Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Election Problems?

For the past few weeks, as Tasmania slouched towards a state election, more serious commentators have been looking to the stars, eviscerating goats and feeling their water in a bid to work out how the seats will fall. It’s all part of the speculation as to whether a knackered public health system, falling literacy standards or continued large-scale logging and tree farming are enough to bring the Lennon government unstuck. Meanwhile Little Mr Square Eyes has been toying with the weighty question of who has produced the most irksome campaign commercial.

On merely technical grounds, there are a few contenders. ALP candidate Judy Collins is running with the slogan: “Julie Collins Can” — i.e. “Who can make a real difference for Denison? Julie Collins can. Who can really get things done? Julie Collins can” (at which point you find yourself humming, “who can take a sunrise - sprinkle it with dew - cover it with chocolate and a miracle or two”).

Apart from sounding like a Sammy Davis Jr song, it seems one thing Julie can’t do is organise a piece to camera with acceptable sound quality and lip sync. At the end of the commercial the location V/O has been replaced with a studio grab that gives the impression she's talking into a plastic bucket. She’s not Robinson Crusoe in this regard.

One of the sitting members for Denison, David Bartlett (ALP), who incidentally has the sort of voice that sounds like someone dropped a chainsaw into a drum of petroleum jelly, also has a brief lip sync problem in his campaign tvc.

Nor are technical glitches confined to the Australian Labor Party. The Tasmanian Greens produced a campaign address with such cack-handed editing it made Peg Putt look as though she was the featured suspect on one of those “true crime” programmes the Nine network buys in job lots. Of the Mutt & Jeff double act Rene Hiddings and Will Hodgman (Liberal) perpetrated on the public in the guise of a health policy announcement I will not speak.

At the other end of the scale Lara Giddings (ALP) has the usual montage of smiling pollie with happy punter shots, complete with a vapid "I love Tassie" voice-over and, right at the end, a full screen super dominated by the word LARA. Admittedly there's no soft focus but Larsy obviously has a healthy regard for her own telegenic qualities.

It's a similar story with Elise Archer (Lib). Little Mr Square Eyes can't recall any of her policies and the only thing he took away from her tvc is the vague feeling she should ease up on the gym workouts and eat a sandwich or two.

Earlier today on local ABC radio, Little Mr Square Eyes caught the last part of an interview with Jason Bainbridge, a lecturer in journalism and media studies. Regarding effective election advertising, Bainbridge offered the idea that those campaign commercials showing the candidate out and about, talking to people and doing something in the electorate were doing a good job of identifying with local voters.

Apparently, the sheer magic of seeing your neighbourhood used as a backdrop for a tvc is supposed to win your tick in the polling booth. There’s nothing like considered analysis of the media during an election — and this was nothing like it — roll on Saturday 18th March.

Tags: Tasmania, Tasmanian election,