From The Guardian:
“The Conservative party’s 1978 poster of a snaking line of people queuing for the unemployment office under the slogan ‘Labour isn’t working’ has been voted the poster advertisement of the century [by the trade magazine Campaign].
Created by the Saatchi brothers, the poster is cited as instrumental in the downfall of James Callaghan’s Labour administration in the 1979 election and the rise of Margaret Thatcher, partly because he rose to the jibe and complained [about the poster in Parliament]. It also marked a sea-change in political advertising as, aiming at traditional Labour supporters who feared for their jobs, it was the first to adopt the aggressive marketing tactics which characterise modern elections.
The BBC has a story on the background of the Labour poster and how the photo was faked.
“News that people in the advert were ‘actors’ and not genuinely unemployed had leaked and Healed said the Conservatives were dishonest, reaching a new low by ‘selling politics like soap-powder’.
But Labour politicians were not hawk-eyed enough to spot that the basic ‘deceit’ was compounded by using the same few people over and over. Walsh had ensured that the volunteers’ faces were out of focus and could not be recognised.
Since then the tactic of putting up a deliberately controversial poster on a few bill-boards - and then reaping millions of pounds of free publicity as TV and newspapers report the fuss has become a standard and cost-effective tactic for advertisers.
When the election was delayed until the spring of 1979 the Saatchis brought out a second version of the poster with the legend ‘Labour still isn’t working’.
After the election Lord Thorneycroft, Tory party treasurer at the time, claimed that the poster had ‘won the election for the Conservatives’.”
Found via coudal partners.