Friday, June 24, 2022

In defence of the Lib Dems' door

Here are Ed Davey and Richard Foord, the newly elected Liberal Democrat MP for Tiverton and Honiton, showing Boris Johnson the door.

I've seen a lot of criticism of this stunt on Twitter today: it is "cringe"; would you believe someone thought this was a good idea? That sort of thing.

But it has worked. The video above come from Sky News and there's a similar one on the BBC News site.

For a while this afternoon a photo of our door led the Guardian's online coverage of yesterday's by-elections.

But then what was their alternative? A couple of people few would recognise looking happy? A couple more such people looking unhappy?

There's only so many pictures of people holding orange diamonds that anyone can stand.

We have learnt that the media need engaging images and that if you help them get those images then you have more chance of getting coverage, even favourable coverage.

One thing that struck me during the EU referendum was how much better the Leave campaign was at staging events and stunts that appealed to the media. All we had to offer was George Osborne threatening to put your taxes up.

And when the Remain campaign finally woke up - sadly this was just after the referendum had taken place - we were still poor at providing the media with good images and footage.

What we gave them was lots and lots of people marching. And when they failed to screen much footage of that marching, we yelled about their bias rather than ask ourselves what we could do that might appeal to them more.

Now we do provide the media with good images. So much so that the media have come to look for them.

What stunt the Lib Dems will put on becomes a live question to them in the last days of the campaign if it looks like we're going to win.

And if there is a slight cheesiness to what we offer, that is part of its appeal. These post-victory stunts have become the Lib Dems' Eurovision.


nigel hunter said...

When can we have a stunt re Johnsons hiding in the fridge!? I note he does seem to be conveniently 'out of the country' when problems arise ,cue Rwanda.

Jonathan Calder said...

I think he will soon wish he was back in Britain, but how many people would get the fridge reference?

Matt Pennell said...

I've written to Head Office with various suggestions for celebratory stunts involving falconry, pyrotechnics and heavily-modded hovercraft.

I got a lovely handwritten note back from Ed Davey, "I can see you're a friend of freedom Matt. We're all friends of freedom here, however unlike you I believe in a freedom we can trust."

This goes a long way to explaining why none of the stunts have involved power tools or the mixing of potassium with water yet.

Phil Beesley said...

Typography "experts" across the UK have condemned the font used in this stunt.

The design of characters in a set is a typeface, not a font.

When a character is reduced or enlarged in size, it may be altered and may not necessarily be a geometric match. A typeface may possess a variant (sub-family) -- bold, italic, extended -- thus part of the family. Type is created in different sizes.

A font is the sum of typeface family, sub-family and size; an instance.

I blame Apple. Back in 1983 they chose the labels Font and FOND as typographic labels, and we're stuck with an old mistake.
Some Liberal Democrats are stuffy about "cheesy" campaign techniques. Cheese works. Cheesy adverts support thousands of companies, mostly the small outfits which Lib Dems encourage.

Anonymous said...

A quiet word about the typeface, if I may. Yes, it's a variant of Comic Sans, and it's all the better for that. As we all know, all Lib Dem activists are graduates from leading Universities who all read the Guardian, but please spare a thought for some of the electorate who might have comparatively limited literacy skills. The typeface used is the one primary school children are taught to write - and accordingly, everyone can read it. Although it doesn't appear in that slogan, the use of the letter "a" in Comic Sans (and its variants) is just the style of letter which people write when printing in lower case - all other typefaces have their letter "a" with a curly top, a funny tail at the end etc. Rest assured, even if that slogan didn't appeal to your sense of aesthetics, it will have been legible to people seeing it on television and social media.

Matt Pennell said...

I have it on good authority that the typeface used is the same as the one in Peppa Pig. So this is a sly, knowing dig at the UK's best-known Peppa Pig World fan, our oily tick of a Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Reassuring to know we, as a party, are following the kind of discourse that takes place between friends up and down the UK.

Anonymous said...

A week since this by-election and people are still sharing images and memes about Tiverton & Honiton around the world. By contrast, pics of Keir 'don't call me boring' Starmer and the guy that won in that other place are already yellowing in the dustbin. I'd love to see the killjoys explain that away

Anonymous said...

It's my contention that people being sniffy about the visual stunts really don't get the Lib Dems. There will always be an instinctive gravitation towards the quirky and off-beat, though hopefully not in a way that alienates Middle England. These gimmicks and devices, you see the eccentricities adding to the appeal of The Timelords/Justified Ancients of Mu Mu/KLF. It's part of our pop culture, I can't imagine Ice-T, Ice Cube or Janet Jackson having a laugh with an ice-cream van - can you?