Sunday, 28 March 2010

Raedwald: Cameron can't have his cake and eat it

This is all true:

Raedwald: Cameron can't have his cake and eat it:
And the fact that Cameron isn't making firm, unequivocal promises about Localism, and that when you look at the actual words he uses they turn out to be vague aspirations with no substance, means that voters don't trust him
In marketing, you have to both talk the talk and walk the walk. 
Generally you can get a punter to try your product once; but if they perceive that you have lied, they are extremey unlikely to give you a second chance.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Punters are NOT stupid

It is a cliché to say that ad men despise those to whom they try to sell.

It is also untrue.*

Punters are decent, hard working, honourable people - people just like you and me - and ultimately they pay my wages. I like punters, because most of the time I am one of them.

However, we ad men do sometimes get frustrated with punters. How dare they be so uninterested in my product? Don't they understand how wonderful it is? Why won't they buy it?

It must be the same at CCHQ just now. "Why on earth won't the polls respond, when this Government is so patently crap, and even a dog in pyjamas could do a better job on the economy?"

Well, sorry, chaps, but you can't blame the punters. You can't even blame 'poor communication', 'not getting our message over', or even the BBC**. It's your underlying message that's at fault. Because currently, you're not saying anything.

Without a clear point of difference, punters always stick with what they know. Your early poll leads were based on the sheer awfulness of Labour, but as soon as you looked like a Government in waiting, it was inevitable that the scrutiny would fall on you. And what have you been offering?

More of the same. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:  NHS spending ring-fenced. Green taxes, and greenhouse gas reduction. No referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Cuts that 'won't be too swingeing'.

And you're parcelling this up as "TIME FOR CHANGE"?

Look, punters have lives to get on with. So unlike me, they didn't watch the Milton Keynes speech and get excited about the radical decentralisation of power. Unlike me, they can easily be put off Gove's excellent education proposals or locally elected sheriffs by a little negative NUT/ACPO campaigning and a few snide digs on the News Quiz. Unlike me, they think that all politicians are the same scurrilous lying bastards.

For God's sake, somewhere in there is a coherent and powerful philosophy - I know, I've dug for it and found it. Hannan and Carswell have written a book on it.

But if you're too scared ever to express it, or argue it forcefully against the eternal leftist, statist opposition that is the BBC, how on earth do you expect the poor bloody punter to either understand or believe in you?


UPDATE: Toby Young almost says punters are stoopid: Gordon Brown's general election pledges look impressive

UPDATE 2: Janet Daley says the same. Come on Dave, we're rooting for you. Guess that if Heffer and North stopped being such utter bastards from the other side, it might help boost your confidence?

* clients, though... ah, now there's another story
** actually, you can blame the BBC. Always. I have no problem with that

Why I never accept Public Sector work

It may have cost me a fair amount of cash over the years, but honestly, public sector contracts just aren't worth the hassle. Here's why:-
  1. To succeed in the private sector, you try to be different from what's already out there. To succeed in the Public Sector, you keep your head down and copy what everyone else has done. No-one ever got fired in the Public Sector for copying*.
  2. The best private companies have the smallest, tightest decision making processes. Often one person gets to say yes or no - however much advice he or she has taken from others - and that leads to the sort of informed risk-taking that gets results. The Public Sector is entirely committee-based and devoid of visionaries. Your best ideas will invariably terrify them, and will never be accepted
  3. In the private sector we pick an objective and focus single-mindedly on achieving it. In the Public Sector there are a thousand other objectives (diversity agendas and the like) that cloud and confuse.
  4. Crap, lazy people are drawn to the Public Sector like moths to a flame, because they know that there are dark corners of obfuscation in which they can hide. That the chill - but ultimately purifying - wind of 'having to satisfy your customers' simply doesn't apply. Because the poor bloody taxpayer is forced, on pain of imprisonment, always to pick up the bill.

* Come to think of it, no-one ever does get fired in the Public Sector

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Against the worst Government ever, we're only 6% ahead in the polls. Discuss

If you're a company entering a new market, and you're up against a long established (but perhaps rather tired) market leader, how do you advertise your 'challenger' product?

