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Promoting Distrust? A Chronicle of the 2005 British General Election Advertising Campaigns

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Abstract:

This paper focuses on the advertising created for the 2005 British general election battle - specifically the national advertising campaigns for the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties. Rich accounts of their advertising campaigns are given and contrasted with their 2001 advertising campaigns. Our analysis indicates that even though the 2005 election was set against a backdrop of low public trust in politicians and political parties, the advertising was not designed to build trust, principally because of the focus – by Labour and the Conservatives particularly – on denigrating the opposition through attack advertising styles. The paper concludes by reflecting on the increasing use of attack advertising by British political parties and the potential consequences of this on the British democratic process. This article forms part of our wider study on the 2005 election advertising, details of which can be obtained from the authors.

Keywords: ATTACK ADVERTISING; CAMPAIGNS; CONSERVATIVE PARTY; DISTRUST; ELECTIONS; LABOUR PARTY; LIBERAL DEMOCRAT PARTY; POLITICAL ADVERTISING; POLITICAL MARKETING; TRUST

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1362/026725705775194210

Publication date: November 1, 2005

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