Lord Ashcroft calls Conservative’s new poster a juvenile waste of money

I saw the new Conservative Party poster campaign, ‘Labour isn’t learning’, on Saturday morning and thought it was a poor and confused ad. Not to mention a clunky Photoshop way of trying to highlight Labour’s economic plans.

Negative ads can be very powerful, although this makes little sense, and I doubt that this ad, created by M&C Saatchi, means anything much to the public who are faced the lack of growth and austerity measures of the coalition, but then I would say that.

Besides the weak echoes of the classic “Labour isn’t working” are just that. New Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps must try harder.

If they wanted a campaign they should have focused purely on Ed Miliband and what he does or does not stand for. That is, as all the polls and reports suggest, Labour’s problem area.

But don’t take my word for it. Former Tory party chairman writing on Conservative Home calls the ad a juvenile waste of money.

“It is not clear how much the Conservative Party has paid M&C Saatchi to come up with the daft poster, unveiled over the weekend, depicting Ed Miliband and Ed Balls as gormless schoolboys under the slogan ‘Labour Isn’t Learning’. Nor do I know how much it cost to hire the ad van to drive the thing pointlessly around Manchester. What I do know is that if I had recently donated funds to the Tories I would be asking what on earth CCHQ thought it was doing with my money.

“Political operatives like to say knowingly that negative campaigning works. As I have pointed out more than once before, I doubt that it works anything like as well as they say: people make their own minds up about politicians, and heavily discount what their opponents say about them. But even if you think attacking the other side can be effective, can anyone seriously think that of a poster like this?

“The two approaches to the economy and the deficit offered by Labour and the Conservatives are the central divide in politics upon which the next election campaign will be fought. The figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies suggesting Labour would borrow £200 billion more than the Tories helps to illuminate the debate, and CCHQ can help ensure that reporters and commentators are well aware of them. Papers inclined to question Labour’s credentials on the economy will have extra ammunition to make their case. The facts are potentially powerful, but it is hard to see how this juvenile Photoshopping could do anything other than make ordinary voters roll their eyes in despair,” Lord Ashcroft writes on ConHome.