Sanders: they’ve all come to look for America

Bernie Sanders campaign ad ‘America’ has reached over 3 million views on YouTube, but I suspect that as a TV ad it has deeply effected many more voters.

I first came across the ad in late January when I saw a few people from across the pond sharing it, but I only watched about 20 seconds before exiting.

I was genuinely surprised that smart people I was following seemed to be ‘feeling the Bern’ so strongly that they would share a seemingly dry video that overused stock-looking footage.

I should have just been a little bit more patient, as the very same film which I was so eager to dismiss has since gone viral and become the candidates most popular official video.

It turns out that at about 30 seconds into the minute long ad, the editors have cleverly used a combination of uplifting crowd scenes and audio engineering to stimulate a sense of euphoria and ecstasy from viewers.

There isn’t a single word spoken in the entire 60 seconds.  Nor is there a narrative or any characterisation of any significance.  And yet somehow they’ve created a hugely emotive and inspiring commercial.

It was definitely created as a TV spot, rather than a video to generate a viral response.  It fails miserably in the ‘grab the viewers attention in the first 3 second’ test; a measure which is vital to getting people to stick with a film on Facebook or YouTube.

But like many of the great longer length TV commercials, it builds into a wonderful crescendo and leaves a lasting impression.

As well as the patriotic music, the inclusion of the candidate’s smiling face at the end of the spot is a lovely way to finish and will help dispel attacks from Clinton et al that Sanders is a demon socialist intent on destroying the USA.

#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.

UPDATE: I’ve since written a longer analysis of this spot for Campaign magazine –

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.