Political Marketing
The Irish Labour Party and the 2007 Election
DIT MA Public Affairs and Political
Communications
April ...
Background
2002 election performance was poor

Critical decision to be made on party strategy

1.Market development to appeal beyond ...
Reasoning:

1.Potential of existing policies had not been exhausted

2.Better vote management through formal pact with
  F...
Direct contrast to 2002 strategy which adopted a more
independent line and viewed formal alliances as
problematic
2002 vot...
Fine Gael - Labour Alliance


 2004 vote transfer pact with FG
 Mullingar Accord extended the relationship in 2005
 Clear ...
Strategy and Campaign
Candidate Selection

More centralised candidate selection in the Labour
Party’s Organisational Subcommittee (OSC)
  Recomm...
Committee led by Dick Spring in 2005 to devise a
candidate strategy

Recommended one-candidate tickets

  seven constituen...
Labour Candidates in terms of Political Experience
20



15



10



5



0
     TD       Senator         Councillor Elect...
Communication Objectives

Steps taken by the new
alliance to outline:
  Shared Vision
  Shared Goals
  Shared
  Responsibi...
Communication Objectives
                                      Media Coverage
                         80%
               ...
Particular effort made to win backing of party members

  80% support at convention

Vehicle for achieving more of its obj...
Change
Experience
Local Representatives
Labour essential for
change
5 Commitments
The 5 Commitments
1.More Beds in Clean Hospitals.
2.Pre-School education for all our
  children.
3.More Gardai on the beat...
Campaign Analysis
Campaign Characteristics

1. No substantial revision of policies
2. Conservative candidate selection
3. Focus on communica...
Sales Oriented Parties
 Attempt to persuade voters by using market
 communication
 Focus is on selling, using hard persuas...
Campaign Outcome
Candidates   Avg. Vote   % elected
 Fianna Fáil      106        8,100        73%
 Fine Gael        91         6,203       ...
Change since
                  % vote
                              2002
  Fianna Fáil     41.6%       0.1%
   Fine Gael  ...
Change since
                  Seats
                             2002
  Fianna Fáil      77          4
   Fine Gael      ...
Vote Share      Seats




30+ years in the 9 - 12 per cent band
Party has found its level? or is it stuck in a rut?
Vote Share          Seats
                                                          33




                               ...
Plus ça change

 Eamon Gilmore
 emphasised continuity of
 philosophy, improved
 organisation and better
 presentation of L...
Political Marketing
Christopher Mehigan
April 12, 2010
Labour (Ireland) 2007 election
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Labour (Ireland) 2007 election

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Presentation I prepared on the Political Marketing of the Irish Labour Party for the 2007 General Election.

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  • Poor 2002 performance, Labour had a critical decision to make whether to attempt an aggressive strategy of market development by appealing beyond its existing base to challenge either the market leader (FF) or Fine Gael, Labours main rival for the role of challenger.

    They opted for the more conservative strategy of seeking greater market penetration.
  • The party strategists calculated that the potential of its existing policies had not been exhausted and judged that better vote management through a formal pact with Fine Gael would maximise support.
  • This was in direct contrast to the strategy used in 2002 where Labour had adopted a more independent position and viewed formal alliances as problematic. Labour strategists felt that the new approach responded to the voters assessment in 2002 that in practice there was no choice but Fianna Fáil.
  • Before the 2004 local elections, Pat Rabbitte had approved a vote transfer pact with Fine Gael and this was extended in the ‘Mullingar Accord’ agreed by the party’s leadership in 2005. The strategy was formulated to emphasise a clear electable alternative to Fianna Fáil. In this regard it was largely successful.

