.

Or perhaps they’re totally skint. Either way, these ads from Labour featuring Ross Kemp (dig at the missus?), Sean Pertwee and Eddie Izzard are startling in their simplicity – and appear to feature the celebrities speaking for themselves on voting in the election.

The Road Ahead has a bit more to it, with Pertwee hiking across the British countryside, but the Izzard and Kemp spots have a plain background, little in the way of graphics or soundtrack and two men putting over a very simple message.

I think they’re good, in that they’re communicating a simple message clearly, though whether that’s come about as a result of Labour being strapped is unclear. I often wonder why government agencies don’t ape this simple approach when attempting to communicate the likes of tax credits, digital switchovers and getting on the electoral role.

The ads generally trotted out in these genres are so convoluted as to be indistinguishable from the diaspora of modern advertising – does anyone really remember that daft digital one with the little robot and ugly man? – but what do I know?

Doing simple things well is rarely fashionable, and who’s going to pay for all of those second homes for ad execs if every ad features Michael Parkinson talking his sodding pension? But I’d stake my collection of digital PR newsletters that it would work. Keep It Simple, Stupid is a mantra we’d do well to observe in most walks of life.

60 seconds – Ross Kemp

Brilliant Britain – Eddie Izzard

The Road Ahead – Sean Pertwee

Change – Bill Bailey

They’ll be voting Labour

Bill Bailey, Jo Brand, Liz Dawn, Leonard Fenton, Prunella Scales, Tony Robinson, Peter Guinness and Roberta Taylor explain why they’ll be voting Labour on Thursday.

Don’t Mention The War: Operation New Dawn

OK, so this is admittedly pushing the boundaries of what a daft blog about adverts tends to cover, but since journos are expected to be PRs these days, PRs expected to be marketers and marketers… well, you get the idea. We’re all multitaskers now.

Including the Pentagon, which has gone into the communications industry with the news that the Iraq War will no longer be called Operation Iraqi Freedom, but Operation New Dawn instead. Skipping over the fact that whoever comes up with these names – the hilariously, unfortunately-titled Operation Infinite Justice and Operation Enduring Freedom are previous clangers – must moonlight as the guy responsible for naming all new first-person shooters, I’m not clear what this rebrand achieves.

Because the second you drop white phosphorous on the population you’re supposedly liberating, all that talk of ‘evolving relationships’ starts sounding a little hollow, unless you’re explicit on evolving them from being people into being charred corpses. Can you rebrand a war? By its very nature war involves killing people in violent and unpleasant ways, whichever way you look at it. You might as well try to rebrand a killer virus, or road accidents.

You can wrestle all you want with the answer to what constitutes the first casualty of war, and the Newspeak aspect to it all, but at the end of the day what it reveals if the fundamental disconnect between advertising and reality. The very notion that anyone can be fooled into readjusting their perception of the Iraq occupation due to a nice slogan seems barking. Then again, so did the idea that anyone thought the war was over back in May 2003.