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Blueprint for a Crosby/Textor campaign

Written By: - Date published: 6:13 am, July 8th, 2008 - 41 comments
Categories: election 2008, national - Tags: ,

While trying desperately to paint Crosby/Textor as ‘just ordinary consultants’ and argue that C/T does nothing that polling and research companies do, National allies like the Herald have also puzzled over why National won’t just admit to being C/T clients. The answer is simple: C/T are not ordinary consultants giving media training or policy advise they specialise in anti-democratic practices and the reduction of democracy to marketing gimmicks. It is because their practices are so anti-democratic that they operate in secret and their clients refuse to publicly acknowledge buying their help.

Here’s the basic formula for a C/T campaign, like the one National is running now.

  • – Create a vague ‘Mr Nice Guy’ image for the leader, keep all attention on the leader but don’t allow coverage that gets deeper than the façade – Key has not been in a significant interview all year and turns away journalists daily. Label the leader ‘positive, ambitious etc’.
  • – Do not release any policy (why anyone would think it’s OK to seek to govern but not tell people what you will do in government, I can’t imagine, but the Herald does).
  • – Attack the opposing party whenever there is a sniff of an issue lie, use hit and run attacks do the damage but don’t offer a solution
  • – Give the leader a very tight script of attack lines, to be repeated whatever questions are asked
  • – Any criticism of this marketing product of a leader is to be labelled a ‘personal attack’
  • – Have allied groups carry out media events (truck strike, Asian crime protest) that target traditional voters of your opponents, not to get them to vote for you but to suppress their turnout for your opponents.
  • – If a negative comes up (ie a policy leaks or use of C/T becomes public) refuse to engage. Attack the source of the negative, if it’s a journo refuse to talk to them again the attack will be transparently bad but will muddy the waters in people’s minds and the smack-down on the journo will have a chilling effect on others.

Sound fimiliar?

Conservative parties hire C/T because this strategy is effective. It deadens political debate so that they don’t have to win on issues and, in the personality contest that replaces real democracy, the vague smiling guy is at an advantage. But it doesn’t work every time, especially once people see C/T is pulling the strings.

41 comments on “Blueprint for a Crosby/Textor campaign”

  1. Where would fake eviction notices to state house tenants sit within your moral framework?

  2. r0b 2

    Where would fake eviction notices to state house tenants sit within your moral framework?

    For myself, a little uneasily, but much better than the real ones that National would have sent them.

  3. Higherstandard 3


    Are you Lynton Crosby ?

  4. r0b 4

    Damn – busted!

  5. “Have allied groups carry out media events (truck strike, Asian crime protest) that target traditional voters of your opponents, not to get them to vote for you but to suppress their turnout for your opponents.”

    This just shows you’re becoming delusional SP. I think it’s a trait that seems to run deep in the left at the moment.

  6. MacDoctor 6

    Sound fimiliar? (sic)

    Yep. Sounds a lot like Labour prior to the 1999 election. Except that they portrayed Helen Clark as efficient rather than affable.

    Which was true. 🙂

  7. Lew 7

    r0b: Better get on your LearJet back to Canberra smart-quick before the pogroms arrive.


  8. Higherstandard 8


    Don’t worry I am the mole !

  9. Tane 10

    infused. David’s lashing out in response to his increasing irrelevance, but I can assure you he’s barking up completely the wrong tree. I actually feel kinda sorry for him, he’s just lucky Lynn’s not a litigious fellow.

    Hager envy, perhaps?

  10. bill brown 11


    That’s a:

    c) misdirection

    Congratulations you’ve won a Propeller Cap in a colour of your choice.

  11. Ha! For a man who runs his polling company out of National Party HQ and works as a go-between for National and its wacky right front groups such as Sensible Sentencing Trust and Family First, Davey seems a little keen to throw stones.

    Oh and for the record? I know a couple of the Standardistas and Davey is so wrong I almost feel embarrassed for the wee fella. Is it just me or is he turning into Cameron Slater?

  12. r0b 13

    Don’t worry I am the mole !

    So I’m a Toad, you’re Mole, all we need to find is Ratty and Badger…

  13. Rob 14

    In response to Robinsod message above I think it is a real sad state of affairs when people in a country have to set up groups like Sensible sentencing or Family First

    Every one knows about the RSA killings and all the others that have happened while supposedly reformed killers are let out on parole.

    Family First has been set up not by National but by concerned citizens in terms of men not getting access to children.

    This Government is not Family orientated and never really has been in fact it doesn’t see the traditional family model as the correct one going forward.

    I believe these groups have been set up for valid reasons and for you to try and demonise them as righties just because they have become a protest voice is very simplistic.

    I believe this government has failed badly in many areas and the sooner it can critique itself the better off and the stronger the party will become

    [lprent: Ummm I thought I’d kicked you.
    Your comments are more rational – I’ll keep a watching brief.]

