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Labour isn't working - billboard 1978

This poster is often cited as being instrumental in the fall of James Callaghan's Labour administration, and certainly changed the way political advertising was done in the UK. It launched the brothers Saatchi's advertising agency kingdom and put Margaret Thatcher in power. All of this was done with a pun! Or play on words, if you prefer.

Ad agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Art Director: Martyn Walsh
Copywriter: Andrew Rutherford

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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Warren Davies's picture

Let's not get carried away here.

The country had just been through the Winter of Discontent where the unions brought the country to it's knees.

The Conservatives needed only to present a credible alternative, which they did. S&S made a decent contribution to that but let's not kid ourselves about the role of advertising in the election result. There was a monumental shift to the right by Britons in the late 70s. The Conservatives simply tapped into this.

Good ad though.

Dabitch's picture

Sure sure, advertising alone never elected anyone - but aggressive advertising like this hadn't been done in political advertising in the UK prior, so that was new.

Saatchi made a mint, but they were founded back in September 1970 with one million pounds, so it's not as if they were hurting before the conservative party hired them for this gig. In 1978 Saatchi & Saatchi was the largest ad agency in the UK. Then they got bigger.

kidsleepy's picture

Conservatives may have tapped in to it, but unless you utilize the message properly it doesn't matter. Hey, remember when we in America were told Vote As If Your Life Depends On It? Yup. Don't forget, advertising works in exactly the same way as propaganda because they are cut from the same cloth. The more times you see a message, the more its reinforced.