Political Advertising Swells Media Coffers

By Paul McCann Media Correspondent | The Independent (London, England), March 21, 1997 | Go to article overview
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Political Advertising Swells Media Coffers


Paul McCann Media Correspondent, The Independent (London, England)


Up to pounds 5m in political advertising is set to flow into the media's coffers during the general election campaign from pressure groups and trade unions seeking to define the election's agenda without actually telling the electorate how to vote.

Labour's pounds 3m advertising fund for the election has been almost doubled by non-party advertisers who promote policies sympathetic to the party.

Advertising from the TUC, the National Union of Teachers and the public service union Unison will amount to more than pounds 2m by the time the election campaign finishes. In addition, the Dunblane Snowdrop Petition announced last week that it was spending pounds 1m on cinema advertisements to get the total hand gun ban that the Labour Party supports. The three trade union campaigns, which use poster hoardings, cinemas and newspapers nation-wide, highlight issues such as class sizes and employee rights which the Labour Party won't cover in its own advertising. "The campaigns are independent of each other," says a source close to the Labour Party's advertising. "Obviously they are helpful, but Labour wouldn't necessarily follow those themes if the unions didn't." The party denies it co-ordinates advertising with the unions even although Unison shares its advertising agency, BMP DDB, with Labour. Also likely to prove helpful to the Labour Party are campaigns such as Rock The Vote, which is targeting first-time voters, and Operation Black Vote, which aims to get black and Asian voters out in 50 key seats.

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