SWEDEN'S MOST EFFECTIVE OUTDOOR CAMPAIGN EVER
In the 2014 Swedish election, the Centre Party received just 6.1% of electoral votes. Four years later, they faced a new election challenge in a world where much had changed. Large numbers of refugee had arrived in Sweden, and several other parties had completely changed their migration policies. The debate climate felt sharper and harsher, and society much more polarized. However, the Centre Party had stuck to policy during those years, and polls showed party leader Annie Lööf was both popular and trusted.
But things change quickly in politics, we needed to find a way to easily package and convey Centre Party politics via an election campaign that people could relate to. An important part of it was to be able to start a popular movement and ensure that all Centre Party politicians, party members and volunteers up and down the country had something to rally their local activities around. All we had to do was come up a brutally simple and persuasive concept.
THE BRUTALLY SIMPLE SOLUTION
Luckily, we gained access to large amounts of data and information about different political target audiences and messaging. We dived into the material, drew insight and arrived at some conclusions. Finally, a brutally simple solution was born based on a number of assumptions:
- With her high confidence inside and outside the party, Annie Lööf should have a prominent role in communication
- Politics is complex and difficult to grasp. We needed to simplify our stance as much as possible – ideally via a single message.
- This election would be a question of values, we needed to clearly show which side Centre Party was on.
- At a time when many parties had changed their position, the Centre Party had held fast to theirs. We wanted to reinforce the image of a party who stands firm when the wind blows.
- We wanted to make “the middle” something active. Not being left or right can be interpreted as indecisive and passive, but that is not the case with the Centre Party. They are not laid back, but active and progressive.
We needed an idea that could easily be adapted and passed on. The Centre Party communicates in so many more ways than just traditional advertising. They reach out through members, voting booths, television debates and political speeches. We wanted to find something that could be used in all forums to give a unified and clear picture of the party.
The brutally simple idea that was born was "Forward". It gave a clear direction and an active position that could be taken on by everyone. In the ads it was a unifying word for the entire electoral movement, right from the grassroots level and up to the party leader Annie Lööf.
THE RESULT: A DRAMATIC MEASURABLE CHANGE
Our outdoor campaign became Sweden's most effective ever in all categories. As many as 88% saw the campaign (the reference figure for political advertising was 41%).
In social media, view rates and click rates performed beyond anyone’s expectations at unusually high levels, too (we are unfortunately unable to reveal exact figures).
The Centre Party conducted a fantastic election campaign to achieve a historic result. They increased by almost +33% compared to the 2014 election, leading to an increase of 9 seats in parliament to become the fourth largest party. They were the party that had grown the most in the election. Moreover, the number of members was now higher than ever.
We also saw a significant increase at the municipal level. Of all the parties in Sweden, the Centre Party is the party that participates in, and governs most of, the country's local municipalities – a total of 7 out of 10. The Centre Party also became the largest party of first-time voters. So the future looks bright going forward.
We distilled a complex challenge, with several sensitive issues to take into account, down to a brutally simple and clear concept that was easy to understand and adopt by an entire political bloc – which led to the Centre Party having its best election in 30 years.
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