The ad Ansell wanted run

There is much being written about ACTs ads of the weekend with every whinger known to man complaining about the ad being racist. If you read the words of the ad, which I suspect many haven’t it isn’t racist.

Was the as wise, or smart? Hell no. For a start it was too wordy. As I blogged yesterday it had all the hallmarks of an advert that had been cut and pasted by a committee and then had every line debated as to syntax by extremely pedantic people.

The worst thing for creative people is to sit in hours long campaign meetings debating over the nuances of a single words. This is what has happened here. No wonder John Ansell has gone on a bender.

I’m not justifying or excusing Ansell’s action, I think they are silly and petulant. He should have just quietly departed and gone and done something else and left ACT to Boscawen’s war of attrition against Don Brash.

Don Brash made what could well be a politically fatal error after his coup and didn’t bullet a few people to set an example. Instead he wanted to show that he could be nice. Now some of the people he should have got rid of, like Chris Simmons are sitting on the campaign committee debating to death every message, every line and every tactic.

ACT has all the hallmarks of having an extremely tactical campaign planned, without an over-arching strategy and it all comes down to having a cumbersome campaign committee where the fundraisers is also the one in charge.

John Banks should be alert to the problems presented by that scenario, it cost him the mayoralty, and now ACT looks set to repeat that mistake. John Boscawen is a great fundraiser, however he is a tits campaign strategist and a worse advertising expert. The ad that ACT ran on Saturday doesn’t have any of the hallmarks of John Ansell but sure as hell looks like it was written and debated to death by John Boscawen. I have obtained the ad that John Ansell wanted to run, still with Boscawen’s lengthy, boring discourse but with a different headline.

maorification, John Ansell ad

It is still too wordy, it still smacks of John Boscawen’s excessive verbosity but delivers so much better what ACT was trying to say.

Political advertising should be simple. Unfortunately for ACT John Boscawen’s penchant is to use 5000 words when just 5 would suffice. ACT should have listened to the grizzled staffers like Brian Nicolle. Instead they have allowed the Wellington office staffers to knee-cap and now white-ant their campaign. This isn’t what Don Brash would have wanted, but it is what John Boscawen is delivering as he seeks to run an insurgency against the occupation of Brash.

ACT is toxic, it isn’t a party. That is Don Brash’s biggest error. Thinking ACT was a mature party with robust internal processes.It isn’t. It is full of petulant, decidedly average, political numpties. We know this because Brash was able to roll over the top of them inside a week.

Unless something drastic is done ACT will flounder around embarrassingly until their eventual death on November 26. Don Brash needs to follow his instincts and do something instead of prevaricating.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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