Obama has released a new attack ad which features Mitt Romney’s singing voice – mixed to sound even more haunting – as a musical accompaniment to a series of statements which criticise the Republican candidate on his business and financial record.
The hollow singing combined with empty environments shown in the visuals create an eery and uneasy feeling in the viewer.
It’s a strong piece of negative advertising that has clearly touched a chord (sorry…) with the electorate as the video has had over 1 million views within 3 days of launch. That’s a huge amount for any advert, but particularly impressive for a political ad which doesn’t have anything particularly shocking or amusing in its content.
There are three words, that when combined, are responsible for more hours of hot air talked, volumes of bullshit written and vacuous PowerPoint charts created than any other in the history of the English Language.
Social. Media. Strategy.
How many Directors of Communications for political parties, candidates and pressure groups have spent countless hours pouring their hearts and souls into serving up their own brand of social media bullshit to their masters?
Now, whenever one needs to sound like a guru of all things Twitter, Facebook, and FourSquare simply type whatthefuckismysocialmediastrategy.com into your browser and copy and paste as necessary.
There’s a fantastic article about the influence of social media on elections on Under Strict Embargo. In it, he disputes Weber Shandwick’s (leading PR agency) assertion that social media will have minimal impact at the next general election.
Weber Shandwick hold this opinion on account of a consumer survey which found that only 5% of voters would be influenced by things they have seen on social media sites, whilst 59% site national /regional print and broadcast media.
As Daljit rightly points out, traditional media doesn’t sit in a silo from social media. Social media can and does have a profound impact on the news agenda. Recent examples of social media campaigns that have picked up significant coverage in the mainstream media include the ‘We love the NHS’ campaign, the Damian McBride affair and the Cambourne / Jedward advert.
I’d be willing to bet that in the run-up to pollling day there will be many more bits of content, seeded on social media, that will end up having a significant impact on the narrative of this election.
I went to a talk by adland guru Trevor Beattie last night at an event held by Monkey Shoulder Whisky. He covered everything from space travel, to the new very amusing Walls Sausages work but the main thrust of the speech was overtly political. Beattie, whilst at TBWA, was in charge of the Labour Party’s advertising during the last 3 general elections (example above) and his work has to be given an, albeit small, share of the credit for the party’s electoral success.
He lambasted the party political broadcasts that have been subjected on the electorate recently and stated that the Labour Party would need to significantly up their communications game if they want to succeed in the upcoming general election. However, Beattie no longer controls the Labour Party’s communications fortunes, as when Gordon Brown came to power he awarded Saatchi & Saatchi the account. However, I got the distinct impression that Beattie was itching to get back into the political advertising fold…
I just saw this UKIP poster featuring Winston Churchill on a site on the M1 motorway. Churchill was a member of both The Liberal Party and The Conservative Party, when exactly did he sign on the UKIP dotted line? This poster makes UKIP look more ridiculous than Robert Kilroy Silk on I’m a celebrity… get me out of here!
Camilla Ferranit, pictured above, makes up one of many other glamorous faces that Silvio Berlusconi has unveiled as prospective European Parliamentary MPs for Italy.
If his candidates are political lightweights and don’t have an idea between them, this is a shameless PR stunt that will doubtless backfire. The vast majority of people take elections for who will represent them very seriously and any attempt to turn the European elections into a beauty contest will almost certainly be rebuffed.
However, if they are equally or more politically competent, driven and engaged with the population than a bunch of grey haired fella’s then I applaud Mr Berlusconi for bringing in to politics, in his words, “new and young faces”.
Kevin Coyne is having a go at using new media to promote his candidacy in the upcoming Unite Union General Secretary elections. However, like the worst sort of political speeches, it feels slightly ‘box ticky'; almost like it’s going through the motions. There’s no passion and enthusiasm emerging from any of the political advertising. You can use new media as much as you like, but the media will always be secondary to the style and inspiration of the communication – which in this case is lacking.
It’s like his campaign manager has gone to a ‘how to campaign like Obama’ event and gathered that in order to win an election all you have to do is: use the word ‘Change’ in your slogan, have a blog, make online donation easy, start a facebook group and have literature to download and pass on.
Don’t get me wrong, using these media channels is essential in an election campaign, but that doesn’t change the fact that the message you’re communicating via these channels has to be motivating and coherent as well as look appealing and attractive. You can use all the new media channels in the world, if you’re communication looks and reads as boring and amateur as this (below) nobody is going to want to engage with it.