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UK Insights

Voting with their feet: Why the party political broadcast is likely to be a turn-off for younger voters

Jane Ostler

Managing Director, Media & Digital, Kantar Millward Brown

GE 16.05.2017 / 09:00

Voting box

A Kantar Millward Brown view on the 2017 General Election

Political parties and politicians have a lot in common with marketers, who face significant challenges engaging with younger audiences. With only 1 in 7 under 24 year-olds saying they will definitely vote in GE2017, it’s important to understand that younger adults exhibit markedly different preferences about how they’re communicated with.

Kantar Millward Brown’s AdReaction: Engaging Gen X, Y and Z is the first-ever comprehensive global study of Gen Z, and highlights the extreme nature of the challenge as the first cohort of Gen Z (16-19 year olds) starts to become more critical to more categories, and to politicians. Here are our key take-outs for how to engage with younger UK audiences:

  • Be mobile: Gen Z have grown up with a smartphone in their hands so it’s imperative for political parties to be present on mobile platforms. The Conservative Party spent £1.2m on Facebook for the last General Election; but it’s not just about being in the right places, it’s also about creating the right content and using formats that will appeal to younger voters.
  • Don’t ignore traditional media: Despite their digitally-dominated media consumption, Gen Z still likes traditional media. Gen Z responds positively to traditional ad formats, particularly outdoor and cinema.

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  • Respect their online space: Gen Z is more positive than other generations towards skippable pre-rolls but they are especially damning of invasive ad formats like non-skippable pre-rolls and mobile app pop-ups.
  • Use shorter formats: All generations prefer shorter time lengths, but Gen Z have a particularly strong preference for videos less than 10 seconds long so the content must be highly engaging or entertaining in order to keep their attention. The 5-minute Party Political Broadcast will have to fight very hard to maintain its relevance in this context.

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  • Be even more social: Gen Z uses social media much more than other generations, not just in terms of time spent, but also the number of platforms they visit so politicians need to spread the word far and wide.
  • Encourage interaction: Gen Z is positive to ads that let them vote for something to happen and where they can take decisions about the ending, the story or the characters. There’s an opportunity for politicians to encourage voter registration, but also to tell stories, or talk about specific policies in a way that allows people to interact.

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  • Consider making it funny: Humour is the most likely technique to appeal to Gen Z, followed by the use of music. Humour and music also appeal, but at a slightly lower level, for other generations.
  • Don’t be traditional: branded events, native content and social media celebrity content are very well received by Gen Z. Political parties could consider events, new types of content and choosing relevant and credible celebrities to promote their cause.

In summary, if political parties are to encourage younger people to vote, they need to engage and entertain them. We couldn’t really be further away from the 5-minute Party Political broadcast of yore. Political parties need to be in the right places, but it’s also vital that they use formats that have high appeal among younger age groups.


Source : Kantar Millward Brown

Editor's Notes

For more information, or to interview Jane Ostler, please contact us.

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