Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Anatomy of a Political Poster: Miliband in Salmond’s Pocket

By Benedict Pringle

The first feature of a good political poster is the presence of intellectual clarity.

Achieving intellectual clarity might sound like a simple task. However, when you consider that the accepted rule of thumb for the length of a poster headline is 8 words, the job becomes more daunting. Have you ever tried to make a compelling argument on a complex issue using fewer than 8 words?

What makes the poster featuring Ed Miliband in Alex Salmond’s pocket so impressive from an advertising perspective is that they have managed to bring to life the possibility that a vote for Labour could help usher the SNP into Downing St without even using a headline.

The second feature of a good political poster is the creative impact.

The Conservatives have got everything right in this regard, brilliantly juxtaposing two characters to create a deeply provocative image.

They have made Salmond look powerful and authoritative by dressing him in a sharp blue suit and matching tie. His facial expression is calm (even smug) and comfortable; have they perhaps retouched his skin to make it look like he’s arrived back from a holiday in warmer climes?

Miliband on the other hand is made to seem like a young, confused boy. He carries a stupefied facial expression and is wearing a white shirt that looks like it has been washed too many times, paired with a Just William-style tie.

In a world where almost anyone can make something that resembles a campaign poster it can be easy to devalue the skill required to create a brilliant piece of political advertising.

But craft and care has gone into this execution. They have delicately balanced a huge number of variables and in doing so have produced the most memorable political poster for over a decade.

Benedict Pringle is a political advertising obsessive; it’s an unhealthy fascination with the grubbiest part of the dirtiest business. He writes the blog politicaladvertising.co.uk which analyses political advertising from around the globe and regularly appears in the media as a commentator on political marketing.

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