Every election these days is called ‘the internet election’, and not surprisingly since each election brings new innovations in social media. Howard Dean did really well out of e-campaigning in 2004, although he was probably less enthusiastic about it once ‘the scream’ appeared all over YouTube. MyBarackObama.com was a cracking success, expanding into a SMS programs, 2,000 YouTube flicks, 3 million online donors, 5 million ‘friends’ across Facebook and other social sites. In Australia, Labor claims a lot of its success is due to marshalling support through digital, and the Coalition admits they didn’t make the best use of it, falling before the bold and youthful Kevin07 brand.
There’s one month of furious electioneering to go in the UK before folks head to the polls, and we’ll see how the parties make best use of digital and social in particular in these next few weeks. Already, my Facebook news feed has changed. Status updates allow everyone you know to see your opinions, comment, and get notifications of others’ comments. It wasn’t that long ago that these were about X Factor, but political conversations are taking their place – people are linking to opinion pieces on the economy and social policies, and the same political discourse is all over twitter too.
But what I’ve found most interesting is how user-generated content has already made a big splash. Following the launch of (Conservative leader) David Cameron’s much mocked airbrushed billboard campaign, Tory-bashers are giving those ads an amusing PhotoShop once-over at mydavidcameron.com.
Labour had an official crowd-sourcing poster competition won by a 24 year old’s entry depicting ‘Nice Dave’ sitting on a 1983 Audi Quattro (below), recalling a character from recent BBC drama Ashes to Ashes in which a police officer inexplicably wakes up in 1981.
The ad was launched last Saturday by Labour’s agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, but immediately repurposed by Euro RSCG (the Tories’ ad agency) to great effect (more on this here).
Clearly crowd-sourcing hasn’t paid off in this example (more of an own goal really), but I’m looking forward to more UGC in the coming weeks.