One new aspect of election campaigning in this country is the advent of the campaign video. Candidates are making them, political parties are making them, but individuals and campaign groups are also making them too. So far we haven't seen many American style attack videos, but in the latter stages of the campaign we may see more of them. Today, the Young Britons' Foundation has released a video pointing out what it thinks the dangers of a hung parliament would be.
Last week, another video appeared on Youtube, which is pro Change.
What both of the these videos have in common is that they are very careful not to tell you who which party to vote for. "Vote for a Strong Party" is the YBF message. I wonder who that could be. "Vote for Change" says the second one, with a yellow background. Hmmm.
But these are two very contrasting videos. The second one carries a very positive message and by the end gets positively inspirational. The first one is full of gloom and doom and warns of the consequences of a hung parliament. It's very professionally made and simple to understand, but I have to say that it overdoes its message. The consequences it outlines may well be possible, but few people watching will believe them.
The lesson from all this is that it is far easier to make a positive message work in video campaigning in this country than a negative one. I remember when 18 Doughty Street did a series of attack ads that it was incredibly difficult to get them right. We're not America, and we're not used to them, so they can easily go down like the proverbial lead balloon, or backfire totally.
This goes back to my theory that optimistic politicians with optimistic messages are more likely to win elections than those who are pessimists. Of course negative campaigning has a role to play, but it has to be subtle and it needs to resonate with what the electorate is already thinking - even subconsciously.