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Advertising Daily Mirror Boris Johnson

The Mirror drives 'Boris lie bus-ter' to Downing Street as brands react to new PM


By Rebecca Stewart, Trends Editor

July 24, 2019 | 4 min read

Boris Johnson is set to take over the reins from outgoing prime minister Theresa May on Wednesday (24 July) after winning the Conservative leadership race. While ad industry bosses have reacted to the news with some trepidation, brands and publishers are already having some fun in toying with the new country's new leader.


The Mirror's stunt echoes Boris' infamous 'Brexit battlebus' which he used to campaign in the 2016 EU referendum / The Daily Mirror

In his acceptance speech, Brexiteer Johnson pledged to deliver Brexit and reunite the country. However, The Mirror is taking aim at Boris' track record when it comes to sticking to his word, hiring a double-decker bus to haunt him as he takes office at Downing Street.

The 'Boris Lie-Buster' is to tour London on Wednesday afternoon (24 July), picking up NHS workers, trade union members and other 'friends' of the left-wing paper along the way. A Boris lookalike will be in situ on the top deck, along with Mirror editor Alison Philips.

brexit battle bus

Those riding the bus will be armed with placards listing some of what The Mirror claims are Johnson's 'biggest lies' and delivering them to Number 10 ahead of his first speech as prime minister at 4pm.

The bus pastiches the now-infamous 'battle bus' Boris used on the Leave campaign trail in the lead up the 2016 EU referendum, which claimed that £350m was sent to the EU each week from the UK; a figure later found to be "misleading".

The Mirror is going all out with dishonesty theme, even curating a 'lie-themed' playlist that will be blasting the likes of Shakira's Beautiful Liar from the speakers.

Elsewhere, haircare brand Aussie ran a cleverly-placed campaign on the front cover of Wednesday's Metro, imploring the newly-ointed prime minister to use its frizz easing products on his blonde locks. The campaign was created by Recipe agency.


Wheetabix also got in on the act. A half-page breakfast-based newspaper ad created by ad agency BBC teased Theresa May’s replacement.


Despite the fun and games, news of Johnson's appointment has prompted mixed reactions in the industry.

Paul Bainsfair, director general at the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) pointed to the latest IPA Bellwether report, in which marketers cited the Tory leadership contest and Brexit uncertainty as being responsible for sluggish budget growth.

"It is abundantly clear, therefore, that to unlock this stasis, our industry is urgently seeking clarity and confidence from its Prime Minister regarding the UK’s economic path," he said.

"We hope Mr Johnson can deliver this, alongside continuing to acknowledge and champion the value of the creative industries that generate more than £100bn a year to the UK economy and employ more than 2 million people".

John Mew, chief executive of the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) said it was too soon to tell what direction the new government would take on Brexit.

"A smooth exit from the EU is key to maintaining our competitive, world-leading digital advertising market. We will continue to support our members to help ensure their businesses are prepared for all eventualities," he added.

Advertising Daily Mirror Boris Johnson

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