A Masterstroke or a Major Joke?

By Ryan Colsey.

The commercial released by SA-BEST on Tuesday has continued to go viral online boosting the party’s profile ahead of the March 17 state election.

The low-budget commercial has Nick Xenophon and other SA-BEST candidates singing about broad policies to an upbeat jingle.

At over two minutes in length, the ad shows Mr Xenophon in a number of roles, including a patient, florist, and farm-hand.

“Public health is in a crisis, our kids need proper care, our money’s not used wisely, it’s bad – it’s just not fair,” Xenophon sings.

“Get on top of problems – pokies, drugs, and crime. Want real change? Vote SA-BEST. It’s time.”

The SA-BEST party has announced 36 candidates in the lower house, which could allow it to form government in its own right.

A poll of nearly 500 people conducted by Channel Seven’s Today Tonight, revealed 63 per cent of respondents said the ad made them more likely to vote for the party.

Only 28 per cent of those felt it would make them less likely to vote for SA-BEST.

State Opposition leader Steven Marshall weighed into the matter on social media, tweeting:

“The reality in South Australia is in a world of trouble after 16 years, and a jingle and a Bollywood commercial won’t solve the problem. We can’t have a stunt recovery. The ad is an embarrassment.”

In an interview with ABC radio host Ali Clarke, Senator Penny Wong also felt the ad was more about the show than the message.

“You know what I reckon about this ad? I reckon it’s vintage, Nick. It’s good at stunts but not much substance,” she said.

Director of Media at McGuiness-Media, Georgina McGuiness said a fresh and different commercial would naturally draw media attention.

“He [Xenophon] has built a career around performing stunts so an alternative advertisement like this is no surprise,” she said.

“It has been really effective in making SA-BEST more prominent.”

Ms McGuiness doesn’t believe the major parties will follow suit.

“It’s too risky for either of the major parties to do any promotions like this. They are heavily focused on towing the party line.”

As well as being a Director of Media, Ms. McGuiness also served as a Communications Advisor to Mr Marshall during the 2014 state election.

“Stay on message and stay focused is what the major parties instruct their politicians to do,” she said.

The 2014 state election was notable for a blunder by Mr Marshall where he encouraged voters live on air to ‘Vote Labor’.

“In 2014 the Liberals had a lot of campaign money and were running a strong advertising campaign,” she said.

“But after that mistake it meant nothing. All advertising, all the good publicity, all the key points can come unstuck in one word.”

In an editorial for The Conversation, Andrew Hughes, senior lecturer in marketing at the Australian National University, believes a good political ad should follow the KISS principle – Keep It Simple Stupid!

“Don’t go overboard with information and content – think of the Greens- their brand name says it all, so there is no need to remember any of their policies.”

The ad has already caught on, with SBS’s ‘The Feed’, Wednesday releasing its own parody version of the ad.

While SA-BEST is currently enjoying a boost in the latest polls, its success could also backfire with more scrutiny now likely to be aimed at the party’s policies.

It remains to be seen if Mr Xenophon’s showmanship is matched by the statesmanship he will need if his party is successful in March.

 

 

Image Source: themusic.com.au

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