February 2011. The Government collapsed and a General Election was called. In the four intense weeks leading up to polling day we produced the following for our client The Labour Party.
It was to be their most successful election ever. They won 37 seats (previous historical high = 33) and went on to form the current government with the Fine Gael party.
We then set out the party’s vision for Government with a series of posters featuring the leader Eamon Gilmore. Eamon was riding high in the leadership opinion polls and was therefore one of the party’s best assets.
Fighting a General Election is in many ways like fighting a war. Towards the end of the first week the Fine Gael spokesman for Finance labelled the Labour as a high tax party. The label stuck and was starting to do some damage in the polls. The Labour team decided to fight back. On week two we launched a series of attack press ads in the main Irish newspapers. The purpose of theses ads was to point out that Fine Gael were planning a series of stealth taxes.
The attack ads started to work. For a day or two it seemed as if the whole country was talking about them. They made the headlines on the RTE evening news as well the front page of many of the daily newspapers. The Labour team had successfully re-framed the debate and turned the media agenda. It was now time to turn the message positive, we led with the Party Political Broadcast and followed through with a series of “call to action” messages on outdoor posters and press
So how did it go on the big day? Well, Labour won an historic 37 seats. (Their previous high was 33). They are currently negotiating the formation of the next Government with the Fine Gael party. And we’re just proud to have played our part.
As for the advertising, did it work? Well RTE ran this graph during their coverage of the election count. It shows when people made up their minds to vote for Fine Gael and Labour. As you can see there was a swing towards Labour in the last week of the election. That’s when most of the advertising kicked in.