ACT election 2016
When we took on the ACT campaign, the polls had Labor behind, with the Light Rail being the major weakness along with a host of others factors including the dangerous ‘time for a change’. Labor had been in government for a very long time!
The only way to win was to position Labor to ‘be the change’- not an easy task for an incumbent government- and made more difficult by the fact that while people wanted change, there was also a strong pride and affection in how Canberra was now.
We came up with a campaign strategy of ‘Keeping the Canberra we love, but making it better’ with the advertising line of “Everything we love about Canberra. But better.’
We developed a look, tone and feel for this positive campaign that would work through every medium, from digital and social media to TV and radio, direct mail and outdoor, and we worked with Andrew Barr, ACT Labor leader, to position him as a reasonably fresh face with new ideas for Canberra.
We knew that to win we had to take the strongest negative, the Light Rail, and make it a positive. To do this we helped develop a simple compelling positive narrative – Canberra’s population was growing by 5000 a year and the Light Rail was the best way to avoid ending up gridlocked like Sydney. We also developed the matching negative narrative – the Liberals were going to spend $280 million to rip up the Light Rail, to get nothing but a congested future.
With a limited budget we communicated this message with bespoke creative for every touch point and every target audience throughout the 5 seats.
We also worked prior to and throughout the election to sell Labor achievements in a highly regionalised strategy. Because we understand that audiences are disengaged with political messages, even if they are strategically sound, we made sure every piece of communication was creatively interesting enough for people to pay attention to the message.
The result was not only a Labor win, but also a swing against the Liberals!