The way political parties communicate with voters has changed dramatically over the years. Since the first campaign videos in the 50s, the use of video has only become more popular, due to the wide reach and easy access to knowledge they provide. Now in the digital age, it has become incredibly easy for people to spread their ideas, without leaving their home. Because of this, a wide range of results have been achieved, with varying success. I will be going over some of the most informative ones I have found and looking into what makes them stand out from the competition.
The first videos I am going to outline are those made by Tim Bearder, a Councillor for Oxfordshire County Council. The videos he makes are concise, informative and well-made with visually appealing graphics and video editing. Among these are his videos campaigning against building thousands of houses on greenbelt land in Oxfordshire. He manages to convey a clear point with coherent messages, in only a few minutes all by himself. The fact that he uses the same graphics and style of music over all his videos provide consistency and show how his views over multiple videos are unaltered. Some great examples of his are:
- A video showing his views on preserving nature and helping the environment.
- A video showing his views on cuts to transport and other services.
- A video where Tim shows how cuts to funding are affecting education.
Overall it is a combination of his production quality, down to earth approach and clear messages that make them so informative.
Larger budget productions
In contrast, there are some campaign videos with much higher budgets that focus more on ordinary people, showing how life is and would be with the changes applied. These adverts go for a more heartfelt approach, with a wide range of locations and more people involved in the production. They can show how issues are affecting people and give context to the points raised. These can often feature slogans and hashtags heavily to help share the advert to as many people as possible. Some examples are:
- “Manchester Together” – Liberal Democrat advert.
- “Demand Better than Brexit” – Liberal Democrat advert.
These videos were made by the Liberal Democrats and are both informative and evoke a response. The first, as mentioned features slogans and hashtags to help spread the word. The message is represented clearly, without any dialogue. The second features a narration with strong themes and a poignant message.
- “The cost of living under the Tories” – Labour advert featuring personal accounts.
- “We’re Rebuilding Britain” – Labour advert depicting normal peoples lives.
These two adverts were both made by the Labour party and show two different approaches to the same sort of advert, the first with a montage of interviews, whereas the second features a single narrator. A sense of realism is conveyed through both.
This video is an advert for Bernie Sanders’ 2020 campaign and features a montage of clips, with narration.
The video above is a video campaigning for Amy McGrath for congress, featuring an emotionally resonant themes and a clear message.
This is a campaign advert from 2012 that is straight to the point, and informative. It tries to get as much information across in a short time.
Adverts with a narrative
Another approach is to to make an political broadcast with a storyline. The use of a plot can help to reinforce slogans and create vivid imagery for the viewer. Here are some examples of this style:
These two adverts take slightly different viewpoints, with the first featuring two characters without dialogue and narration towards the end, and the second without any dialogue apart from the radio using the metaphors of other cars to represent the opposition. The narrative device of the radio was used in both to show how broader issues are affecting individual people.
Another way to use a narrative is to use comedy. The advert above has a mockumentary feel with depicts a boardroom with a group of people brainstorming ideas about the Liberal Democrats with the comedic ideas, intertwined with an explanation of policies and facts. The comedic approach helps resonate with audiences on a humorous level, whilst being informative.
The first of the two above is a serious advert for the Canadian Liberals in 2015, whereas the second was made by their opposition to parody that made by the liberals where the metaphor of an escalator is played for comedic effect, instead of the serious tone in the first advert.