Do recycled political slogans work?

As the US Presidential race gathers pace, with less than six months to go, Republican Mitt Romney’s unashamedly paid “tribute” to one of the most successful political slogans of all time. Created by Saatchi & Saatchi for the Conservative party in 1978, “Labour isn’t working” has since gone on to be voted one of the defining campaigns of the last century. Mitt Romney’s own version? “Obama isn’t working“.

As the BBC’s North America Editor Mark Mardell points out, this version “lacks the punch of the original”, which was particularly clever in that it played on the double meaning of the word “labour”. In a country where such huge amounts of money are raised for and spent on political campaigns, is a lesser imitation of a well-known slogan the best that can be done? It remains to be seen whether this campaign will have the success of Mrs Thatcher’s in 1979.

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