#VoteTogether: Bernie Sanders film

Vote Together Bernie Sanders website


In case you missed it: the Bernie Sanders campaign released a phenomenal video – Vote Together – in the build up to the New Hampshire Primary.

The video positions the campaign as not being about a 74 year-old United States Senator from Vermont trying to become President, but about normal people uniting together around their similarities rather than fighting over differences.

That’s some high order shit right there and it puts every other campaign ad I’ve seen so far to shame.

It’s beautifully art directed and uses stirring words from Sanders himself.

There’s also a very cool website with some posters available for activists and supporters to download.

Massive credit to Human, the agency behind the campaign.

Stronger In attack ad: there will be pain

Stronger In - attack ad there will be pain

The Stronger In campaign have released a new ad which attacks those campaigning to leave the EU for – what they perceive to be – a blasé attitude towards the messy aftermath of Brexit.

The colour-scheme for the spot is distinctly UKIP.  You can read more about why that is in my article for the New Statesman on political bogeymen.

The style of the video is very similar to rebuttal and attack ads that we’re used to seeing in US-politics.  Features of this style include:

  • Using your opponents’ own words against them
  • Relentless repetition of key messaging
  • Grainy ‘secret recording’ style footage to imply malice

It’s very well put together and from the number of view it has already garnered on YouTube I suspect that they’ve put some paid media support behind it.

This combination of tight strategy, sharp messaging, polished creative and sensible media investment is very impressive.  If I were backing ‘leave’ at this stage, I’d be getting a bit worried.

The EU referendum campaign: selling fear

EU referendum benedict pringle campaign magazine

As Donald Tusk has just released his draft settlement and it looks increasingly certain that the EU referendum will take place in June, I thought it might be timely to look forwards to what the referendum campaigns might hold.

All the signals so far suggest that we are going to be faced with the highly unusual situation where both sides try to conjure up dystopian visions about what Britain’s future might look like if they don’t get their way.

You can read the full article on Campaign live.

Sadiq Khan: political branding

Sadiq Khan, the Labour Party’s candidate in the London Mayoral elections taking place in May this year, has developed a brilliant logo for his candidacy.

The multi-coloured graphical depiction of the river Thames is a clever shorthand for Khan for a few reasons:

1. It’s instantly recognisable as a London landmark so links the candidate with the office he’s running for.

2. It’s a river. Rivers have very few negative cognitive associations.

3. The multi-coloured nature of it subtly implies that whilst he’s standing as a Labour candidate he hopes to have broad appeal.

4. The graphical and colourful style is reminiscent of the London 2012 Olypmic logo. Quietly aligning Khan’s brand with that event is smart.

5. It’s so nicely designed and such a symbol of Londoners’ identity that supporters will be happy to wear t-shirts and wave placards which have the logo emblazoned on it.

To whoever designed it and to whoever bought it – well played.

People with five bucks against Trump

Crowd funders against trump

Crowd funders against trump hillary

A copywriter named Louis Wittig from advertising agency Grey has started his own super-pac-with-a-difference.  He describes the organisation as a collection of people “who find Donald Trump so absolutely annoying that we just have to do something about it.

Their plan is to raise small amounts of money from like-minded Americans using crowd-funding platform GoFundMe and use the cash to run advertisements that campaign against Trump.

To get the ball rolling, they’re initially trying to raise $1530 to run a press ad in one of New Hampshire’s biggest newspapers two days before the New Hampshire Primary.

The ads he’s prepared (examples above) are brilliantly written and are art directed in a refreshing modern way.  And. more importantly, the whole idea of a ‘people’s super pac’ is just awesome.


Ted goes after Trump

One of Sen. Ted Cruz’s Super Pac’s (supportive but independent campaign groups) has released a new ad aggressively attacking Trump’s record on abortion.

The footage is taken from Trump’s appearance on TV news programme ‘meet the press’ in 1999.

Subsequent to that interview, in 2011, Trump renounced those views, but that hasn’t stopped Ted Cruz’s supporters going after him.

There’s a big evangelical voter base in Iowa that seem to be moving away from Cruz (and Carson) and towards Trump.  This is clearly Cruz’s attempt to stem the flow.

Trump has also come under fire for not being a ‘proper’ conservative, given his previous record of donating to Democratic candidates – including Hillary Clinton – and mixed form on immigration.

This ad, as well as appealing to evangelicals, is trying to remind those voters who have a nagging suspicion about Trump’s true intentions, that he could be the sort of candidate who says one thing in the primaries before tacking to the centre ground in the run-off for the White House.

Creatively, it’s simple but very effective.  It has all the stalwarts of quality political communication: intellectual clarity, provocative imagery and good ol’ fashioned repetition.

Election campaigning: how to spend it

Benedict Pringle article in Campaign how to spend it

On Wednesday this week the Electoral Commission published the details of money spent by political parties on General Election 2015.  I’ve written an article analysing the relative merits of their expenditure for advertising industry trade magazine Campaign, which you can read here.