Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Election 2004: Week 1

Last week our esteemed lying bastard of a Prime Minister took a drive down to visit the Governor General and to let him know that on the following day he would notify both houses of an election on October the 9th and how nice it would be if the old boy would prorouge them. It's a nice bit of ceremony that actually has no real purpose. The journos have been acting like blow flies around a week old roo carcass down at Yarralumla for a while now and they must be glad that particular stakeout is over. However they now have a very long one ahead of them.

Every election campaign is a bloody war of attrition and Howard is really pushing the envelope by going for a six week window. It also seems an odd strategy for the campaign to run alongside both the AFL and NRL finals, but it could be an absolute piece of genius. I'll get into that later on in the campaign though. Today I want to talk about the meeja.

Since 1pm on Sunday afternoon last week the media outlets around the country started calling in staffers, stringers and consultants from across the country. The biggest decision of the campaign needed to be made by the media outlets. Not which party they would back and provide positive spin for. Not which journo they would feature to cover the campaign. Not which staff got which party to follow. They needed to make a decision far more important than those.

They needed to decide what the logo graphic would be for Election 2004.

If you watched any news broadcast, current affairs show or opened any newspaper or magazine this morning then I guarantee you would have seen coverage about the election. And above the headlines or the head of the presenter there would have been a graphic or logo proudly pronouncing that this report, or page, was about the election. Those graphics are the result of hours spent with focus groups and psychologists to come up with the best colours, fonts and diagrams all depending on the message the media outlet wants to deliver. You hmay have your doubts but these little things can make or break the opportunity to capture an audience.

Millions have been spent.

Rumours are that News Ltd went to Saatchi & Saatchi with a deal for all of their media outlets, the Packers tried something different and contracted Weta Digital, SBS went to the local TAFE and ABC used a preschool class with a 20 year old mac computer.

To me SBS is currently leading the race but the retro seventies colour squares on the 7:30 report are starting to grow on me. The biggest disappointment of the campaign is our local Canberra Times. Their innovative logo for the federal election? Blue text. That’s it. Blue text with the election date. Pathetic effort Canberra Times. Guess they used up their creative talent on the ‘new-look’ paper.

In the next six weeks I'm going to look at the options, measure up the contenders, dissect the policies, bludgeon the electorate and deliver a survival guide for polling day.

GBU HQ does Election 2004.

Can someone make me a graphic?


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