Main political parties warned over marketing for Euro elections

The UK’s main political parties have been warned over their marketing tactics for the European and local elections. 

Voter registration

Email and telemarketing regulator the Information Commissioner’s Officer’s Office has written to the parties detailing data protection and electronic marketing rules after complaints market research is being used to gain votes.

It is not known which party or parties prompted the complaints. 

Market research should only be used to develop a party’s positioning, the ICO says, and party activists need to explicitly state if they are calling to canvas support.

Texts, calls and emails are all covered by the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, which the ICO enforces. Breaches can lead to fines.

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham says: “This is about the political parties demonstrating best practice, and being open and upfront with voters about their marketing activities, explaining to people in an open and transparent way how their personal details will be used.

“The rules apply to political parties, just as they do to businesses and charities. In communicating with voters, the parties need to be clear about what their intentions are and why they are asking people for their information. We don’t need election campaigns featuring nuisance calls, spam texts and canvassing under the guise of ‘research’.”

Guidance to avoid breaches is included in the letter including the need to gain explicit consent, stating the intention of the call and offering people the chance to opt-out of direct marketing.

The marketing tactics used by the parties in the run-up to the European elections later this month have come under the spotlight after UKIP was slammed for its campaign warning of the consequences of remaining in the European Union. Since the campaign launched late last month, it has emerged that an unemployed builder featured in one of the posters to demonstrate how British workers are being replaced by cheap labour from Eastern Europe is played by an Irish actor.

The Advertising Standards Authority has received tens of complaints but cannot investigate because party political advertising falls out of its remit. 

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here