Thursday, August 19, 2010

Rules for you don't apply to me

I'm already having withdrawal symptoms. No more election adverts as the blackout descends upon us. There's peace in our TV time. The war between 'phony Tony' and 'real Julia' is silent. No need for the NBN now, as we don't have to rush images of the two protagonists quickly around Australia with gigabit efficiency.

We can now sit and ponder, as the battle moves to the editorial pages and - God forbid! - our local shopping centre, did anyone think that Tony would have been on a winner if he'd promised to "Stop the adverts!"? Promise to stop meddling with Julia's hair which, according to Liberal Party advertising images, remains unmoved as here eyes and head swivel underneath it. And move to prevent any further images of his own, sepia, wild-eyed stare in Labor's adverts.

And what about banning the designer-daubed construction worker in Labor's ads, who uses the boss's time to promote the employment-saving benefits of the government stimulus package? I wondered whether the building site behind him was one of those sites where a house burned down due to dodgy insulation. "You've lost my vote Mr Abbott." he proclaims, raising the question as whether Neilsen or one of the other pollsters remembered to include this negative for the Libs into their latest figures.

And in the blue corner, the Libs counter with footage of a train wreck from the steam era - a methaphor for Labor's poor economic management, or am I thick and missing the point? Don't be surprised if this is recycled in a few months' time by the Victorian Libs in their campaign about the plight of public transport.

You see, the withdrawal symptoms are evident. I actually remember all this stuff and even think about it when I'm officially blacked out. Why do I remember it? Because it's so laughable. I guess humour is emotional engagement of a kind, the thing all of us who promote brands strive for.

Perhaps in financial services, we should use train wrecks as metaphors for the state of your finances post-GFC, or images of rebuilding to represent the scramble to recoup your retirement savings in the later years of your working life. Of course, we'd have to include a lengthy disclaimer along the lines of "this image may or may not reflect the state of your personal finances".

It's amazing what you can get away with in some spheres of marketing communications and not others. But perhaps not so when you realise that politicians set the rules for marketing and disclosure, with one key exemption - themselves!

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