End of the Party Political Broadcast? Episode 2: Conservatives

Hello everybody. Welcome to part 2 of my exposition into how relevant Party Political Broadcasts are in this day and age. For those of you just joining us, thank you. Every day, for the next few days, I’m going to be taking apart a Party Political Broadcast and try to determine what it actually says about the party itself. Enjoy! Today we’re dealing with:

Conservatives

The second PPB from the Conservative Party is based very much around David Cameron himself, and how to ‘change a country’. This is interesting, as I assume we’re all fed up of the credit crunch. Can the Conservatives fix it, though?

What it says about the Conservatives. A shot-by-shot analysis: Opening shot of David Cameron sitting in garden. He must like foliage. He then points out that the first debate shook up the election, and asks what it takes to change a country. His answer: Talking to people. Cut to shot of Cameron talking to people, where he narrates an emphasis on conversation. He does not seem to be having any conversations. Shot of Cameron being honest about economy. Cameron moves on to second point, about how a strong leader is necessary, who is ready to ‘take a stand’. Cut to shot of Cameron standing up, addressing people about MP expenses. Clever. Cameron adds that a good leader is energetic and optimistic. Cut to speech about optimism. Cameron then moves on to talk about ‘strong values’. Cut to speech about values, and the importance of families. A ‘big idea’ is also essential to changing a country. Cameron says that his party possess such an idea: ‘The Big Society’. Cut to another speech about how all politicians are ‘mugs’, and about how Cameron wants to stop crime by engaging ‘The Big Society’, and making shopkeepers stop selling alcohol to kids. Cameron argues that people need more power. “Be your own boss, sack your MP”, etc. Cameron emphasises again that politicians “don’t know everything”, and giving more power to the people. Cameron then stresses the need of a new government by ‘blowing apart’ the current state of government. I am reminded of action films. To close, Cameron focuses on Conservative policies, and voting for ‘not Labour’.

Opinion: From a branding perspective, this is very interesting. The video, and indeed, the first Conservative PPB focuses almost entirely upon Cameron. It’s as if their focus, and their aim is to very much sell the ‘Cameron’ brand to prospective voters. This video mainly focuses on why Cameron thinks he will make a good PM, namely because he likes talking to people, likes societies (and gardens), and wants to smash the current political system. Controversial. The video did cover Conservative policies, but it almost feels like these took a back seat to Cameron’s selling of himself.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s continuation of this epic saga, when we tackle the Liberal Democrat PPB.

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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

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.