Negative Advertising: The Wrong Kind Of U.S. Import

The UK election is heating up, and we’re proud to be continuing our work on the progressive side of the aisle with the Labour Party.

Our Founder & CEO Joe Rospars spoke with the BBC’s Today programme, one of Britain’s most influential newscasts, about the UK election, and specifically how negative campaigning is dominating the Conservative party strategy.

Listen here:

The UK doesn’t allow paid TV or radio advertising, so the Tories have copied one element of American elections by creating a series of YouTube attack ads.

This kind of campaigning has worked in the US, but that’s when you have the ability to carpet bomb your opponent on TV with millions of dollars of ads. It also turns people off to the political environment.

All the parties in the UK have double downed on digital in this campaign. But the prevalence of negative advertising from the Tories speak to what the different sides are trying to achieve.
There is an impulse with the Tories to copy and paste a strategy.

But Labour’s campaign isn’t following them down that path. It’s a more grassroots, people-driven campaign, as evidenced by the tens of thousands of new volunteers recruited.

Labour is focusing on creative ways to engage and inspire people to get involved and take action. Polls and surveys drive the community to share their vision for the country’s future. For the 66th birthday of the National Health Service (NHS), Labour gave people the chance to find out their baby number (out of 44 million births). And on Voter Registration Day, a digital tool told people how many other voters share their name, and encouraged them to register if they’re not already.

Negative ads don’t win elections, people win elections, and we’re proud to be supporting Labour in a supporter-driven approach.