The take-away message of ‘you can’t cut your way out of a recession, you have to grow your way out’ was completely muddled by the sheer amount of stock-looking footage (the most often repeated and worst sin of party political broadcasts) and policy name-checks.
Don’t get me wrong, I get that it was all meant to show “Labour acting, where the Tories wouldn’t” but that message is too complicated and didn’t cut through.
The best bits – Showing Gordon hard at work, late into the night in a ‘behind the scenes’ style. Coverage of Gordon’s speech to Congress.
The worst bits – When it cut to Gordon in the garden and from a standing start he begins to walk for no apparent reason. Cringe. The bit where Gordon takes two steps towards Obama to shake his hand and stands awkwardly close to him, Obama offers only a lean. Double cringe.
Those two ‘worst bits’ may seem completely trivial, but it’s those tiny bits of awkwardness that turn people off Gordon. As Thaler and Sunstein masterfully point out in Nudge:
“A candidate who makes a bad first impression, or who tries to win votes by complex arguments and statistical demonstrations, may well run into trouble.”
In this party political broadcast Gordon makes a couple of really bad impressions and rounds it off with some relatively complex arguments and policy demonstrations. Not good.