Ad watch – Crackers on the ads blitz

Sunday, 30 September 2007 

There is of course nothing especially wrong with a government running ads to promote its programme.

The fact that Howard needed to spend so much selling what has been an exceptionally limited programme more highlights the weak consensus the government has had over its eleven years that would emerge in its regular mid-term polling slumps. The increasing use of such advertising by both Liberal and Labor governments over recent years indicates that governments are less coming to power with a mandate than needing to create one when in office.

For Rudd to get away with saying that the government’s campaigns are an attack on democracy (rather than part of it) is a sign of strength of the anti-politics mood that has caused problems for the government on issues such as Kirribilli entertaining and the use of aircraft. For someone supposedly so politically astute, Howard has been tone deaf to the agenda behind these attacks on what are really just normal government practice. It especially makes the government appear out of touch to interrupt coverage of what are the year’s most popular sporting events with ads trying to sell unpopular policies.

Labor’s use of sporting personalities to attack the ads avoids the charge that it is playing politics with its own ads. When Crackers says “Grand finals are about playing footy, not playing politics” it encapsulates the anti-politics theme that is likely to be core to Labor’s election strategy and to which the government has still not found an answer. The only problem is, what will happen when Rudd will inevitably need to sell his own programme as well?

Posted by The Piping Shrike on Sunday, 30 September 2007.

Filed under Tactics

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