Keep the brand builders out of the ballot box

Any attempt to remedy a lack of interest in voting by increasing the involvement of marketers would, I fear, make matters worse (MW last week).

Widespread disengagement from the electoral process is largely a result of the increasing use of marketing techniques by political parties. By adopting the slick methods of the advertising world, politicians have inadvertently turned themselves into the same depersonalised products that those techniques were initially designed to sell.

By adopting the behaviour of brands, politicians and their parties have forced themselves into a straitjacket of homogeneity, over-simplification and safety. When people wonder where the passion has gone in modern politics, or ask why people cannot tell it straight any more, what they are effectively saying is that our politicians are more worried about style than substance.

It is all very well having a recognisable logo, image and message, but the price of image is detail: we get a polished product, but we also get vacuity.

Marketers in politics are a fact of life, and in some senses a welcome one: it would be futile and wrong to complain about that. But the answer to apathy is fewer marketing techniques, not more.

Richard Mollet

Associate director

Fleishman Hillard Public Affairs

London WC2E

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