In the second of our Election Broadcast Special ‘Emotions Trump Facts’ series, we have this classic from New Labour 1997. It starts out with Mum getting the kids their breakfast and father in suit obviously on his way to work (this video intro would be considered a hate crime these days.)
The conversation turns to schools, stoking fear over the fact that there is only one good secondary school nearby, which in fairness was probably true.
The ad announces with very scary music that if the Tories get back into power there will be fewer good schools. There are some facts in there – but it is run almost entirely on emotion and in particular plays on that ever-present middle-class fear that stalks suburbia, namely that your kid will end up at the sink comprehensive.
Then the broadcast turns to the NHS. The wife needs to see a specialist, but is told she will not get an appointment for six months. The doctor, seeing a newspaper with a headline that says John Major wants five more years in government, announces: ‘Five more years – we’ll be lucky if there is a NHS in five more years if that lot get in again.’ Then the killer punch, ‘They don’t care if you are sick as long as you are cost-effective.’ BOOM!
Wife looks very fearful indeed. And remember – she is fearing death itself. So I’d say this was an excellent manipulator of emotions, or in the parlance of our time ‘mindf*ck’ tactic.
Do continue watching for the burglary that takes place just outside the family home while the kids are having a birthday party. I am not making this stuff up. It ends with ‘Next time the Tories would stop at nothing’. In the US, this is called an attack ad.
Not to be outdone is this Conservative Election Broadcast from the same year that begins with some men and trees and slightly odd music.
The tree keeps falling over because ‘it has no roots’. The party without roots is New Labour, which has ditched everything it stood for to make it look electable. This ad is so bizarre and creepy that I have no doubt some ‘analyst’ dreamt it up for the Tories after some smart polling.
However, it is just not scary enough for me and it wasn’t scary enough for the electorate that time either. Well, it made the Tories look scary but I doubt if that was the intention.