From next year, the traditional Party Election Broadcast will be replaced by a blipvert that operates below the threshold of human conscious perception. ‘The old party political broadcasts suffered from a terrible flaw,’ explained Tory party strategist Lynton Crosby. ‘As soon as anyone realised they were watching one, they immediately switched over.’
Under the new rules, each party will be given a number of prime-time TV slots to access the nation’s subconscious by flashing up a brief image of their leader lasting less than 30 milliseconds. David Cameron might pop up in the middle of Eastenders grinning and waving some money, Ed Miliband could suddenly appear on Coronation Street looking sternly at an electricity bill, while Nick Clegg may turn up on Hollyoaks under a big neon sign flashing the word ‘Sorry’.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage has also been allocated a couple of blipverts that he will use to flash-frame the image of an invading army of 485 million zombie immigrants. Ed Miliband has welcomed the move. ‘I have been using subliminal tactics for some time,’ he said. ‘In fact I am so below the radar of public consciousness, most people have no idea they have even seen me.’ Nick Clegg also likes the idea of being able to make any future pledges subliminally, so that no-one will know for certain when he inevitably breaks them.
However, concerns have been raised after a pilot study in which viewers exposed to the ads complained of terrible flashbacks. Some people kept seeing David Cameron’s big pink face looming ominously towards them, an image so disturbing it caused a number of victims’ heads to explode. ‘Subliminal ads do carry the risk of post traumatic party political trauma,’ said psychologist Dr Raj Persaud, ‘but the modest risk of spontaneous cranial combustion is more than offset by never having to sit through a normal length broadcast.’
To ensure fair play, the ads will be regulated by the Subliminal Advertising Standards Authority, an organisation about which most people have no awareness. If a blipvert is deemed to have broken electoral guidelines it will be immediately followed by a special ‘cleansing ad’ that will automatically erase the subconscious memory of the first one.
‘Subliminal adverts are the future of political campaigning,’ said Crosby. ‘And very soon everyone will agree with me, even if they have no idea why.’