When Jim Messina, the former campaign manager for Barrack Obama in 2012 and a former campaign strategist with David Cameron’s successful 2015 Conservative campaign in the UK, arrived as a guest for the BC Liberal Convention in November of 2016, you can’t help but get the feeling that he might have been somewhat awkwardly embarrassed by what was laid out before him. What he would have seen was a Provincial campaign (in more than one sense of the word) that would have been awkwardly familiar to him in terms of the campaign materials, the whole “Team” concept, as well as familiar campaign slogans and materials. Let me show you what I mean.
For those that may be unaware, take a look at these campaign materials. Note the numerous similarities in terms of the fonts, the colours, the message, etc.
And what about those “Say Anything John” graphics from the BC Liberal Caucus, remember them?
Here’s the 2015 UK campaign version. And does these remind you of anything?
On a sidenote, the “Say Anything” angle from the 2015 UK campaign could have possibly been one could argue the basis for the expensive and wildly unsuccessful “Say Anything John” campaign promoted by the shadowy group Prosperity BC with ties to former staffers of Stephen Harper. Remember that?
Below are a few more additional examples of similarities in terms of the digital campaign materials between the Team 2015 and TeamBC2017 campaigns. Again note the similarities in the use of colours, fonts, etc. Not only do they look like they could originate from the same campaign, they look like they could originate from the same digital influencer on the same day sitting at the same computer.
Or how about these two? One of the graphics is from the BC Liberal Caucus and the other from the Conservative Party in the UK.
The #TeamBC2017 Concept
A clearly ripped off borrowed concept is the whole contrived #TeamBC2017 concept. The TeamBC2017 concept is quite clearly a near carbon copy of the “Team 2015” volunteer recruitment initiative in the UK that was originally set up by the UK Conservatives in 2013 in order to organize volunteers to specifically target swing ridings and in an attempt to lure young people to join a largely greying group of Conservative supporters. In the UK, they used a reward system where the top volunteers earned a visit with the Prime Minister and included mass photographs with T-shirted clad supporters and socials timed around specific political events. These supporters were sent around in buses in key seats to campaign for the party similar manner that TeamBC2017 parachutes volunteers into various ridings in which they clearly have very little actual local support.
Here are some images from the Team 2015 campaign in the UK contrasted with the TeamBC2017 campaign. Again note all the similarities.
Here too, similar to the Team 2015 campaign, is the resorting to contests to meet the great leader. Note the contest at the bottom.
As mentioned previously, the Team 2015 concept in the UK included having social events coincided around political milestones. Fast forward to the TeamBC2017 campaign where young BC Liberals actually organized socials around budget day (I kid you not). You would have to think that only the most fervent and ardent of the right wing youth supporters would have turned up for those barnburners.
Familiar Sloganeering and Platforms
Another similarity between the two UK Conservative campaign and the BC Liberal Campaign where similarities can be seen is in regards to the slogans used by the two campaigns and the two party campaign platform documents. In the 2015 campaign, the UK Conservatives utilized this slogan:
with the Conservative Party Manifesto being entitled as follows:
Contrast that with the current 2017 BC Liberal Campaign introduced just last week where we have this as a campaign slogan
with this being the access point to the BC Liberal 2017 platform having a similar title and theme. Again, note all the obvious similarities. Seems familiar doesn’t it?
So taken as a whole what is this all indicative of you might ask? It is of course symptomatic and reflective of a party and leader that has become stale and completely devoid of new ideas and that has resorted to stealing lock, stock, and barrel an entire electoral campaign of another Conservative party in the hopes of repeating their electoral success. Can the entire strategy be traced back to Ex-Pat Ben James, part of them BC Government caucus? I would likely say more than likely yes. Whether it the stolen campaign is successful or not remains to be seen but clearly no marks should be given for originality should the BC Liberals win.