Will BN’s win in GE15 validate the death of digital as a persuasion platform?

This piece was first Published in MARKETING WEEKENDER Issue 350


This question has been bugging me for more than a week now. 

Will BN’s win mean the destruction of myths like “only the young are digital,” digital advertising is “authentic and meaningful”, more importantly “consumers trust digital messaging”? 

Marketers are keenly watching the election space and are looking at how political advertising and promotion are being done on the very same platforms they use daily for their brands. 

Maybe GE is not a fair comparison, but certainly food for thought. 

Because if Digital is the opposition’s main platform (because they’ve been shut out of mainstream media) then isn’t the effectiveness of Digital at stake if the opposition loses? 

Before I am accused of false equivalencies, yes, yes, there are a million variables here: messaging power, virality, level of spend, media planning, attention and trust deficits, overload and saturation…. 

Politicians are the worst advertisers, that’s why they can never become marketing influencers. Their messages vary by the minute, but I have noticed one faithful habit: they read the papers regularly and if they are not featured, when they should have been, they go ballistic. 

Politicians are the only ones who believe in the power of newspapers. They may have a point here…when it comes to groundswell marketing. 

In many corridors of power, looking good in a newspaper guarantees your place in the political hierarchy. Fact!

OK, if the opposition uses only Digital and their opponents use mainstream media and also flirt with digital investing in stealth operatives (the comments section can kill any story in seconds), disguise fake news as real, and deploy memes to effect, then could one say mainstream media is more authentic? 

Ok, ok, GE15 is not Do or Die for Digital. 

But it’s time of reckoning has come. 

BTW, this issue of MARKETING Weekender is our 101th issue!

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