My thoughts on a fake election campaign
November 3, 2010
We’re only a few days into the election campaign and I must confess that I’ve had discussions about the quality of the parties’ election campaign. The amateur-hour ads of the Liberals contrasts nicely with the recycled “make Melbourne history” Greens message (drowning out other candidates). Meanwhile, Labor HQ has decided inexplicably to make John Brumby the face of Labor’s reelection pitch.
My criticisms were fairly cavalier and I wondered if I could do any better than Labor’s “For the times ahead.”
Over lunch today, I had a bit of a think and came up with the following.
- Labor’s image is a bit tired, but not damaged like Federal Labor’s. Mostly people think Labor has done good in Govt.
- Brumby is seen as a bit boring but very competent, especially on the economy.
- Third-party endorsement is a powerful thing.
- The negative-lines boil down to “after 11 years, what has Labor done?”
- Brumby is spoken of but not seen. He’s not photogenic like Bracks was.
- Get “at the coal face” professionals to “talk up” Labor’s achievements. Third party endorsements.
- Have a “whinging Wendy” character for attacks.
- A big, bold, five point (or however many, keep it short though) plan for the future. Extra cops. Extra nurses. Extra schools. Extra renewable energy. Extra trains and trams. Extra jobs. Keep this for the last two weeks.
The following examples should be both print, radio and television. The same talent would be used in all of them. As far as possible, they should all be real professionals (real teachers, nurses, etc), preferably ALP members.
The examples should all be “core” ALP territory – health, education, safety. I’d also throw in climate change, transport and the economy.
Note: all of these examples use stock photos. The “quotes” are illustrative only.
Labor should have a teacher praise the investment in education that has taken place. This could be Victoria’s high ranking in literacy and numeracy, have an actual dollar figure of how many $billions has been invested, or how many new teachers, new schools, etc have been hired or opened.
Again, the health aspect should talk about investment in hospitals, new hospital wings, extra money for nurses, and the number of extra nurses actually working. Have a nurse talk about the impact for them – they can better look after patients thanks to the extra funding and extra nurses.
Safety has turned into a big issue. This one is tough, because you don’t want to say that the streets are less safe, or that you can’t go into the CBD after dark. I’d suggest here graduation shots or police riding bikes through the suburbs, helping out lost kiddies. A cop saying “I’ve really noticed the increase, and I can spend more time helping people” would be good. Perhaps a member of the community standing with the cop saying “I feel a lot safer”.
One of the hard areas is climate change and public transport. I’d focus on specific numbers here. 20 percent by 2020 is good. The number of kilowatts of new renewable energy – the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere. An engineer saying “we’re best placed in Australia to tackle climate change because of the real things that Brumby is doing”. Focusing on actual action, rather than make believe targets is part of countering the Greens inner city campaign, and the “direct action” line the Liberals will probably take.
Alternatively (or as well), I’d add something in there about transport. A train or tram driver talking about all the new services, extra investment and staff, as well as staffed stations, etc. Perhaps a bus driver talking about driving around in those areas without a train/tram line (where the Libs and Greens Party are focussed).
So, these are my ideas, which I came up with over lunch. The only thing I should have added was a Labor logo.
Obviously this isn’t a ready to go campaign. No doubt there is research, focus group reports and polling that suggests that one thing or another shouldn’t be discussed. I also concede that “Thanks Mr Brumby” may be reported badly. It needs work. Perhaps “Thanks Labor”.
As for a slogan, rather than “For the times ahead”, I’d suggest: “It’s your future.” This gives agency to the voter, and I think dovetails nicely with the third-party spokesperson angle.
Am I off the rails? What do you think?