Five of the best political adverts: Britain deserves better

This week we’re running a series featuring five of the most effective political adverts. After looking at the US and Australia, today it is back to the UK and the 1997 general election campaign:

Yesterday’s Australian advert, It’s Time, looked as much like a music video as a political advert. Music too played a major role in one of the UK Labour Party’s 1997 general election broadcasts, and the most powerful of all the ones I’ve seen ‘live’ at the time of broadcast.

As in the Australian Labor Party’s case, Labour too had been out of power for a long time – 18 years this time – and also faced an incumbent government that many felt had passed its sell-by date. The genius of the Labour ’97 effort was to put together ingredients which usually featured in Conservative broadcasts – patriotic music, Union Jacks, Conservative ministers, celebrating Conservative members – and turn them into a devastating attack, raising fears of what another term of Conservative government might do.

As I noted in my previous blog post about this broadcast, watch out for the very different way in which Ken Clarke was viewed then compared with now:

(Also available on YouTube here.)

You can see all the posts in this series on our Political Ads page – and scroll to the bottom of that page for Luis Fishman’s classic. The stretch from 7 seconds in until 22 seconds in is fairly normal. But as for the rest…

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6 Comments

  • “What is striking is that, after Labour had made such an utter mess of things, the Tories didn’t come up with something similarly devastating last May.”

    I suppose it was their failure to land the killer punch which lost them the election. Thank goodness for their new friends, the Lib Dems!

  • David Rogers 10th Dec '10 - 8:31am

    Had forgotten that the Brighton Centre featured so prominently…….also rather more sand apparently on the beach in front of it than is usually the case!

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