  14. So I’m a Toad, you’re Mole, all we need to find is Ratty and Badger

    I’ve been called a rat but on the other hand I do take joy in badgering rightwing folk…

  15. Ben R 16

    “Asian crime protest”

    What did this protest have to do with National or their advisors?

    My understanding was that this was a protest by a community who are sick of feeling persecuted and fearful.

    Essentially, a cry of help to the Government to put further resources into policing and to revisit sentencing for violent offences.

    I suspect the protest would have gone ahead regardless of whether National or Labour was Government.

  16. mike 17

    Why did my post get pulled?

    [Because what you wrote was libel against innocent third parties]

  17. Billy 18

    I’ve been called a cock. Does that help?

  18. mike 19

    “[Because what you wrote was libel against innocent third parties]”

    Just quoting a letter from a Labour source. I take it you will taking action then?

    [Tane: Mike, I’ve seen a copy of the letter too. It’s misinformed shit-stirring from a National Party activist and was sent to all Labour MPs.]

  19. Felix 20

    Rob, the Sensible Sentencing Trust is headed by a man who publicly states that it’s ok to kill kids if you’re frustrated.

    Is that the type of Traditional Family™ behaviour you’re into?

  20. Ben R. Did you hear that Peter Low guy, the head of the march, the one who went mental at Sean Plunkett on Monday morning? National party activist.

    Mike. the letter you’re quoting was written by a National party researcher. Labour was really confused when they got it and asked us about it.

  21. Rob 22

    Felix that is rubbish!! Garth Mcvicar set it up if I’m correct because his daughter was murdered and the killer got some pathetic sentence. Look I don’t care if it was Labour or National in if these incidents were happening under any Government.

    Then there is a cause for concern. I think its rally important that we stay objective in our thinking and don’t become totally blinded by either right or left ideology.

    Knowing our problems is half our cure. If we never face them because that doesn’t fit into the current agenda or thought patterns then we have a serious problem in the direction we are going.

    Robinsod I’m not a mole just a normal Kiwi bloke and there is becoming fewer and fewer of them around unfortunately.

    [lprent: Ummm I thought I’d kicked you.
    Your comments are more rational – I’ll keep a watching brief.]

  22. Dude – I never called you a mole.

  23. mike 24

    “Mike. the letter you’re quoting was written by a National party researcher. Labour was really confused when they got it and asked us about it.”

    I hope so because I would feel duped if any of the administrators of this site were paid Labour staff.

    [lprent: try reading the About]

  24. randal 25

    so is this right? garth mcvicar is a crosby textor mole?

  25. Oliver 26

    It’s all a bit rich when you guys jump up and down about crosby Textor considering that anything they do is tiddly-winks next to the Electoral Finance Act and legislating to block Darnton v Clark. When Muldoon was taken to Court under the Bill Of Rights 1688 he didn’t legislate the case out of the water but wore the result. If only Clark was so open to criticism.

  26. Phil 27

    “I’ve been called a cock. Does that help?”

    In summary;
    Billy’s a Cock, Sod’s the Ass, and they cohabitate a blog.

    Lynn will be live streaming the civil union here on The Standard.

    A gift registry is available at Ballentynes/Kircaldie’s and also your local Trade-Aid, to satisfy the gift purchasing habits of rich pricks and deluded hippies at the same time.

  27. Lew 28

    Oliver: You keep running this `tiddlywinks’ line. It’s like you’re hoping it will gain currency as you repeat it. Full marks for trying, but:

    1. The EFA’s failings have already had a shitload of coverage. You’re pissing into an ocean.

    2. Darnton v Clark was scuppered by due process of law. You might disagree with it, but the parliament does have the power to do such things. Your recourse is to the ballot box every three years. I recommend you campaign on a platform of banning all retrospective legislation.

    3. The pot-kettle-black argument you’re trying to run is a logical fallacy. Because parliament passed something its opponents consider undemocratic, that government’s supporters (note: not members) shouldn’t be able to criticise something the opposition is doing which is also anti-democratic? No. The principled action would be to stand against everything which is anti-democratic. It’s just that the question of what is anti-democratic tends to break along partisan lines.

    4. By comparison with the EFA you’re admitting that the Nats’ use of C/T is by your own standards anti-democratic, whereas those of us who support the EFA do not consider it to be anti-democratic. You by your own admission are knowingly supporting an anti-democratic party and its strategy. The Standardistas have no such moral contradiction.

    Congratulations! You got someone to bite your `tiddlywinks’ troll! Sorry I couldn’t be more help to your case.


  28. Ben R 29

    “Ben R. Did you hear that Peter Low guy, the head of the march, the one who went mental at Sean Plunkett on Monday morning? National party activist.”

    I wasn’t aware of his political affiliation. Even if that is the case, I think you’re giving C/T a bit too much credit here.

    Groups are always going to make demands in an election year, I mean last time there was that 5% in 2005 campaign. Students protested the other day about debt, but I don’t think they were necessarily trying to help National. I think there’s a distinction between genuine protests and Swiftboat Veterans groups that are obviously have another agenda.

