Comment Writer Colum Hawken argues that the world can no longer rely on the US to defend it from North KoreaWritten by Redbrick on 26th July 2017
Green Party Broadcast Takes a Risk to Break Labour’s Monopoly
Marketing Secretary William Baxter argues that the Green Party Broadcast aims high, but falls short of their previous efforts
Picture the scene. It is the 9th of June, and Corbyn’s Labour have stormed to victory with a manifesto traced from Das Kapital. It is now the past. Not Victorian England past, but the past of our parents. Everything you own is a shade of beige. Disco is playing. The TV flickers in the background. Every single ad is the Green Party Election broadcast.
Of course, it’s not the 20th century. It’s 2017, and you’re no longer watching party political broadcasts on telly – you’re a modern student, scrolling Facebook to avoid talking to your housemates. This is the landscape of the modern, viral, political broadcast, and it is here that this ad will thrive.
So what’s the big idea? The ad for the Greens is itself an ad, for the fictional board game ‘The Race to Number Ten’. This is therefore a new form of political broadcasting, an ad within an ad. Now, to me this seems to be the sneakiest way yet to get advertising on the BBC. Who would’ve thought that it would be a socialist party that would get over Charles Saatchi’s greatest obstacle? The game shows all of the issues with modern politics identified with the party – it’s essentially a family friendly Christmas treat that’s easier to illustrate than the charade card 'explain why the Greens haven’t won an election.'
“This is the landscape of the modern, viral, political broadcast, and it is here that this ad will thrive
Beyond the cynicism, all of the points raised are valid. The Greens realise this election is a two-horse race. The point they’re trying to make (rather well, it has to be said) is that both horses have broken legs, rabies and are pulling Roman chariots of death, designed to bankrupt and ultimately starve the masses as well as destroy the planet. Big aims, for a two and a bit minute ad.
The spot starts on a typical family scene with the group starting the game. Nice visual puns such as the (presumably) 16 year old vanishing from the picture are achieved well throughout the spot. Other highlights include the older parents in 90s suits representing the Tories, while the bright young things of Labour are resplendent in tie-dye tees.
It’s not all visual. The jokes are delivered with punch, and I’d say probably half of them landed humorously on first watch. Not bad for political comedy – watch any episode of HIGNFY and genuinely tell me you laughed all the way through. Any party that’s capable of turning a broadcast into something even mildly funny deserves praise.
But is there any meat behind the family-friendly comedy? Given Caroline Lucas’s longstanding commitment to vegetarianism, I doubt it. The ad is nowhere near as funny as the last spot, satirising Tory and Labour politicians as well as providing a very timely link to the channel 4 hit ‘The Secret Life of 5 Year Olds.'
Ironically, given that it’s one of the ads’ targets, there’s far too much political point scoring. The ad is funny, but really gives few actual reasons to vote Green. Watching this as an uninformed viewer, one could be forgiven for coming away knowing almost nothing about what the party actually stands for.
“The ad is nowhere near as funny as the last spot
Which is a shame. It’s a great concept, and is genuinely quite funny. But there’s no point in being funny if you can’t win some votes by informing the electorate on your policies. With Labour shifting to the left, the Green Party’s traditional core is massively under threat. Now is more important than ever for them to have a strong (and stable!) message, something definitely not found in this spot.
But then again, what do I know? #ChangeTheGame currently stands at over 15,000 views on the Greens’ official YouTube channel. Labour’s best effort? A lowly 2,000. The Greens may be going viral, but I still think it will be a few years until they’re winning the race to number 10.