I’ve just been looking at Webcameron, the new website from the Conservative Party bringing lots of videos of David Cameron, leader of the Party, to an internet near you. I’d heard about it, of course, but hadn’t thought much of it until a Labour MP made a (really bad) spoof and put it on YouTube. At that point, I decided to check out the original, and was really struck by how hard the designers have tried to make the Webcameron site look like a Web 2.0 site – similar to Flickr and many of the other funky sites that young and technically aware people go to, complete with a tag cloud and lots of opportunity to comment etc.
I first watched the introductory film that shows David Cameron in his house about to do the washing up while his children scream out of shot. It also features his family’s underwear in the background and he wields a bottle of a green brand washing up liquid. Of course, everyone knows that a lot of work goes into making that stuff look quite so real, and I’m sure there was a lot of attention paid to what did and didn’t appear in shot. I would love to see the versions that didn’t make it, or know exactly how hard they tried to get it all to hang together, and exactly how did the conversation go when they decided that underwear was a good idea. I think the washing up liquid is sort of genius, drawing on product placement techniques to subtly drive home the message about how ‘green’ Cameron is.
The other thing that strikes me is that there’s a limit to how many times Cameron will be able to say that the Government is running scared and Tony Blair has screwed up. He is trying to come across as a nice guy, but every now and then he makes a swipe at the Government that doesn’t really parse very well. I guess that the problem is that he has to address the general public and die hard members of the Conservative party all at once, and make political points while generating a public image of what a great guy he is, which is a hard balance to strike.
Anyway, the site is far more interesting than I had expected, but I’m not sure I’ll be a regular visitor.