WHY POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS NEED VIDEOS
Mike Ramsden on why having a short film is so important to modern political campaigning
Got a political campaign? Then you need a campaign video. It’s a chance for the voter to experience candidates at first hand, to hear what they have to say beyond a news soundbite. It’s a good way to focus campaign messaging and drive support. Here are some political campaign videos that have caught my eye over the last few weeks, with some of my personal views on what makes them memorable or distinctive.
Andy Burnham is standing for Labour leader, and his video is serious. There’s no introduction, no music, no jaunty camera moves. Instead, we find ourselves in what looks like Andy’s library, perhaps where he does his big thinking. Look at the lines of leather-bound books. See the walls of important documents. They say Andy Burnham is learned, sober, considered. And like all good piece-to-camera videos, it ends on a close-up, with a trio of short sentences.
There’s intimate lighting, and an air of statesman-like calm. This will only have taken a few hours to create, from start to finish, and it’s a great example of a quick, effective and good value way to get a campaign up and running – if the subject of the film has the gravitas to deliver a speech effectively.
Driving indie soundtrack? Check. Punchy messages in friendly font? Check. Jump cuts, focus pulls and reframes? Check. “It’s time for a change.” Of broadband supplier? Of coffee machine? No, of Labour leader. This video feels like an advert, and shows Yvette Cooper, who’s standing for Labour leader, being one of us, ‘meeting the people’, and removing herself from ‘politics that’s got stuck in an analogue age, at a time when there’s a real digital future’. So watch out, you stuffy Westminster lot!
It gets a bit repetitive in the middle (has she met everyone yet?) but there’s real credibility in using her own words, spoken on the hustings in her own constituency. The film is aspirational and memorable, upbeat and modern, and won’t have been expensive or time-consuming to make.
Or you could just forget politics completely, and use art instead. Ivan Massow is hoping to become the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London, and his video owes a huge debt to the artist Julian Opie (think the cover of Best of Blur) with an animation that’s upfront (‘I’m a former alcoholic’) and honest (‘I’m someone who hates politics as normal’). It’s so removed from politics that it fails to mention which party he wants to become a candidate for.
This video is a delight to watch. Every frame is considered, and each sequence utterly memorable. Unlike anything I’ve seen in the political sphere. It will win awards. And it will have cost a lot of money.
Want to see me as a 7 year old Labour campaigner, take a look at this video for the deputy leadership election:https://t.co/N0WC3gR9oJ
— Tom Watson (@tom_watson) June 17, 2015
Now for some real emotion, and a real empathy with the job that needs doing. Tom Watson is standing for Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. He’s a great performer on camera because his passion for what he does beams out of every shot. He uses plain language to show you his lifelong commitment to Labour, and his fearless campaigning. ‘That’s another thing my mum taught me – it’s what you do, not just what you say, that matters.’
It’s a hard heart that isn’t moved by this video. It presses all the right Labour buttons, and won’t have been expensive to make. Nice job. Interestingly, this video isn’t on YouTube. Tom’s team have embedded the video in Twitter instead, which is one of his primary communications channels. His audience knows where to find him, so that’s where he’s delivering his content.
Another MP with a huge presence on Twitter is Stella Creasy, who’s also standing for Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. Rather than a video, she’s gone for a different approach. A gif, or series of slides that run together, pointing out, with some humour, why people join Labour. Perfect for sharing on social media, this lets Stella’s personality shine through, without a single shot of a hand being shaken. Political video campaigning for a Vine audience.
PLMR makes video for campaigns, like this one for Cut Tourism VAT. Call us to see how video can help your campaign, on 020 7622 9529.