  • The Labour Party adopted a more centralised candidate selection process in the Labour Party’s Organisational Subcommittee (OSC). The OSC would recommend the number of candidates for selection at a convention. In addition the OSC Chairperson and Party Leader could also add candidates to the ticket once the election was called. This occurred in Dublin South where Aidan Culhane won the selection at convention, but Alex White was nonetheless added to the ticket.
  • Working with the OSC, Labour established a committee led by Dick Spring in 2005 to devise a candidate strategy. The committee recommended one-candidate tickets in most cases with exceptions in seven constituencies where two candidates were run in each. Notably this was the first time that Labour ran candidates in every constituency since 1969. Had been attempted in 2002 but was not successful due to lack of suitable candidates. None of the sitting Labour TD’s were challenged.
  • This conservative approach to candidate selection evidenced by not challenging any of the sitting TD’s is further reflected in the breakdown of the political experience of the Labour Party candidates. Only 5 out of the 50 candidates were new to the process. 40 of the candidates were either sitting TD’s, Senators or local Councillors.

  • This conservative approach to candidate selection evidenced by not challenging any of the sitting TD’s is further reflected in the breakdown of the political experience of the Labour Party candidates. Only 5 out of the 50 candidates were new to the process. 40 of the candidates were either sitting TD’s, Senators or local Councillors.

  • This conservative approach to candidate selection evidenced by not challenging any of the sitting TD’s is further reflected in the breakdown of the political experience of the Labour Party candidates. Only 5 out of the 50 candidates were new to the process. 40 of the candidates were either sitting TD’s, Senators or local Councillors.

  • This conservative approach to candidate selection evidenced by not challenging any of the sitting TD’s is further reflected in the breakdown of the political experience of the Labour Party candidates. Only 5 out of the 50 candidates were new to the process. 40 of the candidates were either sitting TD’s, Senators or local Councillors.

  • This conservative approach to candidate selection evidenced by not challenging any of the sitting TD’s is further reflected in the breakdown of the political experience of the Labour Party candidates. Only 5 out of the 50 candidates were new to the process. 40 of the candidates were either sitting TD’s, Senators or local Councillors.

  • This conservative approach to candidate selection evidenced by not challenging any of the sitting TD’s is further reflected in the breakdown of the political experience of the Labour Party candidates. Only 5 out of the 50 candidates were new to the process. 40 of the candidates were either sitting TD’s, Senators or local Councillors.

  • Steps taken to outline a shared vision as well as clear goals and responsibilities for the new alliance. In a subsequent review of the media coverage of the election campaign it emerged that Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny, and the Labour Party Leader Pat Rabbitte were almost identical in terms of time and effort invested in each topic. This shows that both parties were consistently on message in communicating the vision, goals and responsibilities of the campaign.
  • Steps taken to outline a shared vision as well as clear goals and responsibilities for the new alliance. In a subsequent review of the media coverage of the election campaign it emerged that Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny, and the Labour Party Leader Pat Rabbitte were almost identical in terms of time and effort invested in each topic. This shows that both parties were consistently on message in communicating the vision, goals and responsibilities of the campaign.
  • Steps taken to outline a shared vision as well as clear goals and responsibilities for the new alliance. In a subsequent review of the media coverage of the election campaign it emerged that Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny, and the Labour Party Leader Pat Rabbitte were almost identical in terms of time and effort invested in each topic. This shows that both parties were consistently on message in communicating the vision, goals and responsibilities of the campaign.
  • Steps taken to outline a shared vision as well as clear goals and responsibilities for the new alliance. In a subsequent review of the media coverage of the election campaign it emerged that Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny, and the Labour Party Leader Pat Rabbitte were almost identical in terms of time and effort invested in each topic. This shows that both parties were consistently on message in communicating the vision, goals and responsibilities of the campaign.
  • Steps taken to outline a shared vision as well as clear goals and responsibilities for the new alliance. In a subsequent review of the media coverage of the election campaign it emerged that Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny, and the Labour Party Leader Pat Rabbitte were almost identical in terms of time and effort invested in each topic. This shows that both parties were consistently on message in communicating the vision, goals and responsibilities of the campaign.
  • Steps taken to outline a shared vision as well as clear goals and responsibilities for the new alliance. In a subsequent review of the media coverage of the election campaign it emerged that Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny, and the Labour Party Leader Pat Rabbitte were almost identical in terms of time and effort invested in each topic. This shows that both parties were consistently on message in communicating the vision, goals and responsibilities of the campaign.
  • Steps taken to outline a shared vision as well as clear goals and responsibilities for the new alliance. In a subsequent review of the media coverage of the election campaign it emerged that Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny, and the Labour Party Leader Pat Rabbitte were almost identical in terms of time and effort invested in each topic. This shows that both parties were consistently on message in communicating the vision, goals and responsibilities of the campaign.
  • Particular effort made to win the backing of party members and to build a plan for realistic and proportionate gains and risk-sharing. Labour presented the strategy as a vehicle for achieving more of its objectives, as it was the author of more of the policies in the agreed programme and its ranks contained more senior political figures with ministerial experience - an important asset when competence was being stressed. For its traditional supporters it characterised the strategy as ensuring a framework for a centre-left government to replace the centre-right one in place.
  • Messaging was consistent, clear, and concise. Focus was on the qualities and experience of the Labour party and their candidates more so than particular policies. Labour was presented as a key player in a change of government (centre left v. centre right)
  • Policy light although it is still clear and concise messaging.

