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Voters likely to reward passion, not silly slogans

By Neil Lawrence - posted Thursday, 22 July 2010

Things generally continue the way they start out.

If that's the case, we're in for a long and painful 2010 election advertising campaign.

The degree of comment from journalists and the public alike on the campaign slogans, advertising and rhetoric in the first week of the campaign is unprecedented. None of it has been remotely flattering.


Keating speechwriter and author Don Watson wanted to hand in his ALP membership card five minutes into the campaign. "Moving forward," he said, is "a lump of dead meat ripped straight from the corporate world".

He can only be grateful they didn't make it "Moving forward together into the future".

On Monday's The 7.30 Report on ABC1, it looked for a moment that Kerry O'Brien would go down on his knees to beg Gillard to not keep repeating "moving forward".

His discomfort wasn't, one suspects, just because he couldn't imagine enduring the pain of 30 more days of this, but more because he knows there is something much better on offer.

When you hear Gillard speak from her heart and about ideas she genuinely believes in, she is charismatic and convincing.

I'm assured the same is true of Tony Abbott. His passionate if slightly erratic performance since becoming leader struck a real chord, at least with his own base, and was spreading.


But seen through the filter of their launch commercials and slogans, both Abbott and Gillard are cardboard cut-outs. Dull, uninspired, uninspiring.

It's worth pondering for a moment what the slogans reveal about the upcoming campaign.

At their best, slogans capture the core strategy of a campaign - the main dividing line and battleline on which the parties seek to differentiate themselves and fight it out.

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First published in The Australian on July 21, 2010.

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About the Author

Neil Lawrence is the founder of Lawrence Creative Strategy and executive creative director of STW. He was the creative mind behind the Kevin07 campaign, credited with helping Kevin Rudd win the 2007 federal election.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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