Kids Company – See the child, change the system

Kids Company, the charity for vulnerable children, have started a campaign that is overtly political in nature, as opposed to their usual fundraising and awareness-driving activity.

The ad features a voice-over by a child who talks about where she lives and plays, accompanied by slum-like images and powerfully makes the point that politicians aren’t doing enough to improve the lives of vulnerable children.

The sense the viewer gets is that there is a never-ending cycle of cruelty and neglect amongst parts of the child population.  The film is designed to stimulate a strong sense of injustice and I can imagine it will provoke the desired reaction of getting people signing the petition.

Once people have signed the petition they are encouraged to upload a photo of themselves as a child to Facebook and share the campaign.  This is a nice viral hook, playing brilliantly to peoples vanity, and should help spread the message further.

The campaign is running in cinema, online, radio, social media, outdoor and press.

ISIS recruitment video – There is No Life Without Jihad

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.

Labour Party Election Broadcast 2014: The Un-credible Shrinking Man

The Labour Party have released a new party election broadcast in advance of the European and Local elections taking place on 22nd May.

The video, shot in black and white and filmed in the style of a Harry Enfield Cholmondley Warner sketch, is set around the Cabinet table and shows Nick Clegg being verbally beaten into submission – and physically shrinking – by a domineering David Cameron.

It’s very professionally put together, but the strategy and creative execution seems like a big mistake to me.

I think the tone is very sneering and slightly mean-spirited.  Obviously they’re trying to attribute those values to the Tories, but I think it’s backfired.  It feels like the Labour Party are being disdainful, arrogant and condescending towards Clegg and the Lib Dems.

The preposterous portrayal of the Conservative Party as old-fashioned toffs just doesn’t ring true.  Whilst lots of people will disagree with Tory policies, I don’t think many people will find the characterisation of the Tory’s in this video fair, funny or appropriate.

Class warfare doesn’t tend to play very well with the British electorate.  It certainly didn’t during the Crewe and Nantwich by-election in 2008 and I don’t think the public will have suddenly taken to it since.

The attack is not insightful, clever or particularly funny.  I’m amazed it got signed off by the famously conservative Labour Party command.  I would have thought the bit in the script where it says “we see a naked / miniature Nick Clegg chased down the Cabinet table by a cat” would have set off some alarm bells in the leadership’s heads.

I genuinely wouldn’t be surprised if this gets pulled before long.

Better Together poster: best of both worlds

Better together - best of both worlds

 

The Better Together campaign in Scotland have this week released the above billboard.

Having received widespread criticism for running a negative campaign, Better Together have clearly decided that some positive posters are the order of the day.

I think this is a mistake.

It is the role of challengers to sell anger about the status quo – something which the Yes campaign have been doing to no small degree, albeit occasionally blended with messaging around hope.

However, it is the role of the incumbent to sell fear of change.  If they fancy sticking some ‘there’s still so much to do’ in there for good measure, fine.  But the fear should be non-negotiable.

Better Together should not allow themselves to be put off course by the Yes campaign’s complaints about the tone of their campaign.  When polling day comes, it will not be vanilla, forgettable copy and imagery like the above which will make the electorate think twice about putting a cross in the ‘yes’ box.

UKIP billboards for EU elections 2014

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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.

Green Party video on Europe

The Green Party released this video last week to coincide with EU debates between UKIP’s Nigel Farage (pronounced like ‘garage’ with an f) and the Lib Dem’s Nick Clegg MP.

It’s very long.  So, so long.

Something’s got to be intensely interesting to keep your attention on YouTube for over 3 minutes and I’m afraid this doesn’t quite cut it.  There’s some funny moments, but I bet any vaguely normal person would have closed the window before the Green Party spokesman appeared.

The party win points for timeliness, but get a slapped wrist for overindulging themselves.