Meet the hardest-working family in British politics
Stock photo shot turns up in Tory ad campaign – and on Danone yoghurt vouchers, a Christian home-schooling CD, and posters for cod-liver oil and a rather retro-looking poster for a Spanish dentist
The Conservatives' new online ad campaign starts with a question: "Who do you think this Government should give more support to?" The gif file then cuts to an image of a family with Von Trapp good looks and teeth that dazzle, and the caption "hard-working families". We then see a single man with a goatee sitting, feet up, on a sofa – the words "or people who won't work" hovering, malignly, like a thundercloud above his head.
The imagery is meant to bring into stark relief the difference between those with their noses to the grindstone and those with their noses in the Radio Times' daytime TV schedule – and, of course, convince us that the Government's way is the right way. Only problem is, both these pictures are stock images, model-posed photos acquired from photo agencies, which causes a few problems for CCHQ's latest.
For it seems that the "family" in the ad is very hardworking – almost excessively so. One feels one ought to tell them to put their feet up, as they are not just putting in the hours for the Tories – but also on Danone yoghurt vouchers and a Christian home-schooling CD, on a poster enumerating the benefits of cod-liver oil and on a rather retro-looking poster for a Spanish dentist.
The ubiquitous family was spotted by Simon Briggs, an app developer, who started a Tumblr page dedicated to their toing-and-froing yesterday morning (hardworkingtoryfamily.tumblr.com). "It looked so obviously like a stock photo, so amateur, that I thought it would be amusing to see who else had used the image," Briggs says. "So I had a look on Google image." By 3pm yesterday he'd found 20 adverts. He will not, he says, be voting Tory.
Of course, this is not the first time stock pictures in a party's ad has left politicos red-faced. The Republicans in the US have rather a monopoly on this type of thing. Mitt Romney's eerie "praire fire of debt" poster was also used in an Organic Valley butter ad and a Republican "who shares your values" video featured the same stained glass windows as a Why Be Catholic DVD. Closer to home, in 2009, a BNP poster featuring an elderly couple, a doctor and three workmen who were all apparently voting BNP, turned out actually to be an Italian couple, an American actor and three American models. None of them could vote in the UK.
It is puzzling that the Conservative Party, with its legion of spin doctors and former ad men, fell into the same trap. Neil Christie, of the agency Wieden + Kennedy, says it's the name of the game: "We always try to avoid using stock imagery in campaigns where possible, as the creative is always more relevant. If unavoidable (for budgetary reasons) we'd request previous-use information."
They may be cut-rate then and they may produce a high shiny-teeth quotient in your ads, but unless you want your "voters" to look like they strive so much they are doing shifts PRing dental clinics all over Spain – stock pictures are best left out of the political discourse.
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 4 Julian Assange and Edward Snowden join piracy mogul Kim Dotcom’s political campaign in New Zealand
Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
Jihadi John': MI5 may have identified Isis militant who killed David Haines but options limited
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: Police will be on high alert on Friday whatever the result
David Haines beheading: David Cameron says Britain will hunt down Isis 'monsters' shown in video murdering aid worker
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke
£45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...
£25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are cur...
£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project...
£350 - £425 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project Manager - 3 mont...