Selling the Brexit deal square video by square video
If you’ve been on Twitter over the last few days, you’ll have no doubt seen this:
As we count down towards the - now postponed - ‘meaningful vote’ on Theresa May’s Brexit deal, so the government has been busy using videos to promote the deal to the public.
These 60 second explainer videos include the Brexit deal explained, What the deal means for fishing and farming, and What the Brexit deal means for you, among others.
Brexiteers have likewise been using video, with examples such as 10 uncomfortable truths about the worst deal in history.
So what about the execution of these videos.
The government videos use a simple approach, overlaying text on stock footage. While they have a voice-over, the text is all on screen so it can be watched silently.
They also use the 1:1 square aspect ratio that has become common currency on social media because by doing so they take up much more screen space than widescreen formats.
Each video is 1 minute and 10 seconds long, and has a countdown timer in the top right-hand corner once the introduction has finished to show the viewer how much time is left before the end. This is designed to drive high-completion rates and enables the main thrust of the explainer to take a full sixty seconds ignoring the intro and outro.
The use of the square format is not confined to Theresa May’s Twitter feed, with the Conservatives featuring extracts from last night’s Brexit debate on Channel 4, such as this where ‘James Cleverly takes apart the argument for a second referendum in 24 seconds’.
The ‘in x seconds’ format appeals to our short attention spans while on social media.
Labour feature extracts from the same programme on their Twitter feed, also repurposed in square format for maximum impact.
Both parties’ digital teams have achieved this by taking standard aspect ratio footage and adding a slogan in the header and subtitles as a footer to make the video square.
This has also been adopted by the People’s Vote campaign, spearheaded by Caroline Lucas.
Leave Means Leave have taken a more basic approach to their ‘10 uncomfortable truths’ video, using text against a black background. Featuring a standard aspect ratio, the video goes through 10 things Theresa May has said, before revealing the ‘reality’.
Each of these videos has been viewed tens of thousands of time, led by the Brexit deal explained with more than 250K views, driven by being Theresa May’s pinned Tweet and paid promotion.
One thing is for sure, whatever the outcome of the vote - whenever it finally happens - social media video is set to play an ever growing role in political campaigning.