Marketing the mayor: political marketing and the Livingstone4London mayoral election campaign
Harris, Phil; Ward, Matthew
Political marketing is commonly regarded as synonymous with the use of persuasive techniques in campaigns to promote both politicians and their policies. The borrowing of professional communication tools, such as advertising and public relations is believed to epitomise the concept of political marketing, as underlined by Kavanagh (1994:8) in his observation, `…parties are like businesses seeking to promote their products: one seeks votes, the other sales`. However, Maarek (1992) suggests that political marketing is a broader concept. Maarek (1992:28) emphasises that political marketing includes evaluation and re-design of policy and electoral strategy in the light of studies of the electorate’s concerns, underlined in his assertion; Political communication no longer means merely designing and printing a message on posters without consideration of whom they are addressed to. It encompasses the entire marketing process, from preliminary market study to testing and targeting. Concentrating on the Livingstone4London mayoral election campaign, this essay will apply the political marketing and public relations literature to features of the campaign. The three sections of the essay will follow the evolutionary models of political marketing outlined by Wring (1996) and other commentators. The first section of the essay will discuss the propaganda model of political communications, applying the concept to the most overt tools used by the Livingstone4London campaign. The second section of the essay will investigate behind the overt marketing tools of the campaign logo in purple colours and matching purple double-decker campaign bus to discuss the features of the campaign relevant to the `…”sales-led”…` model. The third section will analyse the political marketing concept, investigating the changes in policy and electoral strategy of the campaign. The essay will conclude that the Livingstone4London campaign’s wider appreciation of the political marketing concept contributed to its success.
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Livingstone4London; mayoral election
Research Type: Other