Friday, December 12, 2008

The simple message didn't win the day

There has been a lot of campaigning around the Manchester Congestion Charge which was decided by referendum today. The result was a no, turnout was fairly high for such a vote (53% with just over a million participating), but it is argued that it was the cost implications that swayed the vote. The Yes campaign run by Labour supplemented the usual techniques with a very flashy and professional online film "produced this to replace the traditional campaign leaflet... aimed at the student/young professional audience and is hopefully engaging/sharable whilst not being too party political".


The film gained 184,806 views by the time of the announcement as well as a lot of, predominantly hostile it has to be said, commentary from Youtube users. The No campaign also used Youtube, though gets a paltry amount of hits. In contrast to the Yes campaign it has little of a positive message but preys on fears of being 'ripped off' by 'sharks' (or worse with on example) but often uses a little humour as well (see below)

Perhaps the No campaign used more traditional means to target its core audience to win, perhaps the young professional did vote yes in line with the video aimed at them. Perhaps also the Yes campaign was hindered after their £230,000 television advertisement was deemed by Ofcom as being biased. However it seems the simplest message, about the effect on the pockets of those who work in the centre of Manchester, linked in to fears of unemployment and the economic downturn (both of which the No campaign claimed would be exacerbated by the Congestion charge) seemed to have the most effect. Where there was a positive message calling for support the No campaigners waded in with a very hostile message; there was no similar response to their ads; hence it seems No won the day.

1 comment:

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