Ashcroft to fund Conservative viral attack videos

Lord Ashcroft’s £1.3m takeover of ConservativeHome and PoliticsHome will go down as one of the most significant events in the development of online campaigning in the UK. As the political web reacts to this move some of the most incisive analysis comes from Mark Hanson and Jag Singh, who both spotlight the probability that the Tories are about to go on the offensive with viral video.

The defunct 18 Doughty Street was incorporated into the PoliticsHome startup by Stephan Shakespeare. With this acquisition tax dodging Ashcroft now controls a setup with, as Jag Singh points out, previous form in the video arena.

But Scrapbook now understands that Ashcroft has not only got his hands on the mothballed TV production kit for 18 Doughty Street but has also hired a staff of four video-only creatives to produce hard hitting American-style attack videos. This is the most concrete indicator of Ashcroft’s intentions in this direction.

The Vote Different viral caused one of the first serious wobbles in Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. The team around ConservativeHome have already experimented with similar content with high production values:

Tim Montgomerie and James Bethell were also behind this rather brilliant anti-BNP attack:

It may come to pass that CCHQ will have polished attack videos spewing out of every orifice for the next eight months. But we would be wrong to think that – without a Belizean billionaire throwing money at anything with a pulse – Labour’s online effort is doomed.

This week Labourites would all do well to remember the only YouTube video which has actually claimed a British political scalp and that the simplest recipes are often the most effective:

Ingredients: one camera, one millionaire MP, one video activist.

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