The Sunday Times has disclosed that the Conservative Party filmed pre-election cinema advertisements that portrayed a gay couple, in a shower “coming out” as Conservative among racy series with references to pornography and teenage pregnancy but were never shown. The newspaper claims that the advertisements cost £100,000 to make, while others say they cost between £300,000 and £500,000.
The films that were produced by advertising agency Euro RSCG reportedly included one particularly aimed at the gay community. It showed two “good-looking” young men in a sports changing room shower. One says “It feels so right. I am going to tell everyone.” According to the Sunday Times, the other then puts a hand to his friend’s mouth as part of an embrace and replies “I think I am too.” The camera then pans around to reveal the two men’s team-mates looking on “in horror”, a Vote Conservative slogan is then revealed.
The advertisement was to be one of a series linked to “I’ve never voted Tory before” billboard campaigns that were criticised for being rather bland and then mimicked with spoofs across the internet.
Another advertisement that was abandoned began with an Asian teenage boy appearing to be “furtively” looking at pornography, which is then revealed to be Conservative Party literature. His mother expresses horror at the discovery and asks her husband what the neighbours would think.
A third advertisement makes references to teenage pregnancy with a girl confessing to her parents “I am three months Conservative.” Her father blames the girl’s boyfriend for her conversion to the Tory cause.
A Conservative Party insider told the newspaper: “The ads are all very clever and much more imaginative and funnier than anything that they put out during the election campaign.
“They were designed to appeal to voters who would not have thought of backing the Tories in the past. However, the risk with these ads was that they might have alienated more traditional core supporters.”
A spokesman for the party explained why they were never shown: “At any one time there are always various ideas at different stages of development on the table, many of which don’t end up being used.” The cost of the advertisements did not need to be declared to the Electoral Commission because they were never used. The Sunday Times said they cost £100,000 to make, while ConservativeHome claims they cost £300,000 and the Spectator’s Fraser Nelson said the party spent £500,000 on unused advertisements.