Political party Opening Statement evaluations (parties on the left)

Polling is really a very small part of what I do. One of my main jobs is measuring the effectiveness of different public sector social marketing campaigns.

I thought it might be interesting to think about each Opening Statement from a comms-development perspective. Okay, so I’ve not gone out and actually evaluated the Opening Statements among each target audience (which is what I’d usually do), but the work I’ve done over the past 10 years has given me a pretty good feel for the strengths and weaknesses of different campaigns, messages and executions.

Below I’ve rated how well I think each Opening Statement (of the left) would perform against norms for engagement, message relevance, message believability, and brand ascription among their target audiences. If I get some more time, I’ll look at Opening Statements from parties on the right.


Engagement: Below average (passive positive)
Message relevance: Above average
Message believability: Average
Brand ascription: Above average

Overall assessment – Labour’s messages are right on target, and there’s no mistaking that this was the Labour Party. However the message is let down by the execution – it’s what we call a passive execution, which (unless highly enjoyable) does not keep people’s attention. Viewers will either not notice a lot of the key messages, or will forget them. The execution also felt very scripted and unnatural, which lowers message believability.


Engagement: Above average (clever mix of active positive and active negative)
Message relevance: Above average
Message believability: Above average
Brand ascription: Above average

Overall assessment – Messages right on target and clearly conveyed. Very good use of imagery – there’s no mistaking this was the Green Party. Moving between emotive positive and negative messaging was a really clever way to keep people’s attention for a long time.  The negative National Party messaging probably made sense to the Greens, because they probably don’t see potential National voters as their target audience. They need to be careful here though, so they can be a viable alternative for more centrist voters who don’t want to keep supporting National, but who don’t currently see Labour as an option (I digress, as this is more about their strategy than their Opening Statement).


Engagement: Above average (active positive)
Message relevance: Average
Message believability: Average to below average
Brand ascription: Average

Overall assessment – The animation, the cat, and the whole Jetsons thing was pretty clever. This definitely encourages the audience to look and to keep watching.  I do wonder though if young people will think the message is patronising. I’m not sure if the ‘We will fix everything! Cool! Radical! Awesome!’ message will fly with a lot of young potential voters.

The branding was fairly average too. Sure, they show the logo, and they mention Internet-Mana, Laila, and Hone, but the creative execution isn’t tied to the brand as well as it is for the other Opening Statements (which you instantly know are for Labour or Green). Strong brand ascription is REALLY important for a new brand, so this should have been much stronger.


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