In every US Presidential campaign for as long as I can remember, TV smear ads put out by supporters of the various candidates (or the candidates themselves) to slate their opponents’ character, political record etc have been a notorious part of the process. Think for instance of the veterans’ ads in support of Bush in 2004 where they claimed that Kerry’s achievements in Vietnam were fabricated. It’ll not come as any surprise to most then that for 2008, things have been taken a step further: in the spirit of Web 2.0, people are making videos at home and uploading them to YouTube. And some have been hugely popular, most of all Hillary 2008, a “mash-up” of a speech by Clinton and a famous Apple TV ad with a Big Brother overtone, which was put together in an afternoon by its creator and has now been viewed over 3 million times.
I’m curious to see if this sort of thing will take off in Europe. We’ve always been so high and mighty about the US smear campaigns – wouldn’t happen in Europe; vulgar Americans etc. Surely someone in France has put out a video slating Sarkozy or Royal? I haven’t come across any yet although Disco Sarko did cause a stir. It was hardly a smear campaign though plus it was fairly high budget hence not “homemade”. The UK perhaps? I suspect the British respect for fair play is too overpowering! In any case, it’ll be interesting to see how things will pan out. More to follow hopefully.