Posts By: Gemma Charles

Social media fuels the ‘unusual’ 2015 UK Election

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electionAhead of one of Britain’s most bitter, unusual elections in recent memory, Socialbakers has put together a comprehensive look at how social media is affecting the candidates and their parties, writes Alexandra Banks, director of global communications at Socialbakers

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Will The Conservative Party’s investment in social media swing the vote?

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socia2Will The Conservative Party’s investment in social-media campaigning make a difference on polling day?

If 2010’s poll was the social-media election, 2015’s could be dubbed, as it has been by Facebook, the ‘conversational election’. This reflects how the two-way exchange between voters and political parties has hit unprecedented levels, powered by social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

The Conservative Party has made the latter a key part of its campaigning, spending more than £100,000 a month on the network.

The party clearly understands the benefits of online, relaunching its YouTube channel in March and creating a playlist titled ‘Find out more about our plan’, which attracted 11,000 views. Nonetheless, much of the Tories’ message on social has been unashamedly anti-Labour, with tweets during the leaders’ debates focused on mocking Labour leader Ed Miliband.

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Brands have more power than politicians. Time to use it wisely

The dictum goes that ‘markets are amoral’. But tax-avoiding global corporations and a never-ending parade of City villains (take a bow, Deutsche Bank and The Hound of Hounslow) suggest that markets aren’t exactly amoral, writes Marc Cave, strategy partner at brand creative consultancy Green Cave People.

They’re immoral. Immoral markets call for moral influence. But where on earth could this come from?

Not from Messrs Cameron, Miliband and co. Sadly, the electorate would ascribe greater moral authority to weasels in a brothel. (On Question Time, Piers Morgan mentioned  “the complete farce of this election” in which “none of the parties have any leader inspiring any confidence in any one of us…”). As each party fails to build trust or even clarity in their election marketing campaigns, a thought struck me. Politicians can’t do marketing but could marketing do politics? Could brands fill the moral void left behind by politicians’ failures?

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Which of the political parties are telling a winning story?

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The election campaign is simply the final furious sprint in a longer race to establish a credible and compelling narrative, says Ed Woodcock, head of narrative, Aesop Agency.  

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But it’s a tricky task, given politicians operate in a highly mediated environment where their messages are often not communicated directly, and swirling counter narratives actively try to distort or invalidate their central story.

Our new research explores how well the main political parties are communicating with the electorate. 1500 UK adults (18+ and nationally representative) were asked to identify the main political parties against a number of criteria to establish which parties are communicating most successfully with the electorate.

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Lib Dems use geotargeting to reach swing voters

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The Liberal Democrats are hoping to influence swing voters by showing them information about their constituency and candidates when they visit the party’s website.

cleggcropped2 Voters visiting libdems.org will see news stories relevant to their local candidate’s campaign, after the party forged a partnership with geolocation specialists Digital Element.

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Manifestos for marketers: Tory, Labour, Lib Dem, Green and UKIP promises to brands

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logos2sWe’ve read the Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem, Green and Ukip manifestos – collectively more than 450 pages of policy, posturing, and guff – so you don’t have to. Here are some of the key points related to marketing.

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Lib Dem manifesto promises ban on pre-9pm junk food ads and limits to e-cig marketing

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The Liberal Democrats’ election manifesto promises that the party will restrict the broadcast of “junk food” advertising before 9pm, complete the introduction of plain cigarette packaging, clamp down on e-cigarette advertising and “encourage the traffic light system” for food products, should the party gain power post-7 May.

NickCleggCompared with Labour’s and the Conservative’s manifestos, the Lib Dem document – which promises to give “heart to a Conservative” coalition and “brain to a Labour” one – goes into more detail regarding plans affecting marketers and brands, but covers similar ground in terms of healthy eating and smoking.

In the ‘Helping people keep healthy’ section, the Lib Dems said they would do more to promote healthy eating and exercise, including continuing the ‘5 A Day’ campaign.

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Tory manifesto repeats commitment to plain cigarette packaging and healthy eating

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The Conservative Party has used its manifesto to repeat its promise to forge ahead with plain cigarette packaging legislation, while promoting healthier eating among children and promoting “clear food information” are also high on its agenda. Like Labour’s manifesto, published yesterday, the Tories’ document is long on rhetoric and short on detail.

In a section on health, the Conservative manifesto said: “We are helping people to stay healthy by ending the open display of tobacco in shops, introducing plain-packaged cigarettes and funding local authority public health budgets.”camerondave

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The five stages of modern political campaigning

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Ah, the good old days. When it was simply a case of whacking up the “Labour isn’t working” or “Demon Eyes” posters and letting the voters do the rest, writes Ben Stephens, executive chairman, Stack.

labour posterPolitical marketing has to work much harder in modern times. Marketing techniques have advanced to match voter behaviour and parties need to follow the new rules of political campaigning if they’re to galvanise voters.

While the 2010 General Election was dubbed by many as the first digital election, Facebook was still at a nascent stage so there’s a strong case for this year’s election being the first at which digital media, especially social channels, will play a key role in the political parties’ marketing efforts. You only have to look at recent coverage of the Conservative Party spending more than £1 million on Facebook to build “likes” to see that parties are taking digital channels seriously.

This is due, in part, to a situation where the election will be decided by a very small group of people in a very small number of marginal constituencies, providing a lift in the use of targeted digital and social media channels. However, we’re also set to witness a boom in more traditional marketing techniques as political parties look to captivate and galvanise voters.

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Labour election manifesto promises curbs on unhealthy foods marketed to kids

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Labour has used its election manifesto to insist that it will set limits on the amount of sugar, salt and fat in foods marketed to children should the party gain power in May’s general election, but the 85-page document omits earlier promises to target tobacco companies.

milliband1-20150413113415175The NHS section of the manifesto pledges that Labour “will set a new national ambition to improve the uptake of physical activity”, “take targeted action on those high strength, low cost alcohol products that fuel problem drinking” and “set maximum permitted levels of sugar, salt and fat in foods marketed substantially to children”.

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