“HE LEFT THEM ON THE BEACHES!” Rishi’s Running but This Poster Isn’t!

By The Malketeer

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s abrupt departure from a major international ceremony commemorating the 80th Anniversary of the Normandy landings has become a defining moment of the UK general election campaign.

The incident led to widespread derision and inspired a notable political attack ad that’s been compared to Saatchi & Saatchi’s iconic ‘Labour Isn’t Working’ poster from 1978.

However, unlike its predecessor, this attack ad is not the work of the Labour Party.

The Man Behind the Ad

The unofficial ad was created by Aussie adman, Ben Golik, a Creative Director at Uncommon, and posted on social media platform X last Friday, 7 June 2024.

Golik’s mock-up billboard featured an AI-generated image of Sunak running away, accompanied by the text, “He left them on the beaches,” followed by “Lest we forget, come July 4,” referencing the upcoming general election.

The post quickly went viral, amassing 1.2 million views globally.

A Creative Process Inspired by History

Golik explained how the ad came to be.

On Friday morning, as news of Sunak’s blunder and apology spread, Golik, reminiscing about past political advertisements, decided to create a modern equivalent.

Before joining Uncommon, Golik worked at M&C Saatchi, known for the Conservative Party’s ‘New Labour, New Danger’ campaign during the 1997 general election.

Reflecting on Sunak’s actions, Golik found them baffling, likening them to ‘self-sabotage.’

Drawing inspiration from Winston Churchill’s famous words, “We shall fight them on the beaches,” Golik quickly formulated the headline, “He left them on the beaches.”

Using Midjourney, an AI image generator, he created an image of Sunak running away in just five minutes.

Golik’s choice of typography and layout deliberately referenced the ‘Labour Isn’t Working’ poster to evoke the memory of impactful political advertising.

No Political Affiliation

Golik refrained from adding any party-affiliated logos to the ad, emphasising that it was a commentary on the Prime Minister’s actions rather than a partisan statement.

“I’m not a fan of scam advertising,” he said, referring to ads falsely attributed to a particular entity.

After creating the mock-up, Golik sent it to Nils Leonard, co-founder of Uncommon, who responded enthusiastically.

Recognising the timeliness of the situation, they decided to post it immediately rather than attempt to book a media site.

Impact and Reception

Although the poster is a mock-up, Golik is aware that its widespread sharing has blurred the lines between what’s real and what isn’t.

The original post has been shared nearly 5,000 times, including by prominent figures like Carol Volderman and Labour election candidates.

Despite its unofficial status, the ad resonated with many who urged the Labour Party to adopt it officially.

Golik expressed contentment with the ad’s impact, noting that it didn’t need official adoption to be legitimate.

He believed it struck a balance by not making a political affiliation, thus avoiding opportunism.

“It was just a more personal commentary that resonated with people,” he concluded.

In the end, Golik’s unofficial attack ad, while not running on actual billboards, has made a significant impact on the political discourse surrounding the UK general election.

Source: The Drum

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