PEB Review: Sinn Fein vs. SDLP

I’ll be taking a look at all the party election broadcasts (PEB) over the next while now that they are all by and large in the public domain.

First up are the two main nationalist parties; Sinn Fein and the SDLP.

In 2010 the SDLP are looking to bounce back from a steady decline in recent years, which has seen them overtaken by Sinn Fein as the largest nationalist party, pushing them to the bottom of ‘the big four’ political parties.

Their PEB opens in the right vein, with a young child on a swing with a blue sky backdrop and an optimistic soundtrack. However what gradually transposes is a message of not so much ‘yes we can’ but rather ‘we’ll be there anyway’.

It is awful. There is little positive  to say. From over using the same child model, to throwing in your party leader far too early to arranging your Westminster candidates in the most awkward and uncomfortable fashion trundling toward the camera, like some terribly unfunny Tarantino parody.

What the SDLP are paying to broadcast themselves is just how dried up their political talent pool is. A problem that was politely ignored previously is now actively promoted by the party. The same pained expressions are rearranged in several different orders to repeat the dreadful exercise over and over. Other clangers include a line of middle-aged men in suits standing outside Palace Barracks just in time to coincide with the recent dissident bomb attack on the base.

The SDLP’s ultimate message of “we’ll be there” is becoming increasingly unlikely as their 2010 Westminster campaign slips from one disaster to the next. The fact the spoof of this PEB has more hits on YouTube than the original probably says it all really. I could easily spend an entire blog entry on the countless PR disasters they’ve suffered in this campaign, most of which were self-inflicted.

Sinn Fein’s PEB couldn’t be more different. The provos are seasoned propagandists and coupled with the substantial investment they’ve made in PR in recent years, you’d expect no less than their latest PEB output.

While the SDLP rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic, Sinn Fein are able to avail of a wealth of personnel and resources at their disposal. The style is upbeat and the tempo is fast, covering a  wide number of areas and featuring elected representatives at all levels. While the SDLP look like a tired middle-aged party, Sinn Fein are able to portray a young and vibrant movement, instantly appealing to new young voters.

Like some of the other parties, Sinn Fein opts to put its women clearly up front from the start, using Michelle Gildernew and a number of young party activists early on. Although Gildernew is probably the weakest performer of the PEB, she is out-of-the-way as they seamlessly run through the rest of their executive ministers before turning to McGuinness and Adams for the final half.

At this stage Sinn Fein are seasoned media performers and PEB are for them ‘old hat’. What is startling is the ease which they seem to produce such material.

About AldousDuke
Mid Tyrone journalist, not so freelance any more.

One Response to PEB Review: Sinn Fein vs. SDLP

  1. socialgandh says:

    Don’t think our local election PEBs bear watching too closely!

    Too many walking people towards camera (often in packs!)

    And the national PEBs aren’t much better!! All style, and not a lot of substance (except the Green Party local and national – worth looking at…at least they’re fresh)

    Take a look on and you’ll see what we mean.

    Lovin’ the Marmite campaign…

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