Labour’s manifesto launch is a bit different to what a lot of people were expecting. Usually general election manifestos are only bought and read by real political junkies*. But the problem with that is that most people just see what the media chooses to report, they don’t actually get to see the real policies free if media spin and distortion.
Labour’s innovation is to provide the manifesto in a multitude of different formats to suit a wide variety of needs. The most innovative is the film produced by Ridley Scott Associates and Saatchi & Saatchi which is ideal for sharing with friends and family. In just two minutes it gives people a real insight into Labour’s policy pledges in its manifesto.
For those who want more detail you can click through and see a series of other films on specific policy areas such as the economy and health. You can also click through to download PDFs of the actual manifesto. It’s in the PDFs that you get the policy detail that highlights how solid, serious and substantial Labour’s manifesto actually is. Douglas Alexander explained that the rationale behind the animated films was to allow voters to ‘paddle, swim and dive’ into Labour’s manifesto.
Labour’s launch is about putting members and voters at the forefront. Before 1997 Peter Mandelson used to talk about winning the ‘air war’ and the ‘ground war’. The air war was the mainstream media, the ground war was pounding the streets talking to voters. Today it’s even more about the ground war. Except the ground war isn’t just on the streets, it’s online with voters and local party activists talking to each other.
In contrast to the Tories negative advertising campaigns Labour has deliberately chosen a positive theme, reflecting bright sunshine coming up over the horizon and a family looking forward to a future fair for all.
The creative manifesto isn’t just creative for the sake of it, but is also designed to reflect the importance of the creative and digital sector to the UK economy.
That’s why Labour isn’t relying on the broadcast and print media for the manifesto launch. The launch wasn’t introduced by a cabinet minister, but by Labour blogger Ellie Gellard. At the same time Labour is sharing the links to the films with party members so they can share them directly with friends, colleagues and family through email, social media and social networks.
Impressed as I am by Labour’s innovation and as new media as I am, I have to confess I’m disappointed that I won’t be walking down to WH Smith to buy all of the manifestos. Keeping an online video or PDF just isn’t the same.
DISCLOSURE: I did have a sneak preview of the manifesto.
* I used to have a collection of manifestos going back to 1979 which was the first election where I was really aware of and interested in politics (I was nearly 11).
XP: Also posted on Stuart Bruce on the World.