The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have released a video promoting their (as yet unrecognised) state and militant organisation.
The 13-minute long video is professionally shot and edited, and shows a group of young men – including those from Britain and Australia – holding weapons and reciting militant Islamist slogans and passages from the Qur’an.
The aim of the video is to encourage young, western Muslims to travel to Iraq and Syria and become part of their jihad (struggle).
The creative strategy for persuading potential recruits is to portray members of the militia as relatively normal people who the audience could associate themselves with.
The setting for the majority of the video is a verdant, thriving and bright forest; this is to imply that the environment recruits could look forward to would be comfortable and relaxed. Occasionally there is footage showing groups of young men, often in balaclavas toting machine guns and seemingly having a good time; the sense of camaraderie and solidarity will no doubt appeal to the audience.
The video is however very long indeed and there isn’t enough interesting things happening or being said to justify this duration. The speeches often seem slightly confused, incoherent and are not particularly inspiring.
Nevertheless, I suspect the mere fact that the organisation has produced a professional looking video that speaks directly to the small group of people who were considering making the very dangerous trip will be inspiration enough for the potential recruits.
The Economist newspaper published today has an article on political advertising that is worth a read.
And in case you don’t make it all the way through, I’ve kindly pulled out the key quotation above.
Don’t mention it.
UKIP have released a new batch of billboards in advance of the upcoming EU elections.
The posters are the most polished and creatively driven that the party have ever produced. This, combined with their punchy, straight talking tone has meant that the adverts have already generated a huge amount of press interest.
They use the slogan ‘take back control of our country’ and, amongst other things, highlight the fact that 75% of British laws are made in Brussels and that UK taxpayers fund the ‘celebrity lifestyle’ of EU bureaucrats.
The party has taken aim at the huge number of people who feel alienated by Westminster politics and who would sign up to a “common sense” approach.
The fact that their content will annoy the liberal political elite is testament to their likely success.
The posters are funded by millionaire Mr Sykes who has pledged a blank cheque to UKIP leader Nigel Farage to try and win the upcoming election.
The Conservative Party have released this ad attacking Ed Miliband’s response to the budget today.
It’s fairly straight and won’t set the internet on fire, but it’s a useful piece of content for helping to win the social media budget battle currently raging online.
Indian model Meghna Patel has posed almost completely nude for some political adverts supporting Narendra Modi in the upcoming Indian elections.
The official Modi campaign, despite the images going immediately viral, have quickly distanced themselves from the stunt saying that they “are not in support of such vulgar displays”.
It seems Patel, the Indian equivalent of a daytime TV presenter has shamelessly tried to capitalise on the biggest election the world has ever seen (over 814 million citizens are eligible to vote) to raise her own public profile.
The Guardian newspaper put it brilliantly by saying “it’s a rare story of politics being used to make nudity interesting”.
Here’s a nice graphic that’s doing the rounds on Twitter this morning pointing out the stark difference in Russia’s actions and attitude between February and March.
It’s not clear who has produced it, but it’s beautifully done and wonderfully simple.
UK politician Mark Harper MP today resigned his position as Immigration Minister after realising he had been employing a cleaner who has been working in the country illegally.
Political Scrapbook, a left wing blog, has jumped on the scandal and produced the above image which brilliantly pastiches the government’s anti-illegal immigrant advertising campaign from last year.
A fantastic piece of political parody and point scoring from @psbook.
The Yes campaign are using a quotation from an article in the Financial Times in their latest piece of online content.
3rd Party endorsements are an essential element to any campaign and few are as highly regarded with regards to matters of the economy than the FT. However, both sides are using FT articles as endorsements.
It will be interesting to see if the FT act to clarify their position.
Today London saw its fourth cycle-related fatality in eight days. Cycle safety in the capital is an issue that is gaining momentum and one of the organisations leading that charge is charity Space For Cycling.
The above image of a memorial that Space For Cycling created this afternoon on the roundabout in east London where the latest causality was taken was tweeted by the charity moments ago.
The issue is causing anger and frustration as Boris Johnson, London’s Mayor, was elected in both 2008 and 2012 on a promise of improving cycle routes and safety and there is very little change since he took office.
In the 5 years since Boris Johnson was elected only 5 cycle ‘superhighways’ (read: proper bike lanes) have been created. The Mayor’s policy is to get to the point where “levels of investment are approaching those of other leading European cycling cities”.
Critics point out that given that London is Europe’s largest city by population and the number of cyclists on its streets have increased by 173 per cent since 2001, aiming to one day match funding of much smaller cities seems slightly lamentable.
The charity has stated that:
“We urgently need the government to start taking cycling as a means of transport seriously and to reallocate space so that it can be done without the conflict.”