Daily Bulletin


The Conversation

  • Written by David Waller, Senior Lecturer, School of Marketing, University of Technology Sydney
image

Advertising can be a powerful tool for political parties, though it’s just one of several factors that can influence a voter’s behaviour at election time. Following the 2013 federal election, I wrote:

Generally, advertising does not appear to play a significant role in the final result of the election; rather the leaders, events, and the nature of the election are more important. If the mood is for change, then no amount of advertising can stop it.

In 2016, despite the result still not yet being known, we can say the role advertising played was very different. The 2016 election has shown that when there is a close result, negative advertising can be a powerful campaign tool. This is particularly evident in the Labor Party and its supporters' campaign around the future of Medicare under a re-elected Turnbull government.

Negative ads can be annoying, frustrating, and misleading. They can make people more cynical about politics and politicians, and actually “turn off” voters.

However, in a tight race, these ads can also point to policy differences, impact on attitudes towards a candidate, stir emotions, question policies, add doubt, and stay in the memory longer than positive political ads.

The trend to negative

The 2016 federal election campaign began with largely positive ads. However, it seemed to take a significant change with one advertisement in which former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke warned of the privatisation of Medicare if the Liberal Party was returned to government.

Until this point, Medicare was not perceived as a major issue.

Bob Hawke speaks out for Medicare, do you?

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull responded by describing the ad as a “disgraceful scare campaign”:

It is an absurd falsehood and he [Labor leader Bill Shorten] should stop misleading people.

But over the following weeks, advertising and other communications continued to spread doubts about Turnbull and the Coalition’s commitment to Medicare. One Labor ad even pointed out that he has “never relied on these services”, which made him “seriously out of touch”.

Malcolm Turnbull: seriously out of touch.

While not everyone has children or school-aged children, everyone wants a strong, universal health system, even the young. The Medicare campaign was a perfect uniting issue that was mentioned in speeches, advertisements, leaflets, on posters, and on the “Medicare bus”, with the words:

Bill Shorten and Labor. We’ll save Medicare.

This left the Liberals without a clear response, other than to say that it was a “Mediscare” campaign and they would not privatise Medicare:

The Liberals say one thing and do another.

Third-party election advertising

It wasn’t just the parties that advertised during the election. Many ads were run by third parties, such as unions, business groups, and trade associations.

There is a saying that “election time is the only time politicians will listen to you”. These groups use election campaigns to present and promote their view in the hope that voters and politicians will listen to their message.

Union ads generally advocate their positions on key issues such as workers’ rights, health care and education. They can support a party or attack the other, such as the ACTU’s “Put the Liberals Last” campaign, which also supported saving Medicare.

Vote to save Medicare – put the Liberals last.

Being “independent” of the Labor Party, these ads can be more direct, more critical, and sometimes more creative than those from the official party.

However, it can be risky for business associations and individuals to take a public stance on an issue, or against a party. This may be interpreted as a partisan opinion which could affect relationships with shareholders, suppliers, distributors, customers, and the new government, if they openly supported the wrong party.

Creative campaigning

Social media was another channel of negative election communication, particularly via memes. These are images with funny, derogatory, or humiliating captions or titles, which are spread online.

During this election, many anti-Liberal, anti-Turnbull, and Save Medicare memes were posted and tweeted by the unions, such as the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union.

The ACTU also handed out fake Medicare cards, more than one million Medicare leaflets, and made over 46,000 telephone calls.

Labor’s Queensland branch also sent a fake text from “Medicare”, although a spokesperson later claimed the sender information was supposed to indicate the subject rather than the sender.

These more creative techniques are not only another touchpoint for the message to get to the voter, but the use of humour or something unusual is better at grabbing a person’s attention than traditional ads.

Exit polls found that 72% of voters rated health and Medicare as important issues in deciding their vote. This is extraordinary, given Medicare was not a major issue at the start of the campaign.

So when the competition is tight, negative advertising can be a very powerful campaign tool.

Authors: David Waller, Senior Lecturer, School of Marketing, University of Technology Sydney

Read more http://theconversation.com/mediscare-campaign-shows-the-power-of-negative-advertising-61990

Writers Wanted

How To Find The Right Emergency Plumber Lismore

arrow_forward

Delivery rider deaths highlight need to make streets safer for everyone

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

BEN FORDHAM: Scott Morrison, good morning to you.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, Ben. How are you?    FORDHAM: Good. How many days have you got to go?   PRIME MINISTER: I've got another we...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

KIERAN GILBERT: Kieran Gilbert here with you and the Prime Minister joins me. Prime Minister, thanks so much for your time.  PRIME MINISTER: G'day Kieran.  GILBERT: An assumption a vaccine is ...

Daily Bulletin - avatar Daily Bulletin

Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Business News

Nisbets’ Collab with The Lobby is Showing the Sexy Side of Hospitality Supply

Hospitality supply services might not immediately make you think ‘sexy’. But when a barkeep in a moodily lit bar holds up the perfectly formed juniper gin balloon or catches the light in the edg...

The Atticism - avatar The Atticism

Buy Instagram Followers And Likes Now

Do you like to buy followers on Instagram? Just give a simple Google search on the internet, and there will be an abounding of seeking outcomes full of businesses offering such services. But, th...

News Co - avatar News Co

Cybersecurity data means nothing to business leaders without context

Top business leaders are starting to realise the widespread impact a cyberattack can have on a business. Unfortunately, according to a study by Forrester Consulting commissioned by Tenable, some...

Scott McKinnel, ANZ Country Manager, Tenable - avatar Scott McKinnel, ANZ Country Manager, Tenable



News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion