Labour will this afternoon launch a parody of Facebook’s incredibly popular “Look Back” videos that criticises the coalition government, the latest sign that the 2015 general election will be characterised by widespread use of online attack adverts.
The advert, which largely ignores the Lib Dems, contains existing Labour attack lines and embarrassing photos – such as chancellor George Osborne eating a pasty – repackaged for a new audience.
Such adverts have the benefit of avoiding the UK’s strict ban on political parties buying adverts on TV, as well as being substantially cheaper and faster to both produce and distribute than a traditional party political broadcast.
A Labour source told BuzzFeed that the advert showed the party is “developing our innovative approach in how we take the fight to to the Tories” but perhaps the real surprise is that Britain has taken so long to catch up with the United States, where such rapid response viral videos are more common.
“Viral ads are a good and cheap way of getting to our audience,” the Labour source added. “We will be mailing this one out to supporters. We plan to use more of these viral ads in the run-up to the election – they’re cheaper and more effective and reach a new audience.”
The party is also receiving advice on internet campaigning from New York-based Matthew McGregor of agency Blue State Digital, the Briton who directed the digital rapid response operation during President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
Although barely covered by the mainstream media, over 200 million people created their own “Look Back” video since the feature launched to celebrate Facebook’s 10th anniversary at the start of February.
And you can expect to see more parties directing their advertising budgets to promoting such would-be viral videos in the run-up to May 2015.