Some reactions to Labour’s Dave the Chameleon attack ad…
Ann Treneman, The Times:
"The Labour Party has taken this small, not to say tiny, idea and gone
berserk. You think I exaggerate, but yesterday I attended the launch of
Labour’s party political broadcast, which is a cartoon called “Dave the
Chameleon”… It was a themed press conference planned with the same
obsessive attention to detail as those parties organised by Starsky and
Hutch fanatics. To fit in, you needed to be dressed as a lounge lizard
or at least know how to shed your skin. There were Dave the Chameleon
DVDs, mugs, drink mats and T-shirts… Is it just me or is this a new
David Cameron: "Labour are clearly showing that they have run out of steam, run out of ideas, run out of positive things to contribute either at the local level or the national level."
Labour MP Peter Kilfoyle: "Peter Kilfoyle, a former Labour minister, accused party chiefs of making a serious mistake in going ahead with the advert. I do not believe in negative advertising and I think experience shows us that it is usually counter-productive," he said. "I think people are sick and tired of negative campaigning. It is an import from America which we could well do without." (Quoted in The Telegraph).
Dennis Kavanagh, professor in politics at Liverpool University and an expert on political communications, is more positive. "You can’t put something into political consciousness. Adverts work when they go with the grain; when they work with something that already exists – and there is evidence to show people do have these doubts about Cameron and an absence of policies. "The second thing about good ads is that to make them memorable they engage people’s emotions – and one of the best is humour. It’s the best form of negativism because it’s not seen as negative." (Quoted in The Guardian).
Mark Lawson, The Guardian:
"In a voiceover larded with sarcasm, Dave the chameleon is presented as
a creature entirely without principle. The only words heard from the
Culture Club hit Karma Chameleon, which plays on the soundtrack, are:
"I’m a man of no convictions." This is quite as personally vicious a
commercial as the "Fagin" poster Labour ran against Michael Howard last
year. The only difference – and an interesting one – is that it is
nasty about his niceness rather than, as with Howard, his nastiness."
Unoriginalname38, Labour blogger: "It mentioned not one policy. When I say not one policy, I don’t mean that it refrained from mentioning Labour policies and attacked the policies of other parties. It didn’t even mention the BNP, which even Margaret Hodge seems to think important… It does not surprise me that people don’t vote, let alone for Labour, when the best we can do is a cartoon chameleon that doesn’t say anything."
Deficient brain blog: "Neo-Labour spends ill-gotten gains on crummy ads".
Roy Smith, 66, an overseas property consultant, was "appalled" by the broadcast and telephoned the BBC to complain. He said: "It was the most appalling piece of negative campaigning I have ever witnessed. It was just personal criticism against one man. There wasn’t a single mention of Labour policy." (Again, quoted in The Telegraph).