Remain camp turn to negative ad gurus M&C Saatchi for final push
Agency that devised devastating 'Pocket Miliband' ad will help David Cameron again.
The official campaign to keep Britain in the European Union is preparing a lethal advertising offensive in the final weeks before the referendum. But who could front such a drive?
For the all-important work, David Cameron appears to have selected an old friend.
M&C Saatchi has been hired by The Britain Stronger In Europe campaign to showcase its messages in the crucial final six weeks of the campaign.
The agency and its founders have 35 years of experience working with the Conservatives. And for years the firm has helped the Tories by expertly exploiting opponents’ weaknesses.
M&C Saatchi devised the "pocket Miliband" ad last year, depicting Ed Miliband in the pocket of ex-SNP leader Alex Salmond. The poster fuelled voters’ fear of a Labour-SNP alliance and amplified comments by Cameron that "you could end up with a Labour government led by Ed Miliband, propped up by Alex Salmond and the Scottish National party".
M&C Saatchi also came up with the infamous 1996 ad ‘Demon Eyes’, which aimed to fuel fears that Tony Blair was dishonest and insincere. The advert failed to prevent a Labour landslide in 1997, but was still said to have made Blair's character a legitimate subject of debate in the election.
Meanwhile, the agency’s forerunner, Saatchi & Saatchi, famously created 'Labour isn’t working' in 1979. It is now widely seen as the one of the most brutally effective British political advertising campaigns ever - and the gold standard by which political ads are now judged.
The appointment of M&C Saatchi was revealed this morning by the respected advertising industry title, Campaign.
Tom Firth, M&C Saatchi’s managing director, told the magazine that the work would highlight both the "powerful positive reasons for staying in Europe" and the "real dangers of Britain leaving the EU".
Britain Stronger In Europe had previously used agencies including Adam & Eve/DDB, which created its name and launch film.