Monthly Archives: January 2012

Notice the difference

Here’s a nice little voter-generated ad that’s doing the rounds on social networks together.  The image highlights the difference between the way in which Obama and Romney treat blue collar / service workers: Romney is pictured getting his shoes shined, whilst Obama gives a cleaner a fist bump.

It’s interesting to see that Romney’s personal wealth is quickly becoming a real sweet spot for attack.  It seems so un-American to attack someone for business success, but clearly things like the Wall St Crash and the Occupy movement have fundamentally altered the middle ground of politics.

Obama’s Dream Debate

This is advert, paid for by a Newt Gingrich supporting SuperPac, is the most impressive piece of attack communication I’ve seen of the Presidential race thus far.

The live TV debates are, arguably, the single most important communication factor in a Presidential contest and this piece of prophetic advertising will no doubt haunt the dreams of any Republicans weakly leaning towards Romney.

Almost every candidate in history has been accused of ‘flip-flopping’ and ‘u-turning’ at some stage, to the extent that the accusation has lost meaning. This advert brings home to roost what the realities of having a ‘pragmatic’ Presidential candidate will be.

The ad also contributes to the wealth of communications that question (gaff-prone) Romney’s ability to take on Obama from the podium.

This flip-flop spot is so much more powerful than yet another ad  that takes a quote from a candidate (out of context, of course) from years prior and contrasts it with a quote from the present day.

Gingrich’s SuperPac ‘Winning Our Future’ is reported to be raking in donations by the millions of dollars.  With a win in South Carolina under Newt’s belt and this strong attack ad on the airwaves, I bet Team Romney are beginning to feel a little less certain about things.

Democratic Alliance (S.A) cause a stir

The student wing of the Democratic Alliance, the main opposition to the ruling ANC in South Africa, have released this poster on campuses around the country.

The Mail & Guardian Newspaper (South African news publication), who have been reporting on the public outcry, have asked me a couple of questions about it, so I thought I’d share my responses:

-          Do you agree with the sentiments expressed by the Christian Democrat Party and if so, why?

There is no doubt that sex ‘sells’, but there’s a reason why most political parties refrain from using any sort of imagery that could be deemed sexual in their communications.  Individual tolerance as to what is thought of as erotic (and therefore possibly offensive) varies hugely from person to person; what one voter might perceive to be a ‘loving embrace’ another might very easily interpret as ‘promiscuous behaviour’.  For this reason, I’m unsurprised that some people have found the poster distasteful.

When making decisions on political advertising you have to constantly evaluate whether the net result will be positive.  Are the audience you’re trying to win over with your communications more important than the audience you risk offending?  If not, don’t run the ad.

-          What is your take on the poster in question? Is it Clever? Effective?

The first challenge for any piece of communication is ‘get noticed’.  This poster was placed around university campuses.  In order to have any chance of cutting through the thousands of other messages aimed at students on a daily basis, your communication must grab people’s attention (particularly if the thing your advertising is a political party).  This poster by the DA has clearly achieved that.

Secondly, you have to deliver a message to your audience that will be both appealing and motivating.  The idea of a society in which a person’s race isn’t a factor, particularly in a romantic scenario, will certainly appeal to university students who are typically young, upwardly mobile and comparatively liberal relative to the rest of the population. 

I would expect this poster to be effective for the audience that it was intended – it’s an engaging piece of communication that delivers a clear and simple message that is likely to be salient to students.

No To UK Partition

‘No To UK Partition’ have released an amusing and compelling video which aims to persuade the Scottish electorate to vote against independence.

This style of animated video and stilted, computer generated speech is a popular technique for lampooning various industries and stereotypes online.

This is the first campaign video I’ve seen for the Scottish referendum, but on this early showing, it should be a good one.

Ken’s Organising Machine Working Hard

Ken Livingstone’s team have released a video to promote the fact that on Saturday 28th January, to mark 100 days to go until polling day, they’re holding 100 campaign events in one day across London.

But the video is not only to promote these events; the video is a celebration of the work of volunteers so far and also aims to give a welcoming, feel-good impression of the campaign to supporters who are considering becoming activists.

It’s a charming little video that makes Ken’s team seem approachable, passionate and determined to win.  The scale of their grassroots organisation is very impressive and no doubt the efforts of these semi-ordinary people are to thank for the two-point poll lead over Boris Johnson reported today.

Obama’s first ad of the 2012 Presidential campaign

It’s here!  Obama’s first advert of the 2012 election.

It’s not exactly the awe-inspiring, lump-in-your-throat manifesto that some might have hoped for.  Indeed, it’s a piece of rebuttal against a recent advert, paid for by Republic SuperPac ‘Americans for Prosperity’, that criticises Obama for ‘pay-to-play’ politics and cronyism.

The advert defends Obama’s record on energy, describes the attacks as “not tethered to the facts” and holds the President’s ethics whilst in office to be “unprecedented”.

It’s not a great ad.  They’ve tried to fit an awful lot into the 30 seconds, meaning that it is rushed and feels overly defensive.

Starting your campaign on the back-foot is a very strange decision.  Yes, the Republican SuperPac have spent a reported $6 million on their campaign, but Team Obama could have easily dealt with the attacks indirectly in a much more positive and confident way.

A shaky start.

(thanks @benven for sending)

Powerful film calls for end to discrimination against gays

This is one of the more moving political videos that I have ever seen.  The film uses existing documentary footage to make an incredibly emotive call for gay rights in the USA.

Gay marriage is back in the news agenda on account of the fact that, since 2006, South Carolina (who’s Republican primary election takes place this Saturday) law has explicitly stipulated that marriage must be between a man and a woman only.

Every single Republican candidate (that stands a chance of winning), including frontrunner Mitt Romney, is strongly in favour of ‘traditional family values’ and opposes significant elements of the gay rights agenda.  Rick Perry even ran a campaign TV ad openly criticising the right for gays to join the military.

The film has already had a huge amount of traction online.  It would be ironic if the Republican Party primary election was the event that sparked a new civil rights movement in the USA.

The Day Wikipedia Went Dark – PROTECT IP / SOPA

The media is awash with chatter about Wikipedia ‘going dark’ and the potential impact of the Protect IP / SOPA legislation making its way through the US legislature.

The above video is by Fight for the future tries to explain clearly and simply why they feel we should be worried.

It’s very nicely put together with some lovely animations which means that any possible perception of hyperbole or doomsaying is removed.