Home Comment The good, the bad, and the shitty slogan

The good, the bad, and the shitty slogan


Owen Keating has trawled the archives for the most misplaced slogans in recent years, in an attempt to provide this year’s candidates with some entirely serious advice about how not to make him cringe.

Catchy, witty slogans have always been an apparently crucial part of any budding sabbatical officer’s election campaign. However, concerted efforts to scale new heights of wit from some of Exeter’s finest would-be politicos have often fallen disastrously short. In the name of rigorous investigative journalism, I trawled the archives for the most misplaced slogans in recent years, in an attempt to provide this year’s candidates with some entirely serious advice about how not to make me cringe.

As they near the end of their terms in office, last year’s Sabbs can rest easy in the knowledge that, on the whole, the slogans they thrust upon an unwitting student population were not that bad. VP Participation and Campuses Jak Curtis-Rendall kept things simple, urging students to vote “Jak 4 Pac”, while Chris Rootkin implored us all to “Root for Rootkin”, while dressed up as a potato, a foodstuff infamous for not actually being a root vegetable.


Despite these minor potato-based inaccuracies, 2013’s cohort faded in comparison to the montage-worthy brilliance of the cringeworthiness offered by the election hopefuls from the 2012/13 academic year. Ben Jones, who eventually lost the Guild President race to Nicholas ‘Welshy’ Davies (who dressed as a sheep all week to win, obvs), harrowingly implored voters to “Give the Guild a BJ”. Quite how this slogan would have played out during the post-SSB fallout remains thankfully unknown. Meanwhile, Jenny Mayhew invoked the might of the “J Team” in her election campaign, with the less said about this method of campaigning the better.

However, the best (and by best I obviously mean worst) of that year’s horrible, horrible slogans came in the race for VP Welfare. Ian “Flash” Gordon enticed voters with “Fancy a flash?”, but voting statistics from that year indicate that while many voters were irrevocably scarred by Ian’s insinuation, few actually listed him as their preferred candidate.

While the flaws in Gordon’s mildly unsettling strategy were laid bare (sorry) for all to see, the other Welfare candidates were obviously unwilling to give creepy Ian centre stage in the inevitable denouement of this paragraph. Sam Hollis-Pack ran with HP Sauce, evoking the well-known Welfare device of brown savoury syrup, while Samuel Longden went all Michael Bay montage scene with “Together we can, we will”. Unfortunately for Samuel, we couldn’t, and we didn’t.

Eventual election winner Imogen Sanders won with “Imagine Imogen”, as well as, one would imagine, some insightful and intelligent policies. Not that your policies would matter when you’re running against a flasher, a sauce obsessive, and a wannabe Jed Bartlet tragically mired in the backwaters of the West Country.

These diabolical attempts were topped only by Josh Cleall, who contrived to not become 2012 Guild President with the slogan “Cleall or No Cleall”. Despite invoking the laboured stereotype that students just watch daytime TV, as well as unnecessarily reminding everyone of Noel Edmonds (who has always personally made me think of a really sad lion), Cleall was unable to open the red box marked “President”. Devastation.

Good slogans are simple, right?
Good slogans are simple, right?

Another personal favourite came in the 2011 race for Guild President, where seemingly atemporal leaflet-freak Damien Jeffries (he also ran in 2012) ran on a policy of “Compensation, Crackdown, and No Nonsense”. To contextualise this, Jeffries’ manifesto included a ban on suggesting that he looked like England footballer James Milner, and plans for a ski-lift up Stocker Road. Weird.

To end this article on the bleak note it’s all been building to, I’d like to quote the manifesto of Giovanni Sforza, an unsuccessful candidate for VP Participation and Campuses in 2011. Sforza told students to “make the best of it”, and this, readers, is my advice to you, too. If you’re running, then please, please, PLEASE think about how cynical, jaded, and potentially hungover students like me are going to receive your slogan. If you’re not running, then move beyond this article’s questionable sass (after sharing it with all your friends, obviously), and engage with the manifestos offered by your candidates. They will shape your university experience in any number of ways, and they deserve your attention, despite the terrible slogans. Make the best of a chaotic week, and make your mark on student democracy.

Owen Keating, News Editor

Do you have a favourite so-bad-it’s-good election slogan? Do the awful puns actually brighten your day? Or are they just a nuisance and a distraction from the real issues at stake? Leave a comment below or write to the Comment team at the Exeposé Comment Facebook Group or on Twitter @CommentExepose.

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