  29. T-rex 30

    Ben – I agree. Calling the anti-violence protests a media event marginalises the real concerns of the 10,000 people who took part. I don’t believe they are all National party supporters with an axe to grind – they’re a bunch of people who are genuinely concerned and want someone to talk to them and convince them something is being done.

    It might be that the events leading to the protest were sensationalised (though I don’t think so), but the protests themselves were genuine. I don’t think they deserve “you’re a bunch of anti-Labour complainers” in response. They deserve someone senior in the govt directly addressing them and their concerns, and spelling out what the plan is.

    If that involves nothing more than holding up a graph saying “actually crime is really low and you’re safer here than almost anywhere”, fine, though I can’t imagine that providing much comfort. I’d rather see them build up neighborhood watch or something in the area.

  30. Draco TB 31

    The traditional family model that you speak of isn’t all that traditional. It was started up about 300 years ago at the behest of the capitalist class. The far more traditional family model is the extended family/whanau/clan. Source: Global Political Economy, John Ravenhill (ed).

  31. MacDoctor 32

    The nuclear family was not created but is a natural result of mobilizing the work-force (when it moves around a lot, it gets increasing hard to accommodate grandparents and relatives). It was certainly not an invention of some dark “capitalist class” – if one ever existed.

  32. Billy 33

    Down my way, if soemthing has been going on for 300 years, we regard it as a tradition.

  33. Felix 34


    Garth McVicar on Bruce Emery stabbing a tagger to death:

    “a decent hard-working citizen is facing a murder charge because of his frustration over this issue.”

    That’s Garth’s level of compassion for the victims of crime who don’t happen to belong to his social set.

    He’s an extremist, a raving nut-job who you’d do well to learn a bit about before holding him up as some kind of “ordinary concerned kiwi”.

    He’s essentially D4J with organisational skills.

  34. Draco TB 35

    300 years ago the average family didn’t move much. In fact, there were laws discouraging it.

    Down my way, if soemthing has been going on for 300 years, we regard it as a tradition.

    Who said it had been going on for 300 years?
    All I said was that was how long the nuclear family had been encouraged.

  35. Felix 36

    The nuclear family is a relatively recent tradition.

    But Traditional Family Model™ has been here forever and is the only right way to live – it’s the only way approved by God™ and even though most of us don’t actually live like that, any other model is a perverted aberration invented by the Devil himself.

  36. Rob 37


    Don’t see anything wrong with that statement he probably was a decent hardworking citizen until that moment when he lost his rag.

    There is a tremendous amount of frustration with tagging I remember the guy that chased five youths in Panumure who were tagging and dealt to them.

    The Police were going to charge him there was a public up roar and they ended up censuring him instead.

    I don’t believe in people stabbing but also don’t believe in the wilful destruction of other peoples property sometimes done under the guise of artistic freedom.

    I believe Garth Mcvicar has a lot going for him. I believe that if I had lost my daughter under such tragic consequences I probably would do the same. In the hope that I could keep some of the scum bags off the street.

  37. The attacks on Garth McVicar are winning you no friends. The very fact we need groups like SST should make you all hang your heads in shame.
    One upshot of recent events is we will see more instances of “have a go heroes” in the media. How long till somebody else gets killed? Either an attacker or victim who becomes an attacker.

  38. Tara 39

    Re. Crosby/Textor’s use of focus groups:


    They might come up with the “New Coke”.

  39. Felix 40

    you’ve beautifully demonstrated the hypocrisy of McVicar’s (and now your own) stance in your comment.

    But if you really equate stabbing someone (in the throat, to death, while they’re retreating) with willful damage to property then you’re not worth the time it would take me to explain it.

    nobody needs groups like the SST.

  40. Ben R 41

    “nobody needs groups like the SST.”

    Presumably you haven’t had anyone close to you murdered? I recall a guy from one of my classes at Uni who was murdered & the parents soon joined the SST. I think there is a lot of anger at violent crime and there is a need for groups like SST.

    “But if you really equate stabbing someone (in the throat, to death, while they’re retreating) with willful damage to property”

    The difference is that McVicar’s stance focuses on unprovoked violence, not provoked violence which leads to an altercation. Obviously the response in this case is hugely disproportionate to the level of aggravation (I’ve been overseas lately – is that summary actually accepted by the Court?). So no, you can’t equate it to willful damage.

    Some people though would have little sympathy for the tagger because they provoked the incident.

    Taggers are bullies, they are young men who write on other peoples property knowing the owners will be too scared to confront them. I mean, why would someone confront a tagger? They may well be armed with a knife or other weapon (like the guy on Blair St earlier this year). If there’s more than one you’d likely end up getting bashed & suffering head injury, post traumatic stress disorder, depression etc like many victims of assaults…

    And what will the tagger get if you catch them? Community service, which I know from being a duty solicitor that people don’t worry about.

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