  • Campaign Characteristics
    No substantial revision of policies, relied instead on existing policies.
    Conservative candidate selection, although more far reaching than previously.
    Focus on communicating an elective alternative to government.
    Convincing public this is the right choice.
    Applying the Lees Marshment theory of political marketing to this leads us to conclude that the political campaign best describes that of a Sales Oriented Party.
  • According to Lees Marshment the characteristics of a political marketing campaign run by a Sales Oriented Party include:
    Attempt to persuade voters by using market communication.
    Focus on selling, using hard persuasive techniques that may mask weakness or problem areas. (Such as the incompatibility of conflicting FG / Lab policies)
    Try to make the voters want it, and what it offers, rather than change its behaviour to suit what the voters want. (Didn’t change, but tried to make voters opt for an alternative government to FF)
    Research for advertisement and message generation, but not product (candidate or policy) design. (Conservative candidate selection, no substantive policy reform).


  • Unfortunately for Labour, the strategy of teaming with Fine Gael appeared to benefit Fine Gael more so that Labour.

  • Over the ten elections during the period 1977-2007, Labour’s vote fell outside the 9-12 per cent band (and its seats outside the band of 15 - 21, only twice. In 1987 it plunged to 6% of the vote, reducing seats to 12, and in 1992 it raised the vote share to 19 per cent and won 33 seats.
    The remarkable stability suggests a party that has found its level within the party system, or, some would say, is stuck in a rut.

  • Over the ten elections during the period 1977-2007, Labour’s vote fell outside the 9-12 per cent band (and its seats outside the band of 15 - 21, only twice. In 1987 it plunged to 6% of the vote, reducing seats to 12, and in 1992 it raised the vote share to 19 per cent and won 33 seats.
    The remarkable stability suggests a party that has found its level within the party system, or, some would say, is stuck in a rut.

  • Over the ten elections during the period 1977-2007, Labour’s vote fell outside the 9-12 per cent band (and its seats outside the band of 15 - 21, only twice. In 1987 it plunged to 6% of the vote, reducing seats to 12, and in 1992 it raised the vote share to 19 per cent and won 33 seats.
    The remarkable stability suggests a party that has found its level within the party system, or, some would say, is stuck in a rut.

  • Upon taking over as leader in the late summer of 2007, Eamon Gilmore emphasised continuity of philosophy, improved organisation, and better presentation of Labour’s existing values and policies rather than a more fundamental reassessment.
    Labours performance in 2007 was neither bad enough to prompt a root and branch self examination, nor good enough to lift it into the top division.

