Slugger Verdict: Ranking the PEBs of #GE2015

Well, it’s back for the 2015 General Election, the party election broadcast awards. This seemed to go down well last year. So, in that spirit I thought I would bring together another panel of judges to rank each of the party election broadcasts. The other judges were MCE Public Relations Director, Chris Brown and the host of the Profit Margin, Jim Fitzpatrick.

Each of us ranked the PEBs out of 10, we then combined the scores to get an overall mark out of 30. Here are the results;

1. Alliance (25/30)
Jim thought that Alliance’s PEB was very well put together and profiled their most prominent candidate, Naomi Long with a voice over. However, as more parties jump on the infographic bandwagon this type of broadcast is looking less unique and he wondered could Naomi not have been profiled visually more. (7/10)

I thought that this was incredibly well put together and unlike last year was not too long. I did wonder though for the average voter was it not a little bit of a missed opportunity to have no images of Naomi Long in the PEB at all. Overall, the music and the images worked well. (9/10)

Chris really liked this PEB. The music was very uplifting and the imagery held his attention throughout and left a good feeling with him as he watched it. (9/10)

2. Sinn Fein (23/30)
Jim thought it was a slick presentation with a clear message throughout. The messages of opposing austerity and an emphasis on a united Ireland were displayed throughout the broadcast. (8/10)

Chris thought it was a very well put together broadcast with each of the profiled candidates looking very natural as they spoke on camera. Message wise the united Ireland theme was there with Mary Lou McDonald being featured and the theme of opposing Tory cuts was present throughout the broadcast. (8/10)

For me, I thought the Sinn Fein broadcast was strong but in some areas it came across as a little flat. Some of the outdoor imagery of the party president, Gerry Adams didn’t work as the Sun was in his eyes which distracted my attention away from what he was saying. (7/10)

2. UUP (23/30)
Jim thought this PEB was very warm and portrayed the candidates in a positive light. It stood out from the DUPs message and was well produced with some clear messaging throughout. (8/10)

Chris thought this PEB worked very well with some good colouring and the use of the imagery really worked for them. It did what it said on the tin and appealed to exactly the type of person that the UUP are targeting. (7.5/10)

For me, I thought the graphics and images worked really well, with the party candidates profiled in a positive way. Overall, a strong PEB from the UUP. (7.5/10)

3.SDLP (22.5/30)
Chris thought this was like watching an ad for Tourism Ireland with the scenes of Justin McNulty kicking a ball at the beginning. The use of the drone camera was really impressive and puts this PEB up there with Alliance in terms of innovation and trying something new. Where it dipped for Chris was in some candidates seeming a bit to exuberant in front of the camera and in shots appearing taller than some of the buildings in the background. (7.5/10)

Jim really liked the imagery throughout the PEB and the message of “there is a better way” was pretty good. However, he didn’t really see anything that the PEB had that demonstrated how they could achieve that message and for him tailed off a bit towards the end. Overall, he did think it was a huge improvement on last year. (7/10)

I agreed with Jim on the huge improvement on last year’s PEB. I enjoyed the message and imagery throughout. I did think it was interesting that some time was given to people like Nichola Mallon who were not candidates in this election. (8/10)

4.DUP (19/30)
Chris thought the graphics at the start of this PEB didn’t really work as they zoomed in and out. Likewise, the imagery of the mostly male table of politicians did not really come across well and he was left wondering what the overall angle was and was surprised that East Belfast didn’t really feature. Overall, he thought it had a decent message. (7/10)

Jim thought the PEB was a tale of two halves and thought the graphics at the start didn’t actually work. Interestingly, he thought the message delivered by Nigel Dodd’s about the DUP’s influence in a hung parliament was actually very strong but it was brought down by images like the room full of men sitting around a table with their jackets off. (6/10)

For me, I agreed with Jim and ranked the PEB exactly the same. (6/10)

5.Workers Party (17/30)
Jim thought despite the lack of resources the candidates were better screened than the Greens and had a stronger message. The clear left wing message provided a contrast and was delivered reasonably. (6/10)

Likewise, Chris thought it was a good job on its message and how it was delivered. He believed that a lot of thought had gone into what they were going to say but it fell down in terms of packing a real punch. (6/10)

I thought there message was strong and they actually did communicate a message to some disillusioned voters that they would find attractive. (5/10)

6.UKIP (15/30)
Chris did not understand the mobile phone graphic and some of imagery did not really work as when they spoke about immigration they showed a picture of an Alaskan Airlines plane landing at an airport. Nigel Farage’s piece came across poorly in terms of picture quality and audio. Overall, a lot more work needed to be done. (5/10)

Likewise, Jim did not get the mobile phone and the profile of the candidates came across as very male. He believed that using Farage and David McNarry more could have helped the party get their message across. (5/10)

I agreed with Chris and Jim on this PEB. (5/10)

6.Greens (15/30)
Chris was taken aback by the fact that the party used a blue backdrop rather than a green backdrop. The straight pieces to camera by the candidates did not really work, in comparison to what other parties are producing throughout this election. At times, this was like watching a school play with the music and the candidate’s pieces to camera. (5/10)

Jim and I came down on the same side as Chris on this PEB. It didn’t really engage either of us and for Jim it came across like an Open University lecture that would’ve found on BBC 2 a few years ago. For the Greens, there needs to be some national message and more environmental imagery and this had neither. From both of us it was (5/10)

7.TUV (13.5/30)
Jim thought this PEB lacked a real message in terms of why it was important to vote against Stormont at a Westminster election. It started well but quickly went downhill. (5/10)

Likewise, Chris thought that it was poorly lit and had poor graphics. He thought that when you have a lot of clips of how effective Jim Allister has been at Stormont there could have been much more done with this PEB. (4.5/10)

I agreed with Chris on this PEB. (4/10)

David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs