Learn to make an excellent video – by watching politicians fail at it!

Posted on February 7, 2018


You may have spotted our Technical Director Darren popping up on your social media feeds recently with his effervescent, outspoken and often irate views on internet marketing, SEO and web development. In this hugely post-modern production, he’s even made a video about how to make a video.



I had a go too and, well, I had a go…



I was happy with the script and the way it was filmed, but I’m not quite as much at ease in front of the camera as Darren. Still, if I can do it, I think it shows that anyone can!

Perhaps the best way to learn how to make a video is to watch some very poor examples of it and learn what not to do from them. That’s what Darren tried to do in his video with his impersonation of the sort of monotone, motionless drawl some people come out with.

You’d expect the best videos to come from leaders. People with drive, passion, vision. Perhaps the people we elect to run our countries and constituencies?

Well, as the below examples show, sometimes politicians aren’t the best YouTube superstars around. In fact, they can demonstrate the sort of video no-nos that would make you want to spoil your ballot.

Inane grinning

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown is a man who divides opinion, but even his biggest fans would probably admit that he was never the savviest in front of a camera.

In 2009, at which point has was still PM, Brown took to YouTube to deliver what he hoped would be some welcome news about cuts to MPs’ expenses. Unfortunately, he did it with such a forced, unnatural smile, it was hard to focus on a single word he said.

Incessant, insincere rambling

When US congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords was the target of an attempted assassination in early 2011, some other politicians were accused of less than responsible behaviour in the run-up to the event. Among them was former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, whose SarahPAC organisation had distributed a graphic with crosshairs over certain states.

Palin released a YouTube video just four days after the campaign, in which she expressed how much the news had affected her.

Well, she did that for about half a minute. The rest of the video is her going on about how brilliant America is and why everyone should get behind her. Her remorse comes across as very glib and insincere, and as something to simply get out of the way before launching into her own political spiel.

This woman really is excruciating to watch. In 2009, she almost became Vice President – something that seemed truly frightening and unthinkable at the time, although events across the Atlantic since have made us realise things can always get much sillier!

Personality bypass

Sometimes videos can be so bad, they’re good! In the run-up to last year’s General Election, Conservative MP for East Yorkshire Greg Knight put together a short promotional video so utterly awful, it attracted widespread attention.

The video shows Knight enter a room, filmed by a shaky, low-resolution camera, then give a brief and very dry statement using clichés like “strong and stable” and “coalition of chaos”. It concludes with an appallingly cheesy jingle urging the viewer to vote for Knight and his party.

Knight’s videos seem to have a general theme of being quite dull and low-budget, consisting mostly of him speaking authoritatively about things he doesn’t like. Here’s one of him bemoaning wind turbines in East Yorkshire, including the incredibly witty turn of phrase “they may look like white windmills to you, but in fact they are white elephants”.

For all their terribleness, these videos went viral and Knight, despite a disappointing General Election for the Tories, was able to hold on to his seat. Maybe he’s actually an internet marketing genius?

For videos that will get the seal of approval, why not speak to the Engage Web team today?

Content Team Leader at Engage Web
John works for Engage Web as a Content Team Leader and regularly contributes to the website and programmes of his beloved Chester F.C.
John Murray
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