Blue vs. Red: National fires first campaign shot, Labour takes to TV—UPDATED

We’ve already seen the foundations of Labour’s election campaign, with a policy focus on no asset sales and the implementation of a capital gains tax. National decided to hold off its launch until the conclusion of the RWC and, while it has erected plenty of hoardings around the country, all of them featuring both the candidate and the man many deem to be the nation’s first celebrity prime minister, it soft-launched its campaign this week with a campaign featuring stop-go men wearing blue and red stating ‘This year the choice is clear’. 

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An online banner on nzherald.co.nz ran on Tuesday and a TVC featuring a song by The Feelers was launched tonight. As for who’s created it, all is silent on the National front. Generally it doesn’t use a big agency, preferring to use a collection of freelancers and smaller suppliers instead (it used The Pond’s freelancers for its last successful campaign). Sue Worthington, who spent five years with The Pond and is now creative director of reasonably fresh indie Indiego, and The Pond’s Barnaby Lawrence said they have received a number of calls from journalists asking if they were responsible for National’s campaign, but neither are involved this time.

National’s campaign manager Jo De Joux didn’t tell us who was responsible and put us onto the press secretary of campaign chair Steven Joyce. She didn’t tell us either and, after a request for an interview with Joyce about the thinking behind the campaign, she said: “I’m sorry but he won’t be available for this between now and the election. Happy to talk again afterwards.”

According to nzherald.co.nz, National is set to hold its campaign launch on Sunday in Auckland and, unsurprisingly and in typically US presidential election style, the focus is expected to be on John Key (but not on his awkward three-way handshake).

Labour is thought to be shunning the traditional big campaign launch and opting for a series of small launches focusing on specific policies. Unlike National (or Labour during the Helen Clark years), Goff won’t be shown on any billboards, with the party opting to concentrate on policy instead.

He will, however, feature in Labour’s TV ads, which were created by the team comprised of String Theory, Image Centre Group, Dr Jane Cherrington, ex-BCG2 Health bod Sarah Norrie and Nick Barnes.

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Seven ads have been made and the first is set to go to air tonight. In it, Goff is filmed in front of Meridian Energy’s dam at Lake Benmore talking about the perils of asset sales and finishes with the line already seen on some of the billboards (and also in David Cunliffe’s animated explanation of Labour’s policies) “when you’re in a hole, you don’t sell your ladder”.

Several of the ads are also animated, with one featuring the line “Vote National and kiss your assets goodbye”. But none of them are as good as San Francisco mayor candidate Ed Lee’s election ad.

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