On the campaign trail

Things are heating up in the election race. And the comms are coming thick and fast. So here’s a rundown of what the parties have been up to on the campaign front in the final week of hand-shaking, baby-kissing and tongue-wagging. 

  • Youtube VideoYoutube VideoNational’s still sitting pretty in the polls and its strategy hasn’t really changed since the campaign was launched after the Rugby World Cup: put the PM’s mug on everything because he’s close to being a bigger brand than the party. He’s also there on the feelgood ‘brighter future’ TV montages featuring The Feelers—and thought to be created by Sugar and a network of freelancers—that explain the party’s policies on health, welfare, education, the economy, law & order and infrastructure. Not surprisingly, there hasn’t been much in the way of reactive messaging (although John Key’s tweet count has gone up significantly), presumably due to the fact that it thought it was going to win in a doddle earlier on in the campaign. According to dastardly sources, it’s outspent Labour 1.5 to 1 on rate card.
  • Youtube VideoAfter last night’s leader’s debate on TV3, Phil Goff and Labour might feel as though the party has some wind in its sails coming down the home stretch. As expected, its campaign by String Theory has largely focused on what’s wrong with National’s policies (the DM sent to solo mothers in South Auckland telling them they wouldn’t see their one-year-olds because they had to go back to work under National, for example). It certainly seems to have kept some of its gunpowder dry for the final push, as evidenced by the media weight given to its animated ‘Fact’ ads that ran during the debate last night and the recently released poster campaign to try and mobilise its likely supporters on the day (see them all here: vote posters). Extra points to String Theory’s Jeremy Taine for saying ‘Vote Labour!’ when he accepted the ‘five-star winner’ trophy at the NBR agency of the year award on Mr Colman’s very blue boat.
  • Youtube VideoYoutube VideoThe Green Party’s ‘For a richer New Zealand’ tagline, which was devised by Running With Scissors, seems to be have well-received and, despite some moderately entertaining but potentially damaging vandalism to National’s billboards by a Green supporter, the party has been clocking in with some of its highest ever poll results recently. It followed Labour’s lead during last night’s debate with a number of placements for its TV ad showing Kiwis smiling among the wind turbines (all the campaign creative was made by its own network).
  • Poll results appear to show Act is hanging on by a thread, as is Peter Dunne and United Future. But it’s still advertising, with a focus on DM, and it has been going down the historical road with its advertising with a TV spot by Tonic Design that embraces the famous ‘The Thinker’ statue (Act, Mana, NZ First and The Conservative Party didn’t have their ads on YouTube). And it’s also been trumpeting the experience of Don Brash in times of economic crisis.
  • Youtube VideoYoutube VideoYoutube VideoThe Maori Party has also created a few low-budget ads talking about the importance of whanau.
  • NZ First has been given a boost by the return to prominence of Winston Peters, a man who, as someone told us, “should be running a bouncy castle franchise” instead of being a potential coalition partner. Its YouTube channel hasn’t been updated for three years.
  • Youtube VideoThe Aoeteroa legalise cannabis party has even taken to TV to promote its central policy. But we can’t help thinking it would’ve benefitted from some Herman Cain magic.

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