The People’s Election Broadcast

At the heart of this campaign was the first election broadcast created entirely by the public. It ensured that the public were engaged with education issues in the run up to the 2010 UK General Election and made a difference to the future running of the country.

Specifically, the campaign needed to:

  • Provide a clear call-to-action for our audiences to get involved in the Election debate
  • Drive responses to the campaign, so as to increase audience involvement and advocacy
  • Deliver the messages directly to the three main political parties to influence their manifestos

We secured the first two objectives in two main ways:

  • Gathering the people’s voice from young people, parents and the public through a ‘video booth’ which toured regionally around the UK high streets, schools and youth career shows, news stories and features activity to reach the mainstream audience, tactical national advertising portrayed the three education spokespeople in a ‘revolutionary’ style, asking the public to tell them what changes they would like see made to education policy.
  • Using social media tactics to engage with young people through a competition to name the subject that they wished they had studied promoted through MTV, Facebook, Twitter and online forums.

We then took all 5,000 voices we had generated and compiled the first election broadcast generated entirely by the public (there’s also a shorter version which was used for digital advertising).

The final objective was met as we launched the broadcast at a parliamentary reception at the House of Commons to the three main political parties:

Attendance at the event included Ed Balls MP, David Laws MP, Nick Gibb MP, Lord Kenneth Baker, Barry Sheerman MP and Nicholas Hillman, chief advisor to David Willetts MP.  A series of political advertorials was placed in political press delivering the voice of the public directly to MPs and encouraging them to view the full length broadcast on YouTube.

And following the launch of the broadcast at the House of Commons, media activity kicked up a gear to ensure the broadcast was viewed by the general public:

  • The broadcast was seeded and distributed online via Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, online forums and to bloggers.  All contacts established through the voice generation were re-approached and offered to view the broadcast.
  • Direct engagement with MPs and opinion formers was also completed to raise awareness on Twitter.
  • To drive further awareness and viewings of the broadcast two online debates were hosted with Facebook and the Guardian.  The online debates saw young people and journalists discuss the importance of the broadcast and the issue of reform to the education system. Following the screenings of the debates these were then seeded out via video on demand and YouTube.
  • News story and features formed the media relations strategy, including regional coverage of the ‘stars’ of the broadcast to reinforce the message to MPs on a local level.
  • The ‘People have spoken’ national tactical print adverts  drove awareness of the broadcast and encouraged people to view and share it.
  • Digital SEO, display and contextual advertising coupled with online video on demand playouts increased views.

This campaign, which was shortlisted for PRCA and PR Week awards and which won a SABRE Award in 2011, gave:

  • A clear call to action for people to give their voice to the campaign and Edge’s cause.
  • Over 5,000 voices from members of the public were collected – with hundred of thousands more exposed to campaign messages through wider public relations activity.  Over 600,000 people viewed the broadcast and 600 pieces of supporting media coverage were secured, generating 450m opportunities to see.
  • All voices delivered to the main political parties through the first election broadcast generated entirely by the public, with all three agreeing that the reforms in the education system suggested by Edge were needed.

The results prove that the electorate not only engaged with the campaign, but that politicians sat up and listened to the results.