We can’t go on like this…
(Or: why we won’t be spoofing the next Conservative poster)
By Clifford Singer, Of MyDavidCameron.com
Oh, those naughty Tories. Stealing our ideas about co-ops (and messing them up in the process) was bad enough. But stealing our ideas about spoof posters (and messing them up in the process) is simply unpardonable.
Shortly after we spoofed the first Tory election poster, I acknowledged that this project had a limited shelf-life. And so the fact that the Tories are now trying to get in on the joke can only suggest one thing: we’ve reached our sell-by date.
At the start, we weren’t even sure we were going to take our spoofs beyond the first poster. But when that ridiculous tombstone appeared, we just couldn’t resist. And then when Tory bloggers promised the latest campaign would be “unspoofable” – well, how could we say no? We’ve also been overwhelmed by the support and activity that’s gone on all over the internet, from the 38 pages of spoofs on Mumsnet to the work of people like Andy Barefoot, creator of our poster generators, and talented graphic artist Beau Bo D’Or. In the six weeks since we launched, we’ve had more than 250,000 unique visitors and received more than 1,500 posters.
So why stop now? Here are three reasons:
- The spoofs have a life of their own. Within minutes of the most recent “I’ve never voted Tory” posters arriving, there were several other websites and Facebook groups putting up their own parodies, and a highly popular Twitter campaign using the hashtag #ivenevervotedtory
- The law of diminishing returns. So far, we’ve been impressed – and surprised – by the high quality of contributions throughout the second and third poster campaigns. But the idea may start to feel tired if we keep doing the same thing each time round.
- The danger of playing into Tory hands. Some right-wing commentators, including Ian Dale and Tim Montgomerie, have suggested that we benefit Cameron by spreading his posters virally – irrespective of our anti-Tory spin. I’ve explained previously why I disagree – and it’s been pleasing to see our spoofs coincide with a shift in the political mood away from Cameron, as the Tories repeatedly blunder and come under greater media scrutiny. But Dale and Montgomerie could become right over time: as the mock posters become more ubiquitous – and everyone and their dog joins in – our anti-Tory message may become more blunted.
This last point is pure conjecture – on both our part and theirs (and if the right really think our parodies are so ineffective, why are they so keen to imitate us?). So I’m certainly not suggesting that the ad spoofs cease – and we’ll happily promote those sites that display them (although, utilising MyDavidCameron’s new-found authority to sound like a patronising uncle, I would advise those doing it on the left to ensure the parodies stay funny and politically sharp – and leave the nasty stuff to our opponents).
But for us it’s time to move on. We’ve got a few ideas up our sleeves but they are still highly confidential (aka they’re still so half-baked that we can’t really put them into words). In the meantime, be sure to vote for your favourite posters – we’ll be showcasing the best on our revamped home page soon, and we still have some great unpublished spoofs waiting to go live. And please do use the comments form below to let us know your thoughts on what we’ve done so far, what we should do next, and on the wider issues around online campaigning.
Posted 19 February 2010, 11.50am