Five memorable General Election stunts

Event takes a look back at the political PR stunts that have marked - and blighted - the battle for No. 10, ahead of tonight's (7 May) General Election.

Labour's pink bus targeted the female electorate (@HarrietHarman)
Labour's pink bus targeted the female electorate (@HarrietHarman)

Labour’s Pink Bus

Although labelled sexist, patronising and a "divisive gimmic", the Labour Party stood by its Woman to Woman, 16-seat bus. The vehicle visited constituencies throughout the country, targeting female voters in shopping centres, universities, town centres and at the school gates.

Harriet Harman spearheaded the campaign, which aimed to reach out to the nine million British women who did not vote in 2010. 

The event industry questioned the value of the magenta activation; Brand & Deliver’s managing director, Ben Gallop, quipped: "This is so misjudged and counter-productive, I'd assume it was a clever reverse-psychology stunt and would give it an award. What can we expect next? Farage in a gimp suit performing at G-A-Y?"


Paddy Power’s doomsday lorry

Never a brand to shy away from controversy, Paddy Power turned its back on subtly by informing MPs: "You’re getting sacked in the morning". The message was emblazoned on a lorry driven around the Houses of Parliament yesterday (6 May).

The activation was devised to market the bookmaker’s odds on politicians losing their seats.

Ed Miliband’s stone manifesto

The Labour Party’s leader was the butt of many an internet joke when he unveiled an installation of his manifesto pledges. The eight-foot six limestone was unveiled in Hastings, in a bid to convey Miliband’s dedication to keeping his promises.

If the party is successful in its election bid, the plinth structure will be positioned in the Downing Street Rose Garden so that it is visible from the offices inside No. 10. Alongside a number of policies, the stone also bears the Labour logo, Miliband’s signature and the manifesto slogan ‘A better plan, a better future’.

The leader said the stunt had "got people talking" on The Today Programme, while Twitter critics claimed it could be the "heaviest suicide note in history".

Facebook’s London Eye pie chart

Social network Facebook enlisted designer Bompas & Parr to turn the Coca-Cola London Eye into a political pie chart in the week before the election. The brand has so far harnessed information from 15.6 million interactions to create visualisations from six data sets, including the main political parties discussed and the main political leaders discussed.

Sam Bompas, co-founder of Bompas & Parr, said: "During the last election we created the Parliamentary Waffle House, an election-themed eatery featuring a food based swing-o-meter. 

"For 2015 we are delighted to use the huge volume of Facebook conversations about politics to create an inspiring installation that we hope will encourage people to have their say – on Facebook and at the polls on 7 May."

The partnership is keeping what the chart will display tonight under wraps.

And the stunt that never was…Nigel Farage’s tank

Reports emerged last week (30 April) that UKIP advisers suggested their leader, Nigel Farage, should hire a tank on polling day to encourage votes in his would-be constituency of South Thanet. However the politician decided against it, having been injured in a light aircraft accident organised for the General Election in 2010. 

Indeed, the stunt would have been an unfortunate throwback to February, when comedy musical The Producers crashed the UKIP conference with a tank decorated with Nazi emblems. 

More: General Election 2015 - How manifesto policies affect events

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