Early election call brings new challenges for advertisers

Early election call brings new challenges for advertisers
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Yesterday’s surprise announcement by Prime Minister Julia Gillard that the federal election will be held in September has produced an unprecedented ability for advertisers to plan their spend, according to media buyers.

It is the first time in Australian politics a polling date has been known from so far out, with most parties traditionally springing the announcement at the last minute, usually six weeks before the election day.

However, the long run-in, which mirrors that of the US Elections, could help spread out the traditional last-minute glut of election spending, and help other advertisers strategise around it.

PHD managing director Toby Hack said: “It’s the longest run-up we’ve ever seen for an Australian election, and it’s created a different situation than what we’ve seen before.

“There will be a lot more strategic planning around the campaigns because of it. There will be a lot more complexity around it.

“But I still think we’ll see from two months out from the election date there will be a lot more activity.”

John Preston, CEO of Match Media, said he was “relieved” the poll will be in September rather than closer to Christmas as it avoids causing “havoc” with the retail advertising in the run-up to Christmas.

He added: “That said either way the TV networks will be very happy that the election has been called sooner as this will buoy their revenue figures prior to the natural end of year lift in revenue.”

The early call will also allow for more strategising by parties, and the non-government organisations like industry and unions which support them.

CEO of Maxus Jon Chadwick told B&T: “It will be interesting to see who will be spending and when. Union investment traditionally goes behind Labor, and mining investment to the coalition, and how they will be maneuvered to the benefit of both parties will be interesting to see. Both have invested $20m plus historically.”

He said there will be a boon for the traditional media which may cause issues for non-political advertisers , but more extensive use of social channels as well.

Chadwick added: “As we see swings in opinions at certain key electorates, that’s where we’ll see these more adaptive channels being used.

“It will be really interesting case study in terms of adaptive planning, to see how opinion polls are used. It’s almost like us in the broader market who aren’t managing the political parties will need to have one eye on the sales and one eye on the opinion polls and how that’s affecting the market.

“For example if there’s an issue in a  part of NSW and you’re a retail advertiser, you need to keep an eye on the opinion polls as there may be a very heavy investment in that particular area, which will dry up the media and cause cost increases.”

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