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The Image-Makers Unbound: Marketing in the Post-Thatcher Era

  • Margaret Scammell

Abstract

Political presentation in Britain reached a new milestone in the post-Thatcher period ending in the April 1992 general election. This was the most ‘professional’ campaign in British post-war history in that all the main political parties adopted many of the techniques and disciplines associated with political marketing. Labour offered, after 1987, the most ostentatious example in post-war history of a party remodelling its product in line with market research. The Tories ran a consciously marketing-inspired ‘branding’ exercise to distance Major’s party from Kinnock’s. The Liberal Democrats, guided by the pressure group veteran Des Wilson, mounted a highly disciplined communications campaign, in total contrast to the muddled shambles of 1987.

Keywords

Vote Share Opinion Poll Presidential Campaign Campaign Manager Political Marketing 
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Notes

  1. 3.
    See Holli Semetko et al., The Formation of Campaign Agendas (1991) for a comparative analysis of party and media roles in recent American and British elections.Google Scholar
  2. 7.
    See A. Heath et al., Labour’s Last Chance (1994). P. Clifford and A. Heath argue that the campaign made little difference and that there was a systematic bias in favour of Labour in the opinion polls throughout the campaign.Google Scholar
  3. 13.
    See D. Butler and D. Kavanagh, The British General Election of 1992 (1992) p. 27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 15.
    John Jenkins (ed.), John Major: Prime Minister (1990) p. 7.Google Scholar
  5. 18.
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  6. 29.
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  7. 30.
    See, for example, Michael Cassell, ‘Hard left softened up as party leadership scents better times’, in Financial Times, 3 October 1989.Google Scholar
  8. 36.
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  9. 37.
    Quoted in Ivo Dawney, ‘Mirror cracks as the Left regards its voters’, Financial Times, 11 June 1992.Google Scholar
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    Stephen Ingle, ‘The Liberal Democrats and the 1992 Election’, a paper presented to the PSA conference on the 1992 election, University of Essex, 18 September 1992.Google Scholar
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    See, for example, Tony Benn, The End of an Era: Diaries 1980–1990 (1992); Heffernan and Marqusee, op. cit.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Margaret Scammell 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret Scammell
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Politics and Communication StudiesUniversity of LiverpoolUK

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