Do you a) copy the successful marketing strategies of the leader, but with fewer resources and no reputation?

Or do you b) come up with something so radically different that punters can suddenly see a reason for buying your product, rather than the one they've always bought in the past?

Put like that, of course, the answer is obvious. But you'd be amazed at how many companies opt time and time again for Option a). Only to be sorely disappointed by the results.

You can't blame them. If it worked for the market leader, the thinking goes, then it's good enough for us.

After all, no-one ever got fired for copying someone else's successful marketing strategy.

But - and let me stress this one more time, for the benefit of Messrs Hilton, Coulson, Letwin and Osbourne - it never, ever, ever works.


UPDATE: 2% ahead in the polls now. This is getting terrifying

Why can't we all just get along?

Hannan makes a good point on his Telegraph blog today:
There are only two possible Prime Ministers: David Cameron and Gordon Brown.

Voting UKIP in a place like Seaford means boosting the prospects of its Euro-fanatical LibDem MP, Norman Baker, who reneged on his promise of a referendum, and who argues that the EU “is central to the UK’s economic prosperity”. Voting UKIP, in Seaford as in many other constituencies, means putting a federalist into parliament. It risks prolonging the tenure of this incompetent, wastrel, cowardly Labour regime.
I find it very frustrating that so many on the libertarian right have transformed an intense dislike of David Cameron into an active intention to vote for someone else - whether LPUK, UKIP or even, God help us, Labour. Because there's a very strong likelihood that the outcome they achieve will be the exact opposite of the one they desire - i.e., never ending Big State Socialist Government.

Whatever our views on the Conservative modernisation agenda - and boy, do I think it's misguided - there is only one party on the right that can win the next election. If all the above gentlemen had put their energies into winning the debate within that party, then most of the recent Blu-Labour crap might never have come to pass.

To get rid of Gordon Brown, we have to defeat (in order of their ability to influence the voting public) the BBC, the astonishingly proficient Mandelson spin machine (the only thing Labour have ever done well), London Luvviedom, the EU, most other broadcasters, the civil service, the Barclay Brothers and an utterly corrupted education system.

Against all that, should we really be fighting amongst ourselves?


Friday, 19 March 2010

Whatever happened to the spirit of '79?

I'm an ad man, and I vote Conservative.

I vote Conservative because my formative years were spent under a Labour Government in the 1970s, and I'm old enough to remember how bloody horrible it was that time around. (It's far, far worse now).

I vote Conservative because I remember the sense of release that came with the election of a half-decent libertarian Government under Mrs Thatcher.

Whereas I'm an ad man, if I'm honest, purely by accident. I almost became a scientist, I almost became a teacher, but I was a 'good-enough' writer and I liked getting paid to write, so I drifted into advertising. It was fun, it was interesting, it provided a decent living. So, like many on the right, I got on with my life - built a business, built a family, and forgot about politics.

But the Left hadn't gone away.

And while people like me took their eyes off the political ball, the Left concentrated instead on taking over our institutions. Britain is generally a conservative country, filled with kind, generous and tolerant people. It's in our nature to put up with a lot. But in the last 10 or even 20 years, things have been done to our poor old country that in lesser places would have provoked riots and revolutions. But us... well, we just let it happen.

Our history has been abolished, demeaned, revised; our liberties shredded; our state schools have become tools to brainwash future generations; our state broadcaster pours forth daily poison; even our once-beloved parliament has become nothing more than a corrupt local assembly, entirely under the sway of a democracy-free supra-national bureaucracy.

And the Conservative Party? The one political grouping that could and should have protected us from all these terrible developments? Well, recently it 'modernised' itself, because that was how that nice Mr Blair won an election all those years ago.

If I have learnt anything during my 25 years in advertising, it is that it is always better to lead rather than to follow; to innovate your own successes, rather than copy the successes of others.

Sadly, at this most crucial of political times, the Conservatives are doing the exact opposite.