Thursday, February 21, 2008

Not the USP you imagine!

Labour have sent around an email today advertising what they think are their top 50 achievements since taking office in 1997 and on the email advertise that we can suggest what we would add or take away. Funnily enough the website is locked so you cannot read visitor contributions and so you are faced with their list prefaced by the question "If you're thankful for these achievements - why not join us?": this is a link to their 'join' page. While I do not contest the list in itself, though opponents undoubtedly will, it is the heavy handed promotionalism that seems to be bad PR.

The invitation to add and subtract achievements is attractive, so is reading the comments of others, but there is actually the sense that the 50 will not change, the offer to interact with the content is simply an incentive to visit the page. The intention seems to be to hook the subscriber, convince them of the achievements of Labour and hopefully get them to join the party (an assumption being that email subscribers are at the least supportive). It also seems to be little more than a way of collecting emails so they can contact people (see screenshot below), but there has to be an exchange for this; what does one get from allowing Labour to have your contact details. You see the web community seem to be moving away from promotion and to a position where the whole point of the internet is co-production of web content and participation: not simply one way or two way communication. Being offered the chance to participate and then to doubt the extent to which any feedback will go anywhere apart from a virtual black hole gives a negative perception of the host. After the big conversation one may think Labour had learned this lesson, it seems not.

A Further Thought: is this a ham-fisted early shot in a possible long election campaign or is this out of the question given the rating given to Brown et al in recent months?

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