So here we are, a few days before the 2010 General Election. A good time for a little review of how the election has gone from a communications perspective. And it’s all been a little surprising, and dare I say it, disappointing.
This was the election that was supposed to be decided by mumsnet, fought out Obama-stylee across social media and where the only thing that was 100% certain was that old crappy media like TV would have no role whatsoever to play in the decision making process. But it hasn’t quite worked out that way has it?
1) Apart from the (very) occasional piece of interest in social media - mydavidcameron was very good - the impact of Facebook et al has been pretty minimal. The Tories seemed to be doing something interesting for a time using twitter to send messages from 2015 about the impact of a Labour administration but again it seemed criminally underused or leveraged. There was some marginally interesting tweeting from party reps surrounding the third debate but to be frank I was more impressed with the bloody “Widdiweb” last time out. For all the hype it has all been pretty dull and disappointing – and certainly nowhere near as influential or impactful as predicted. I’ve hashtagged myself silly and no party has bothered to engage with me (it comes to something when British Airways and Starbucks are outflanking you). It’s all been a little bit of a damp squib. And believe me, it’s not like I’ve not been ALL OVER IT trying to shamelessly rob stuff for planning case studies for the next five years. Obama it ain’t.
2) Perhaps the most disappointing thing from an industry perspective however has been the lack of any proper impact from any of the advertising campaigns for any of the parties. I can’t remember having seen a party political broadcast.
Can you remember a single truly memorable, historical poster? Thought not.
The traditional topical poster anyone? A ‘Demon Eyes’? A ‘Labour Isn’t Working’? A ‘Labour Tax Bombshell’? Hell, I’d even settle for a ‘Mr Boom & Mr Bust’. But nothing.
Not sure what’s to blame for it – maybe everyone was too busy trying to develop transmedia 360 socially networked twitter content for......er.....the internet.
I think we might see some pretty searching questions get asked at Tory & Labour HQ about advertising budgets for the next election. If I were them, next time, I’d just flight a bit of paid-for media around the three debates and leave it at that.
3) Which brings me to BIG TELLY. It was the only thing that was supposed to be redundant and the only thing really that has engaged anyone or set the campaign alight. Even Nick Clegg’s mum used to have a problem picking him out of a line up last month and one TV debate later he is suddenly the kingmaker. The role of TV has been really interesting – it must have given Thinkbox enough ammunition for the next ten years. The debates were the only thing of any real interest to anyone (hence why non-events like Bigot-gate were being desperately latched onto by a media in the absence of anything really interesting to talk about)
As someone who remembers when there were only three TV channels (and about eighty million people used to sit watching 3-2-1 on a Saturday night with the family) it is rather heart warming to see that TV can land a couple of blows on mumstwitfacespace and the brave new world.
It would have been nice to have a poster for the history books. But I suppose we’ll have to make do with a few stills of the debate.
Don’t forget to vote.
KC for WTO