13 million. This was the number that Nielsen figures revealed that Labor, Liberals and the United Australia Party (UAP) splashed their advertising money on in the final week of the election. UAP were the biggest players, accounting roughly 9 million of this. Advertising in the SMI's Political Parties/Industry Associations/Union category jumped by $16.3 million to $18 million this April - The Liberals, who pulled off a win, spent $2.74 million on ads, up from $2 million the week prior. Meanwhile the Labor party spent $3.07 million, up from $2.5 million the week prior. The Greens also made one last splash - spending $140,000 on ads in its attempts to secure seats. The real question, though: was any of this tied to results?
Well, the results of Clive Palmer and the UAP demonstrated that billionaires can’t exactly buy elections - but that they can certainly flood the print media, airwaves, social media and billboards with advertising and essentially, build their own brand. While there is a longstanding 48-hour ban on political advertising in radio and broadcast media prior to polling day, advertising on social media is not covered - and the very useful Facebook Ad Library was able to catalogue the extent of the online broadcasts that occurred during the 48-hour blackout.
UAP started its advertising campaign long before the date for the 2019 federal election was announced. Their advertising marathon started before the major parties even got into the game, and nearly five months later, the UAP ads still continued without any sign of backing down - across outdoor, television and online. Obviously, political campaigns are different to consumer advertising campaigns. Political parties are more diverse than most consumer brands and (hopefully) voters invest more in their decision making on election day than they do when they’re selecting a brand of milk. But, just like consumer brands, the data indicates that Australian politicians seemed to have learnt that there is no chance of being bought (or in this case, elected) if people don’t know you exist.
Whether or not you agree with the UAP’s message is a different kettle of fish all together, but for consumer brands the lesson is clear. Clive may not have won a seat - but he’s become somewhat of a household name, if not a meme in himself. Don’t give in to trends - and reach as many potential consumers as widely and continuously as your budget allows if you want to grow your brand. If you’re interested to learn what we can teach you about brand growth, drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org to gain advice tailored to you (we more than likely won’t advise you to send out unsolicited text messages to over 5.6 million Australian mobiles).