  • Labour (Ireland) 2007 election

    1. 1. Political Marketing The Irish Labour Party and the 2007 Election DIT MA Public Affairs and Political Communications April 12, 2010
    2. 2. Background
    3. 3. 2002 election performance was poor Critical decision to be made on party strategy 1.Market development to appeal beyond existing base 2.Seek greater market penetration
    4. 4. Reasoning: 1.Potential of existing policies had not been exhausted 2.Better vote management through formal pact with FG would maximise support
    5. 5. Direct contrast to 2002 strategy which adopted a more independent line and viewed formal alliances as problematic 2002 voters assessment was that there was no choice but Fianna Fáil
    6. 6. Fine Gael - Labour Alliance 2004 vote transfer pact with FG Mullingar Accord extended the relationship in 2005 Clear electable alternative to Fianna Fáil emerged
    7. 7. Strategy and Campaign
    8. 8. Candidate Selection More centralised candidate selection in the Labour Party’s Organisational Subcommittee (OSC) Recommend the number of candidates for selection at a convention Chairperson and Party Leader could also add candidates to the ticket once election called (Dublin South: Alex White / Aidan Culhane)
    9. 9. Committee led by Dick Spring in 2005 to devise a candidate strategy Recommended one-candidate tickets seven constituencies where two candidates were run Candidate in every constituency for the first time since 1969 Sitting TDs were unchallenged
    10. 10. Labour Candidates in terms of Political Experience 20 15 10 5 0 TD Senator Councillor Electoral Experience New
    11. 11. Communication Objectives Steps taken by the new alliance to outline: Shared Vision Shared Goals Shared Responsibilities Economy Health Education Crime Tax Housing
    12. 12. Communication Objectives Media Coverage 80% 9% 8% Steps taken by the new 14% 14% 60% alliance to outline: 9% 7% Shared Vision 40% 8% 12% 26% 23% Shared Goals 20% Shared 11% 12% Responsibilities 0% Enda Kenny Pat Rabbitte Economy Health Education Crime Tax Housing
    13. 13. Particular effort made to win backing of party members 80% support at convention Vehicle for achieving more of its objectives Labour contained more senior political figures with ministerial experience - important asset for competence Characterised the strategy as ensuring a framework for a centre-left government to replace the centre right one.
    14. 14. Change Experience Local Representatives Labour essential for change 5 Commitments
    15. 15. The 5 Commitments 1.More Beds in Clean Hospitals. 2.Pre-School education for all our children. 3.More Gardai on the beat in neighbourhoods. 4.Abolish the means test for carers. 5.Enable more people to begin to buy a house.
    16. 16. Campaign Analysis
    17. 17. Campaign Characteristics 1. No substantial revision of policies 2. Conservative candidate selection 3. Focus on communicating an elective alternative to government 4. Convincing public this is the right choice Lees Marshment: political marketing by a Sales Orientated Party
    18. 18. Sales Oriented Parties Attempt to persuade voters by using market communication Focus is on selling, using hard persuasive techniques that may mask weaknesses or problem areas Try to make voters want it, and what it offers, rather than change its behaviour to suit what voters want Research for advertisement and message generation, but not product (candidate or policy) design
    19. 19. Campaign Outcome
    20. 20. Candidates Avg. Vote % elected Fianna Fáil 106 8,100 73% Fine Gael 91 6,203 56% Labour 50 4,184 40% Green Party 44 2,204 14% Sinn Féin 41 3,498 10% P. Democrats 30 1,880 7% Others 108 1,268 5% Totals 470 4,395 35%
    21. 21. Change since % vote 2002 Fianna Fáil 41.6% 0.1% Fine Gael 27.3% 4.8% Labour 10.1% 0.6% Green Party 4.7% 0.8% Sinn Féin 6.9% 0.4% Prog. Democrats 2.7% 1.2% Others 6.7% 4.3%
    22. 22. Change since Seats 2002 Fianna Fáil 77 4 Fine Gael 51 20 Labour 20 0 Green Party 6 0 Sinn Féin 4 1 Prog. Democrats 2 6 Others 5 8 165
    23. 23. Vote Share Seats 30+ years in the 9 - 12 per cent band Party has found its level? or is it stuck in a rut?
    24. 24. Vote Share Seats 33 19.5% 20 20 16 16 17 15 15 15 11.6% 12 9.9% 9.4% 9.5% 10.4% 10.8% 10.1% 9.1% 6.5% 1977 1981 1982 (Feb) 1982 (Nov) 1987 1989 1992 1997 2002 2007 30+ years in the 9 - 12 per cent band Party has found its level? or is it stuck in a rut?
    25. 25. Plus ça change Eamon Gilmore emphasised continuity of philosophy, improved organisation and better presentation of Labour’s existing values and policies rather than a more fundamental reassessment
    26. 26. Political Marketing Christopher Mehigan April 12, 2010

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