Marketing a general election is an almighty task for political parties

As someone who enthusiastically follows party politics, I am eagerly imbibing all general election news at the moment.

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I appreciate, however, that the vast majority of Britons do not share my thirst for the ebb and flow of Westminster.

If politics registers at all with people, it is at this time in the Parliamentary cycle and it is broad-brush sentiment that hits home. Despite the likely frustration that nuanced arguments and policy positions are lost to a collective shrug of indifference, party leaders recognise this too. The main contenders to form the Government – Labour and the Conservatives – have been busy trying to speak to just a few concerns. The latter on economic stability and strong leadership and the former on the NHS and equality.

The Tories have been particularly disciplined in hammering home their message. They appear to have dispensed with any big idea in favour of ‘we’ve dragged the economy back from the abyss, don’t let the other lot bugger it up’. Ever since the launch of the ‘Let’s stay on the road to a stronger economy’ campaign in January, the party’s message, but for an occasional warning about hidden dangers from north of the border, has been about job and wealth creation and deficit reduction. It seems efforts to detoxify the Tory brand have been sidelined in favour of getting the job done.

Time will tell which message proves to be the most effective, of course, but there is wisdom in Tory thinking. Their message is easy to understand, is statistically based but not baffling and reflects received political wisdom that ‘it’s about the economy stupid’, as well as highlighting Labour’s weak spot – the economy.

Despite the brevity of the message, its likely resonance and the discipline of the delivery, god only knows whether it will be successful. This election remains delightfully unpredictable with just a few weeks to go.

Effective marketing might not make a jot of difference faced with a weary electorate post recession/financial crash that are turning against the ‘political elite’ and into the arms of ‘outsider’ parties such as the SNP and UKIP.

The issue of trust, or the lack of it, and the best way to bridge the gap from a marketing perspective is tackled in our marvellous cover feature. Even for the politically ambivalent, few would disagree the election is an almighty marketing challenge.



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