Why the UUP political broadcast was so awful…

6 12 2008

The UUP’s party political broadcast was appalling. Why so bad?

The UUP is going through a period of change. It is unsettling. Reportedly some even in the Assembly Group have been unsettled.

The PEB answers at least one question: how do you travel down the road of change so imperceptibly as to appear at rest?

The dark wood table, hardback tomes on Carson, long lingering shots of the Union flag, the non sequitor cutaway of Reg walking to nowhere in particular, and a staid, tired old monologue to camera. Then comes the monotonous, dreadful, fuzzy script that veered one way and then another. And check out the sighing Fred Cobain at 1min 50sec – he can barely keep his eyes open. My god this is dull.

But for Staff at Bobballs, it is wrong to write this off as an ineffective broadcast. Consider whom the architects of this piece were playing to? The intended audience was the UUP’s core vote/branch member (over 55, naturally conservative but fiercely independently minded). This was about reassurance for them.

So the rationale behind the ‘why’ is understandable. But it still was a mistake to broadcast in this way.

The PEB went out 24 hours ahead of the UUP/Cameron conference and it sets a tone for the conversation the UUP wants to have with the electorate. So when the UUP was on the cusp of a brave new departure (what Dave called a ‘modern, outward-looking, inclusive, compassionate Conservative and Unionist party for the 21st century’) it tried to do it with flags and Carson.

What about the psychology behind the ‘why’? Perhaps all these theatrics might suggest that the Party is lacking in confidence. It references its future but is more comfortable talking over its past. The PEB’s historical contextualising lasts for more than half this broadcast. Despite the unanimous Executive their dominant strategy is underpinned by caution, even nerviness.

The UUP must revisit and dissect the thinking behind their broadcast. They must ask themselves, how could we have done this better?

The conference will plaster over the cracks of this broadcast. But they cannot rely on a star turn every once in a while to carry this merger. The UUP must sell this deal – but not like this. Surely UUP broadcasts can never again look like this again.




2 responses

9 12 2008
Shuffling Geisha

Think my favourite bit was the camera zooming in on Jonathon Barden’s history of Ulster, yawn.

It was a classic PEB of old when all the family simultaneously leap for control to switch channel as quickly as possible.

Nothing eye catching, nothing new looking, nothing aspirational, just mundane words that only around 1% of the population will have actually listened to.

Looks like it was done in about half an hour…which it probably was.

10 12 2008
Staff at Bobballs

Sadly, must agree with every word. Had to think twice about posting it up – thought it was a joke.

The last time Staff at Bobballs saw something this bad… well it was at a time when you still had to get up and walk to the TV to switch it off.

Our fav bit is still the ‘Freddie stifles a yawn’ moment. That he could intuitively sense how bored the TV audience would be at 1min 50secs into this bollocks says much for his political radar.

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