Chris Reed
Aug 29, 2013

Are politicians endorsing xenophobic marketing?

If politicians are supposed to have their finger on the pulse of their voters and set the standard for their country then it’s time to leave the UK and Australia and head to more tolerant shores like Singapore…..

Are politicians endorsing xenophobic marketing?

In the last few weeks both the UK and Australia have set political marketing spiralling down to a new low. By appealing to the base instincts with racist overtures and appealing to the tabloids in both countries both supposedly “developed” countries have really set the benchmark amazingly low for political marketing.

Both countries have problems with the public perception of foreigners coming into the country to allegedly take their 1) jobs b) homes c) benefits d) women e) national identity…take your pick. The fact is that neither country is exactly compact! Both have space for foreigners who may just be looking for a new life or running away from a murderous regime at home or actually adding skills/experience that are otherwise not in abundance but this seems to be beyond intelligent thinking.

Did you know that only 2.5% of the UK is built on? You would never know that if you heard politicians, The Sun/Mail and the uneducated masses claiming that the country was full. They should come to Singapore or Hong Kong or Manila and then they would know what compact and dense actually meant!! Australia, unsurprisingly, has even more room, less than 1% of its country is built on!

The UK have run a, let’s be frank, racist marketing campaign that doesn’t bother hiding its origins or intentions. The strapline is “Go Home”.  It’s aimed at illegal immigrants but in the 70’s the exact same slogan was used by the racist National Front against non-whites and communicated through the channel of choice at the time: graffiti on walls.

I can’t possibly think what the connection between the right wing Conservatives, those bastions of the English home counties (non-whites very much in the minority), and National Front marketing is….. By using the same slogan the Government is effectively endorsing this stance and exacerbating racial tensions and also playing completely to tabloid scare stories and crude stereotypes.

The Australians are no better. The slogan of “You Won’t Be Settled in Australia” is clearly aimed at the white masses and effectively saying the same thing, “Go Home”.  Interestingly while the UK Government campaign was displayed on the side of vans and driven around (so at least some of those potentially affected could see the campaign), the Australian Government placed the adverts in mainstream Australian newspapers!

Presumably these are not read much by Bahasa speaking, poorly educated Indonesians or Iranians who are the majority of people risking their lives in boats trying to reach Australia! So you have to wonder whether they have done it purely for political ends as there’s an election in Australia…. The UK Government could be accused of the same given the amount of PR generated but they don’t even have the excuse of an election.

Fundamentally you have to ask yourself what will the outcome be of both these campaigns. Will an illegal immigrant or someone risking their lives to settle in a foreign land really look at either campaign and change their mind? You know the answer to this which begs the question why are these campaigns being run if not to placate tabloids and the less tolerant sections of both societies?

The outcome of both of these campaigns is clearly aimed at appealing to the openly racist and latently racist sections of both communities as well as the rabid tabloids trying to dictate policy and stir up anti-foreigner sentiment for their own readership figures and political agendas.

Whichever agencies designed both of these campaigns they really need to ask themselves if that’s how they wish to be judged and if that’s where they want marketing to go. Racist advertising should have no place in the marketing industry.


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