A party political broadcast (also known as a party election broadcast or party conference broadcast depending on the date of broadcast) is a television or radio broadcast made by a political party.The major parties are granted opportunities to communicate directly to mass TV audiences through occasional party political broadcasts. As a form of advertising, these are essentially propaganda on behalf of a party, seeking to persuade viewers/voters that this party is the superior brand, the one they should vote for and believe in. These PPBs often focus on the alleged weaknesses or drawbacks of their opponents.
In the United Kingdom, political advertising on television or radio is illegal, but parties are instead allocated broadcast slots across the traditional terrestrial TV channels. On a given day, a given party will be allowed to broadcast a piece about five minutes long.
UK PPBs are fairly tame; its legal in the US to pay for political advertising, and many ads are savagely critical of an opponent. Critics of this system argue that, because of the huge cost of paying for TV ads and the fundraising required, this opens politics to corruption: wouldn't someone donating a million want something in return?
PPBs are easily spoofed too; this example twists the Conservative message into a very silly manifesto for delivering fudge and slaughter ...
Nonetheless, these short ads help to further your understanding of what the parties stand for.
Lets look at some examples...
2013 Tory PPB 12.4.2013
Having been out of power from 1997-2010, the Tories calculate that Eurosceptic policies and attacks on welfare will win the 2015 general election for them, and hope that their austerity policies deliver economic recovery, arguing there is no alternative after years of Labour overspending.
2013 Labour PPB 19.4.2013
After 13 years in government, Labour find themselves widely blamed for the economic disaster that kicked in in 2008; they seek to tread a fine line between attacking Tory austerity and agreeing to some of their economic policies and welfare reforms. Their central argument is on fairness.
2013 Lib Dems PPB 24.4.2013
The Lib Dems are fighting to overturn anger of many voters who assumed they wouldn't form a coalition with the Tories, and broken pledges such as that on tuition fees. They argue that they have used this position to introduce fairer policies, especially on tax.
2013 UKIP PPB
PM David Cameron attacked UKIP as extremists; what do you think?
2013 Green Party PPB 24.4.2013
The Green Party finally made their breakthrough in 2010, winning their first UK parliamentary seat, in Brighton, with Caroline Lucas becoming fairly high profile. They argue that our economy must be re-geared to fight climate change, and that this will create the jobs needed to rescue the economy.
2013 SNP PPB 04.2013
The SNP have been enjoying a spell in charge of government in Scotland, and are focussed on persuading voters to say yes in the upcoming referendum on Scottish independence, highlighting the tiny percentage of votes gained by the Tories in Scotland, and what they say is the damage being caused by Tory policy dictated from London.
2013 DUP PPB 2012
The DUP have led the power-sharing government (NI Assembly) in Northern Ireland for some time, since overtaking rivals the UUP as the biggest party there. These days they seek to appeal across the sectarian divide, with a neutral-sounding vision of a prosperous NI, though this doesn't necessarily fully reflect their range of policies. I've yet to come across any PPBs by Sinn Fein, the second-largest NI party.
2013 Plaid Cymru PPB 2013
Plaid Cymru, like the SNP, seek to convince that rule from London is damaging. Their policies often clash with the right-wing views of the coalition government, although nationalism is conventionally viewed as a right-wing stance.
I've yet to come across PPBs for the Respect, though their bye-election gains suggest they may be afforded this right in the future.Here's his (fairly typically) lengthy acceptance/victory speech after winning the Bradford West bye-election in March 2012:
If you've any suggestions of further relevant PPBs, please add a link as a comment.