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Campaign Spotlight: General Election 2017 Edition

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Millions of pounds are spent in the run up to elections. This year is no different, so this week we review the campaigns currently circulating, both for the parties themselves, as well as for the process in general.

Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats have led the way in social media political advertising, having launched 44 different adverts across various platforms. The party is correct to take to social media as this is where the key millennial voters it is targeting spend the majority of their time online. These ads are much as you’d expect, talking points and strong rhetoric. However, the party has also released a comical new poster which shows a Nigel Farage and Theresa May mash-up standing outside 10 Downing St. The headline reads “Vote her get him” and attempts to remind voters that, in seeking a hard Brexit, Nigel Farage and UKIP’s views have been adopted by the prime minister.


Conservative Party
The Conservative Party was slammed in the press this week for attack ads running on Facebook which seem to escape censor from The Electoral Commission. While it seems the Conservatives are being more progressive this year by focusing on digital strategy, the incumbent government is keeping to classic political campaigning, choosing to focus on the contrast between their own Theresa May and Labour's Jeremy Corbyn. Many ads focus on the leader of the opposition, casting him in monochrome while May stands apart in bright technicolour.


Labour Party ‘This Lady’s For Turning’ by krow Communications
The Labour Party also chose to highlight the incompetence of Theresa May and her tendency to flip-flop on important issues in its latest campaign by krow. The 30-second ‘This Lady’s For Turning’ advert took inspiration from Margaret Thatcher's famed 'this lady's not for turning' speech from the 1980s and shows May exiting Number 10 Downing Street for a photo op. She turns right to pose for photos before realising she is supposed to be on the other side and rushes over. The shot is repeated over and over with copy questioning May’s ‘strong and stable leadership’. The ad is running now on social media.




Green Party ‘The Race to Number Ten’ by Creature of London
The Green Party is taking a remarkably different approach to this election, having released a satirical two-and-a-half-minute advert with creative by Creature. ‘The Race to Number Ten’ shows a family clustering around a table to play a board game that "no one wants to play but we're all being forced to". The players are rewarded for lying and cheating throughout the game. Bonus cards reward players for activities such as “Reshuffle your shadow cabinet until they all agree with you, gain ten power points!’. The advert ends with the voiceover proclaiming, “In this game, nobody wins!”. The agency also created last year’s ‘The Not-So-Secret Life of Five-Year Old Politicians’ advert which poked fun at the other political parties in the running.

Women’s Equality Party ‘General Election 2017’ by Now
Last week saw the Women’s Equality Party release a series of posters by Now highlighting the party’s views on childcare and equal parenting. One advert shows a spray cleaner bottle with the text ‘More Women MPs will make the house work better’, while another depicts an ultrasound scan of a fetus giving the thumbs up in the womb in order to highlight the WEP’s promise to provide free childcare for children aged 9 months to school age. The party is fielding seven female candidates in constituencies across the UK. Posterscope donated regional digital outdoor exposure for the campaign.

Politicians can campaign all they want, but it doesn’t mean anything if no one shows up to the polls. Three campaigns by non-partisan groups have been released in an effort to get more young people and ethnic minorities out to the polling stations as these demographics are notorious for poor voter turnout figures. The Electoral Commission partnered with Snapchat as part of its campaign to get more young people to vote. The social campaign aims to encourage political conversations among the young through the 'Find Your Voice!' Geofilter and is in response to research that revealed that 30% of under 34s haven’t registered to vote.

Channel Four also focused on the youth vote by launching an entertaining 60-second spot rife with innuendos. ‘Remember Your First Time?’ sees a variety of people reminiscing about their “first time” with examples including in a village hall, in a library and while a dad waited patiently outside. Seeking to deal with a serious matter in an amusing way, the ad will cut through to its target audience without being lost in translation. The humorous ad was created in-house by 4Creative and will run on E4 until Election Day.


Saatchi & Saatchi was behind another campaign hoping to increase voter registration. Two adverts for Operation Black Vote starring celebrities Jamal Edwards and Riz Ahmed hope to boost BME voter turnout next month. Edwards makes it plain that the black and minority ethnic population doesn't vote, but if they did, they could sway the election, while Ahmed says that if the 1.4 million BME who didn't vote in the last election did this time around real action could be taken on important issues.


As ever, the stakes are high in next week’s elections. Voting remains a civic duty to be exercised and cherished. While millions are spent on political campaigns each year, in the end, turnout will sway the results.