Friday, April 16, 2010

Leaving Broken Promises Behind

In the Liberal Democratic Party's first (rather long) ad of the 2010 General Election, Nick Clegg makes a stark (and predictable) pledge to British voters: no more broken promises.

The ad itself is actually rather brilliant. In the ad, countless sheets of paper -- each one presumably describing an election promise made by either Labour or the Conservative Party (well, in actually, most of them are probably blank sheets of paper) blow about in the wind while Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg outlines his party's platform for the election.

Clegg insists that there have been too many broken promises not only in the past few years, but in the past 30 years.

The wind blows the sheets of paper all around in the background, as Clegg continually appears in the foreground, walking toward the camera, and away from the broken promises of his competitors.

The goal of the ad is very simple: Clegg and the Lib Dems want to counter-brand Labour and the Tories as the parties of broken promises, and brand his own party as the party for a fresh start -- leaving the broken promises of his opponents in the past by keeping its own promises.

The ad portrays British politics as a realm made by his principal opponents, as Clegg walks through streets littered with the broken promises of his opponents. But this may be an unintended message: the Liberal Democrats, after all, have governed Britain before.

The ad is also hampered by the vagueness of its message: merely promising "fairness" for British citizens. One can expect that the Conservative and Labour parties will also be offering fairness.

The Liberal Democrats may find that there is a premium on being a little more succinct.

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