Monday, May 22, 2006

Truth, Lies and Conservatism

Another day, another apparently vacuous announcement from Mr Cameron. But, after reading Truth, Lies and Advertising - I've got him figured.

Say you wanted to sell more milk (this really is relevant - bear with me). You figure there are people already using milk, and there are people using no milk. It's easier to sell more milk to people using milk already than convincing people who don't currently use milk to change their habits. But, unfortunately, milk just isn't fashionable. People associate milk with childhood and it's something that they discard in adulthood for fizzy pop, alcohol, etc. Now, what Jon Steel did next was to research with focus groups. He found that people take milk for granted, they associate milk with food products (like biscuits) but running out of milk is a bad thing. So he ran a campaign called 'Got Milk?' which encouraged people who bought milk to ensure they'd stocked up so they didn't run out since biscuits, peanut butter sandwiches and cereal without milk are A BAD THING.

The relevance of milk to the Canadian milk marketing board? Well, voting Tory is socially unacceptable. A bit like going into a trendy bar and ordering a tall milk, shaken and not stirred. But there are quite a lot of people out there who may have voted Tory (obviously) in the past, but don't want to be associated with the Thatcher legacy. It's a lot easier to get those people voting Tory again than it is to convince ferret-carrying blokes wearing flat caps in Burnley to vote Tory for the first time. Solution - get David Cameron to make the Tories trendy. No policies necessary - just get some pop stars and writers associated with your campaign, visit some cool places (literally and metaphorically), drink smoothies publically, talk about music, childcare, recycled nappies and third world action. Hey presto, barrier to Tory voting knocked down. The people who didn't feel comfortable being Tories in a public place can be proud to talk about David Cameron's latest proclamations about work-life balance, happiness and microgeneration. The plan is - at the next election these Tory returners will waft Mr Cameron into office as more and more people get disillusioned with Labour and don't turn out to vote. A triumph for advertising... but not the greatest thing for Britain. After all, would you want the Canadian milk marketing board running your local hospital?


  • At 3:30 pm , Blogger Stephen Glenn said...

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 3:30 pm , Blogger Stephen Glenn said...

    I'll have to check with my inside sources at the hospital but the Canadian Milk Marketing Board might have already been running my local hospital for some time. Especially if the current state of stores is anything to go by.

  • At 6:07 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hmm... what you are advocating is the "million lost Tories" argument that all those people who voted Conservative could be made to come back again. Cameron has actually rejected this - Lord Tebbit is its main advocate.

    Cameron is gunning for a more specific group - that narrow band who now vote Lib Dem or Nu-Labour, or have never voted Conservative.

    One MP has called them the "laminate floor" vote - people who live in Barrat homes with two cars and two kids and for who voting Conservative didn't go with the curtains.

    Might just work too.

  • At 9:44 pm , Blogger Raw Carrot said...

    According to some silly people milk gives you cancer - so it's more than just unfashionable... or


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