Published on: August 16, 2019

This week we’re sharing an article that’s a little different to normal, as it’s been written by our wonderful friends at Thrive… Any political views or personal opinions are not the views of Three Counties. 

Ah, it’s that time of the week again – and we hope we can live up to the mighty expectations placed on the shoulders of Thrive, in the absence of the one and only Andrew Alexander! As Andrew enjoys a well-earned break he’s entrusted us with this week’s instalment of News, Views & Truths, so let’s get to it…

In the typical style of News, Views & Truths, it seems only right to keep our post topical and on-trend, but maybe skewed a little our way, rather than financially-focused (bear with us)!

In recent weeks the Telegraph has revealed that Boris Johnson is on the verge of unveiling the “biggest advertising campaign since the Second World War” to prepare Britain for a no-deal Brexit, with advertising anticipated to spread across “billboards, radio and television”.

It follows what has been an unprecedented period in the history of the British government with a hard-to-believe amount of money having already been spent on elections and Brexit. Facebook confirmed that the Vote Leave party spent over £2.7m on ads targeted to specific segments of people, helping the party to win the 2016 EU referendum.

Similarly, and more recently, the newly formed political party, Change UK spent more than twice as much than any other political party, in the run-up to the European elections in May 2019. Change UK spent £62,650 from May 13-19 in comparison to The Brexit Party spending £27,359 (the second-highest advertising budget for the same period).

Of course, this isn’t the first instance of social media’s influence on politics, but the unbelievable amounts being spent on election campaigns and ‘the B-word’, seems to be a new, and growing trend. 

In fact, according to The Guardian, £96,684 of taxpayers money was spent in one week in December 2018 on ads in the run-up to one (of the many) key Brexit deal votes held by Theresa May. The vote was ultimately delayed, but the final bill for the week of ads wasn’t £96k, the Conservatives then invested an additional £40k into the advertising pot! 

In an age where we’re all being so cleverly targeted with Facebook ads and recommended posts, it’s frightening to see the levels of investment that our politicians are putting into influencing, or perhaps, reinforcing, our opinions whilst we look at Auntie Jean’s new Yorkshire Terrier, childhood BFF Mark’s wedding photos, or cousin Katie’s new baby… but what does it mean for the future? 

Indeed, we can go as far back as Barack Obama’s election in 2008 to see the influence of social media on the masses. He was a little-known politician in 2007, but utilised the power of social media and internet marketing techniques, including online video, text messaging and email marketing, to reach 5 million supporters via 15 different social networks, particularly Twitter and Facebook. He also, astonishingly, raised the majority of his $639 million campaign funding via internet supporters – over $500 million of the pot to be precise!

However, it seems in 2019, the tables have turned and rather than using the internet to raise fundraising capital for political campaigns, politicians are now spending those very funds on particularly expensive advertising campaigns for the masses… 

So, is Boris’ decision for a traditional marketing campaign a more cost-effective effort to raise attention, and support, for his government’s goal, or is it just another expensive (mis)use of campaign funds? And, just where do we go from here?! 

Or, as Donald would say, is this all just #FakeNews…? 

This blog was published by our friends at Thrive, a digital marketing agency based in Newton Aycliffe,

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