Peddling Politicians

The Reform Party's successful campaign in 1925, which was run by Bert Davy, set a new benchmark in New Zealand electioneering. Davy used the latest techniques from the commercial advertising industry and designed an American-style presidential campaign.history-coates-reform-poster_0.jpg

Instead of explaining detailed policies, Reform's advertising focused on the character of Prime Minister Gordon Coates, and employed bold imagery and simple slogans such as 'Coates and Confidence' and 'Safety, Stability, Progress'.

Labour MP John A. Lee described how in 1925 electors: "had the Prime Minister's photo coming to us in the morning news, in the evening news, wrapped around sausages, wrapped around fish . The Reform Party advertised the Prime Minister much in the same way that an advertising agency would peddle pills, soap, corn-cure, or backache plaster."














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Last updated: 15 February 2013