Ansell’s talents underemployed

datePosted on 21:29, February 17th, 2009 by Lew

John Ansell, author of the famous and fabulously effective 2005 National party billboard campaign, has been blogging since September last year. As a political communication geek, I kept an eye on his site for the first month or so, but unfortunately neglected it before he published a lot of proofs of material – billboards, banners and newspaper ads for the ACT campaign, and a couple for National, many of which I’d not seen. His services were not in high demand for the 2008 election, but I think they should have been. Regardless of whether you agree with the policy positions these advocate, the point is to convey a message, and I think these do that job admirably. The parties currently outside government have a great deal to learn from those in government in this regard.

Click on this one, my nomination for Most Outrageous NZ Propaganda Image of 2008, for the whole lot. They’re worth it.

Just try to imagine the outcry if it had been hung from the Ghuznee St overpass.

L

13 Responses to “Ansell’s talents underemployed”

  1. Mike on February 18th, 2009 at 08:13

    Most of those are quite effective. He also spells words correctly and uses proper grammar.

  2. Anita on February 18th, 2009 at 08:27

    Mike writes,

    He also spells words correctly and uses proper grammar.

    Don’t set your standards too high! ;-)

  3. StephenR on February 18th, 2009 at 09:39

    I think this one would’ve gone over a lot of people’s heads. Green party word association games played with the general public would probably (?) only bring up ‘smacking’, various environmental-type words, ‘marijuana’ aaaaaaand maybe country of origin labelling, maybe, rather than their pigovian tax policies or anything people would associate with communism… Likewise the click-thorough to the ‘PPTA’ one – I struggle to think of the last time they were in the news for something significant, although there used to be quite a few protests several years ago…

    Underemployed though, yes, certainly a lot of ability.

  4. Lew on February 18th, 2009 at 09:44

    SR,

    I think this one would’ve gone over a lot of people’s heads.

    DFoesn’t matter whether they get it or not – what matters is the core message `Greens = Communists’. That has resonance at a level far deeper than intellect.

    L

  5. StephenR on February 18th, 2009 at 09:48

    DFoesn’t matter whether they get it or not – what matters is the core message `Greens = Communists’. That has resonance at a level far deeper than intellect.

    Fair point – something I should’ve remembered after the discussion about the Greens’ billboards, which have a strong parallel with what you say. However I STILL think it would baffle quite a few people – we associate communism with people with funny accents and large military parades, not a bunch of morris dancing, organic lentil eaters, IMHO.

  6. Tom Semmens on February 18th, 2009 at 09:49

    Josef Goebbels was a genius as well, but that doesn’t mean you should employ him.

  7. Lew on February 18th, 2009 at 10:01

    TS,

    Josef Goebbels was a genius as well, but that doesn’t mean you should employ him.

    Of course it does. The Nazis did, and it was fundamental to their success. If he’s capable of getting your messages across, you’d be a fool not to.

    Condemning the message and its consequences doesn’t necessitate pretending that it wasn’t well-done; to the contrary, there would have been little to fear from the Nazis if they’d not had the brilliant propagandists that they did – Göbbels, Streicher, Riefenstahl, and others. The efficiency with which great propagandists percolate messages out into a polity means their methods – regardless of ideological alignment – should be understood more, not less.

    L

  8. Tom Semmens on February 18th, 2009 at 10:10

    Lew, I don’t understand the point you are trying to make.

    I would argue Ansell is a member of the lunatic fringe – his blog clearly marks him as a hard right wing nut. He might be a RWNJ idiot/savant but I wouldn’t call him talented in the sense he offers anything useful to any political party.

    To my mind, if you are so toxic and divisive and thus marked as untouchable by any political party with pretensions to responsible government as Ansell is then ergo, you are in fact talentLESS?

  9. StephenR on February 18th, 2009 at 10:15

    To my mind, if you are so toxic and divisive and thus marked as untouchable by any political party with pretensions to responsible government as Ansell is then ergo, you are in fact talentLESS?

    Well he did work for ACT on their 08 campaign for a while, but it seems the reason he left is generally accepted as being he wanted a much more concentrated campaign that didn’t involved spreading resources around dozens of no-hoper ACT seat candidates, which clashed with what the others in ACT wanted…he was more than just ‘the billboard guy’.

  10. Lew on February 18th, 2009 at 10:17

    TS,

    To my mind, if you are so toxic and divisive and thus marked as untouchable by any political party with pretensions to responsible government as Ansell is then ergo, you are in fact talentLESS?

    No. You’ve just chosen to exercise your talents in a way which is distasteful to the masses. But why care what they think?

    (Yes; I realise I’m practically quoting The Fountainhead :)

    I think you beg the question of what Ansell intends his talents to be used for.

    L

  11. What would Hayek say on February 18th, 2009 at 10:20

    Another good post Lew and yes I do get the message your putting across. We can learn from others even if we don’t agree with their political perspective.

    For example you may not like the South African style of rugby, but they do seem to win world cups.

    More of this please – its excellent work pointing to examples of effective message communication in politics/advocacy (actually marketing 101 for all aspects of life)

  12. Lew on February 18th, 2009 at 11:53

    WWHS,

    For example you may not like the South African style of rugby, but they do seem to win world cups.

    Whatever would we do without rugby analogies? Yes, this is precisely the point. Thank you.

    L

  13. [...] the last election that even the ACT party — then under the leadership of Rodney Hide — refused to use much of his best work. Thereafter he was picked up by the Coastal Coalition. A less credible gang [...]

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