Ted Horton says working on election campaigns ‘instrumental’ in how he approaches advertising

Creative ad legend Ted Horton has said the defining moment in his advertising career was working on election campaigns.

While he is perhaps now best known for his works on the Coles ‘Down Down’ campaign, Horton worked on a number of former Prime Minister John Howard’s election campaigns, including campaigns promoting his gun buy back scheme and the L-plate Mark Latham campaign.

Speaking at Mumbrella360 Horton said: “When you’re in advertising you’re taught how to say something is good, how to describe it. You’re often taught to say look at this, isn’t it wonderful, its a descriptive type of process. Whereas politics is all about behaviour.

“They teach you how to ask for the order. My time doing all of John Howard’s campaigns was instrumental in how I do advertising now.

“When you’re working on election campaigns, you learn so much, it’s very finite, you either win or you lose. If you win you have the best advertising campaign, if you lose you don’t. Everyone has to go in and vote that particular day, it’s not about telling people how wonderful you are, it’s about making sure they vote you. It’s all about behaviour change.

“Political advertising is the most sophisticated of all advertising in many ways, you get that one day, you get that one chance,” he added.

Horton suggested Neil Lawrence, who has recently worked on the Qantas ‘Feels Like Home’ brand campaign, would also cite his election campaign experience as the defining moment in his career.

“I think he was a very good adman before he did Kevin07 campaign but I think if you went and asked Neil today what was the defining moment in his advertising campaign he’d say the Kevin07 campaign.

“I think it added that other string to the bow and he learnt about actually affecting behaviour.”

Miranda Ward


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