Sour Susie: When negative attack ads backfire

There is a a truism about negative attack ads…they must be truthful. Kevin Rudd and Labour have had a massive push back over their “Sour Susie” ads:

It turns out that “Sour Susie” is an actress and not a real concerned mum, and that her lifestyle is afar different from that portrayed in the advert.

THE actress mother hired to bag Tony Abbott in a negative Labor TV ad campaign actually lives with her parents, enjoying their gourmet food and wines, while whingeing about the price of Spanish handmade tiles. 

Susannah Hardy is being paid by Labor to pretend she fears cutbacks from an Abbott government while, in real life, undertaking expensive renovations to her dream Sydney home, complete with a “stylish stainless steel dishwasher that only makes 42 decibels of noise”…

Her agent said yesterday Hardy, who also writes articles about kitchens and bathrooms for glossy home magazines, lives in Paddington, in Sydney’s leafy east.

Her posts on her blog reveal a woman who loves to live with style – rather than fretting about the number of nurses and teachers employed by governments like the hard-working mother she portrays in the attack ad. The 44-year-old boasted on her blog last weekend that her lawyer husband and their two daughters, aged 5 and 2, had been living with her parents for the past 10 weeks while undertaking renovations.

The Daily Telegraph made a parody video of it:

You should never misrepresent details in negative ads. The push back when caught is far worse than any gain you made from running the negative ad in the first place.


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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.  And 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 that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

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

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