Negative political ads ‘turn off’ UK voters

Negative political advertising is more likely to drive voters into the arms of the opposition than win votes, according to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

For every person who said that ads criticising other political parties persuaded them to vote for the party responsible for the advertising, another five found such ads so irritating they actually made them vote against that party.

The research also suggests that the political parties fail to establish discernible characteristics or branding. The survey asked which brand values – such as “forward thinking”, “protective of family values” or “principled” – were associated with the three main political parties.

Nearly half of those interviewed could not attribute any particular characteristics to the Labour Party and almost two-thirds did not associate any with the Tory party. The Liberal Democrats fared worst of all – 58 per cent of respondents did not associate any brand values with them.

Voters claimed to be uninfluenced by political ads, with just eight per cent admitting that it helped them decide which party to vote for.

Recall of campaigns from previous elections compared favourably with recall of today’s consumer ads. Almost half of those questioned remembered the 1992 slogan, “It’s time to get Britain working again” and almost a third recalled “Britain deserves better” (1997).

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