The YouTube war: Holborn and St Pancras

NEVER mind Twitter anyhow, what of YouTube? Frank Dobson hasn’t bothered – but my oh my, why has it taken me so long to find these little beauties from his Conservative and Lib Dem opponents in Holborn and St Pancras?

Now, you don’t have to watch the videos on this post – my excuse is that it’s part of the job – but wow, just wow. It’s the shimmery gloss of an in-flight airline brochure competing against the home-made charm of a DIY election broadcast. Whichever is better, a fair amount of effort has gone into these clips even though nobody is really sure about what kind of impact they can have on the local polls.

1st up George Lee. Filmed from what looks like an idyllic Bond film location, a sunny lakeside with palm-tree like trees. It’s certainly not Camden. There’s some blurry fade effects, a few wind in the hair moments, George as a young cop, George standing on a hill looking down at the city from the top of a hill. And it’s all set to trippy backbeat and some whirry noises. It’s almost an attempt at hypnosis, his words carefully spaced out as if metered by a metronome. It’s a bit of poetry, a soothing storytelling session. You could press it and sell it as 7″. They should. Just speed it up a little and turn up the backing music, it’d then be like a record by The Streets, a half-rap about George’s dreams of tomorrow delivered in an open neck shirt rather than a tracksuit and cap.

2nd up Jo Shaw. On her Shaw2Win Youtube suite, she stands alongside her chums for a celebration of the Cantelowes ward, a see-saw Lib Dem/Labour neighbourhood. Now, the game is here to guess how many times you will hear ‘Hello, I’m…’ Ben Rawlings, for example, keeps reminding us who he is. The best big hello is at 1.10 – where Jo introduces Fred Carver at the football pitches. His enthusiam, stage presence and wavy arms are priceless. I’m sure you can see Jo trying not to crack up laughing next to him. Then there’s 1.42, where Sarah Hoyle gives an unexplained quizzical look to the heavens when she explains that her and Ben are in Lawford Road to look at some trees, while Jo later attempts to tell us about the Kentish Town Health Centre with the constant interruption of car doors slamming. No need for another take.

So, George wins hands down on slickness but there is a down to earth charm to the Lib Dem film which might just resonate with people – should they ever find it on YouTube (I’m still wondering how many would have the inclination to go searching for it). And the clunky nature of Jo’s vid might just be deliberate, as invites us to think what would happen if we all tried to make a film like this at home. It would probably come out like this, choppy and with wind blowing through the microphone.

On the election trail, there’s nothing to be lost with people identifying with their candidates like that and on a hyperlocal scale, slick and smooth might not always win the day.

5 Comments on The YouTube war: Holborn and St Pancras

  1. I’m not sure how the Green Party one for Natalie Bennett compares, we put it together last year on the climate demo but there’s an irritating man who keeps blowing a horn through it.

    Slick it is not – no wind in the hair or funky music (horn aside) but it does have politics in it and the fact we wanted to do our video at the large climate change demo I hope says something.

  2. re: George Lee’s advert.
    Is political advertising non-commercial? If it is, fine.
    If it isn’t then is the use of the music under Creative Commons License CC-BY-NC-SA valid?

  3. The original version of George Lee’s film contained the now removed gem, “when I first came to this country I only knew one word of English, ‘tomorrow'”
    I’m certain about this as I watched it about 15 times in a row to make sure my ears weren’t deceiving me.

  4. Cllr. Theo Blackwell // March 5, 2010 at 3:03 pm //

    Lol, love the Lib dem one – by Camden’s famous skating board park, a project funded, designed, initiated by Labour before 2006: not like they are taking the credit for it just because the ribbon happened to be cut just after the elections in May 2006?

    YouTube’s a good vehicle for people who want to spin themselves as local to that area, e.g. sarah Hoyle – who popped up a couple of months ago, in true Lib dem style as a ‘local’ candidate. What exactloy are her local credentials anyway if they are playing that card?

  5. Cllr. Theo Blackwell // March 9, 2010 at 3:03 pm //

    With all those palm trees, what are the odds George Lee had his sugary, but expensive looking, YouTube vid shot somewhere tropical, like in Belize?

    George Lee – Change you can Belize in!

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