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What if political ads couldn’t lie?

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16 May | ADNEWS

DDB Sydney chief creative officer Ben Welsh examines how different political advertising might be if parties were forced to abide by the same rules as brands and agencies.

“The trouble with their car is that the wheels will fall off as soon as you drive away.”

“You can’t trust their numbers. They say it’s economical, but they’ve always made gas guzzlers.”

“Our cars are better. They’re made better. Look better and last better.”

Imagine if car advertising was like political advertising. Rival marques throwing mud at each other, making defamatory claims, creating an environment where anyone looking for a new car might be tempted to get the bus.

Fortunately, car advertising has to abide by a set of rules that discourage such behaviour, so it tends to highlight the positive attributes of the car. And every year, we happily buy close to one million new vehicles.

Back to political advertising which seems to have no effective rules whatsoever. You can promise what you want with no real evidence. You can deride your rivals and re-invent your past achievements. You can promise things so far ahead you have no idea if they are deliverable.

Every three years we go through this circus. Every three years we are forced to make a choice. Every round of it makes us trust the mud-slingers even less.

I suspect that if political advertising was subject to the same rules as regular advertising, we would trust the parties more.

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