End of the Party Political Broadcast? Episode 1: Labour

I’ve finally gotten around to watching yesterday’s ‘The Campaign Show’ on iPlayer, which featured a section on political advertising, and raised some very good questions regarding its future. Is this the end of the Party Political Broadcast? Indeed, is it really worth spending (probably, don’t quote me) millions filming and producing these short TV advertisements, in what is apparently ‘the digital election’? I, myself, don’t really watch television, and I’m sure this is the same for many people my age. Shouldn’t parties, then, concentrate more on getting some amazing digital content out there? That’s another question entirely, however, which I shall leave for another day.

So, how relevant are this election’s Party Political Broadcasts? Bridget Angear, from Abbott Mead Vickers, said on the show that it’s the job of any advertising to provoke a response. However, a point was raised by another panellist, arguing that in provoking a response, the current slew of Party Political Broadcasts fail to say anything worthwhile about policies. I think to assess the worth of such broadcasts, it makes sense to approach each broadcast with a fresh pair of eyes, to see what can be gleaned from them. Unfortunately, as I don’t have a spare Martian, or otherworldly being lying about, who is completely unaware of the elections currently taking place, I’m going to try and take on the persona of that Martian myself. It’s alright, I’m a writer (of fiction). Call it ‘artistic license’.

I’m going to try something new here, and every day, for the next few days, post a new video of a Party Political Broadcast from a different party, what I gleaned from it about the party in question, and my opinions of the video itself. Then, at the end of it, I’ll unveil my grand conclusion, and we shall all dance and sing merrily. Episodic content, eat your heart out.

So, here goes nothing. First, up, we have:


Labour’s second PPB this year made use of well-established funnyman, and ultra marathon runner Eddie Izzard. What will his support mean for Labour? Let’s find out.

What it says about Labour. A shot-by-shot analysis: Eddie Izzard is very charismatic. He’s giving us his opinion, which seems honest. I do also very much like tea. Apparently I am going to be hit with lots of Tory advertising. This sounds painful. Conservatives are apparently stockpiling money in sheds. Mental note: find out where these Conservative money sheds are. Lord Ashcroft is raising money for Conservatives, from other rich people, who will apparently get this money back through concessions. They are apparently not very nice. Eddie Izzard points out he ran around Britain. That is very far. He likes Britain. This is good. Izzard challenges Conservatives to a bike race around Britain. Izzard asserts that Labour aren’t perfect, but their hearts are in the right place. Conservatives are “Thatcher’s children”. “Be afraid, be very afraid,” he says. Interest rates and unemployment would rise, and so would tax cuts for the rich, under a Conservative government. Izzard also suggests, in this case, a return to fox hunting and perhaps the feudal system. Izzard wants a party with values. Images of happy people. Izzard tells us he’s not going to tell us how to vote, then tells us in a hushed tone to vote Labour. He trusts the Labour Party to make the right changes. He believes in ‘Brilliant Britain’. Cue montage, sappy music, and shots of children on slides, nurses, and manual workers. Fin.

My opinion: Izzard’s charisma lends itself well to the video, but I feel that he was, in essence, the whole video. The video was his opinion, fair enough, but the resolution at the end of the video is very much, “here’s what I think”. To be honest, after that, I have no clearer idea of what the Labour Party stand for. I do know that they’re not the Conservatives, and that Izzard, and assumingly Labour love Britain. I hate to say it, but it did really seem a lot like fear-mongering, which I feel isn’t beneficial to anyone, certainly not those sitting on the fence. As Izzard says, “Be afraid, be very afraid.”

If you’ve enjoyed yourself, stay tuned tomorrow for episode 2, and thoughts on the Conservative Party Political Broadcast, and political branding.


One Comment on “End of the Party Political Broadcast? Episode 1: Labour”

  1. seanfsmith says:

    I look forward to the continuation of the series. The PPBs are always a peculiar thing – and wont to rely on name-calling and mud-slinging far too often.

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