September 14, 2007 | Graham

Story Boards

Liberal Campbell Newman used an ancient form of advertising when he successfully ran for Lord Mayor of Brisbane – the billboard. Large pictures of Newman declaring he wouldn’t stand for "gridlock" dominated Brisbane’s arterial roads. He was everywhere. He owned the place.

Now it’s Kevin Rudd who appears to own the place, on some of the very same billboards, as this picture, taken yesterday on Shafston Avenue, Kangaroo Point, the approach to the Story Bridge and in Rudd’s own electorate of Griffith shows.












It’s a strong and handsome billboard, dressed in the patriotic red, white and blue that the Liberal Party also used to think it "owned". If there is one thing that the Labor Party stands for, it is Kevin Rudd, and you get the impression that Rudd is quite happy about that.

It’s a statement about the future, with a link to,  and the authorisation along the bottom suggests that its future encompasses the election campaign. There’s a slight bolshiness about it. The background is actually the flag, but without the Union Jack – the Republic is alive and well. Kevin’s definitely a man of the future.

The second billboard is on Brisbane’s inner-north, at the Normanby Fiveways. It’s low rent compared to Campbell Newman’s effort 4 years ago in this spot where he had a massive billboard on the other side of the road.












This one is much smaller, over the carpet shop, and the billboard owner’s exhortation that "You can be here" suggests it’s not the prime spot on the corner. This sign’s also got a flag, a Union Jack, but no southern cross, and no leader. Whatever the Liberal Party stands for, as far as this sign knows, it is not John Howard. (Actually, you can just discern the southern cross in the second flag which is part of the Liberal logo.)

It is about messages. Kevin’s sign is short on words, but this one asserts a conviction, which is pretty much in line with what its leader stands for anyway. The Jack, and the wavy edge on the top of the flag, make it look dated, something circa the Second World War. And it doesn’t have an authorisation, which means it will very probably become illegal when the election is called. This sign doesn’t have much of a future at all – perhaps the budget only stretched to a month or so.

The slogan also doesn’t appear to exist on the federal Liberal Party’s website, but it is the banner heading on the one belonging to the Queensland Liberals. It’s possible this is a local effort.

When campaigns falter in the Liberal Party they tend to fray, and everyone thinks they know best. This presentation on the New South Wales site suggests that someone there thinks this is a good idea, but it’s certainly not part of a unified coherent message, at least not yet.

These two signs pretty much sum the campaigns up. Labor’s is about leadership, Kevin, and the future; it’s well-funded, but it doesn’t want to say too much. The Liberal’s is about conviction and doing what’s right, but it doesn’t want to talk about the leader, looks dated, and lacks funds.

The only thing they have in common really is the colours.

Posted by Graham at 12:05 am | Comments Off on Story Boards |
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