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Tactless Marketing Campaign Makes Us Question DA's Credibility

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Running up to Election week the Democratic Alliance, better known as the DA,  has been hitting their mobile marketing channel at full force. The opposition party have been spamming our SMS inboxes with tons of messages for more than a month now. In passing conversation with numerous groups of people from all walks of life, a common trend arouse as to how annoyed everyone was with there spamming techniques. 

DA's Best Marketing Strategy is Scare Tactics and Bad Mouthing Competitors?

Forgetting the politics of behind the elections and looking at these parties from a marketing point of view, i.e. as brands. Because ultimately all political parties are brands and their campaign rely on marketing and selling themselves to the public. They want to increase awareness and gain the trust and loyalty of citizens so they have their support.

As a brand, I actually find the DA extremely annoying. As a marketing professional its plain to see that their strategy is poor and downright lazy! Absolutely no creative or intellectual effort was put into their campaign. There are no real, concrete reasons presented as to why we should vote for them? No Unique value propositions. Instead, they resorted to Bad-mouthing competitors and scare tactics to get citizens, especially those of the Western Cape to vote for them. For an established brand, cheap shots are more harmful to your reputation than uplifting. And to be honest it sounds a bit like the strategy was thought up on the kindergarten playground, during recess while enjoying some cold Oros and Niknaks.

This underhanded behaviour actually taints the credibility of the DA. And we have to highlight the lack of creativity in the copy of their messages. The exact same wording was used in the copy over 14 messages in January, April and May 2019. All of them saying the exact same thing:

Register or vote DA so we can stop the ANC & EFF Coalition of Corruption from infiltrating the Western Cape!

On Election Day Alone, I received 4 of these SMSes and 2 automated phone calls from Helen Zilla driving the same message. After the second call, I then blocked the number so not sure if there were more attempts. My inbox is basically overflowing from messages from the DA trying to get me to vote for them; see screenshot below - yes I live on the edge with my phone battery life!

DA sms spam marketing

Cheap Shots Negatively Impacts the Credibility of a Brand

Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for campaigning. In fact, I am a sucker for a good marketing campaign. But not like this. The DA had some budget to use on marketing, why not be creative about it. Like most people, I like to be wooed by a good marketing campaign, make me feel special and talk to me like an intelligent person. If I like what you have to say, we can hang out.

We are all taught to avoid bad mouth from a very young age. And this basic rule of social etiquette is carried with us throughout our lives. From friendships to job interviews, we keep it clean. Chances are if you bad mouthing one party(excuse the pun) to another you doing the same thing behind the confidants back! What does this say about you as a person? The same applies to political parties. What do these messages say about you as political leaders who wish to govern our country? If the best you can do is bad-mouth, then is that really a reason to vote for you? The underlying messaged received is basically: 

Dear citizens, I'd like you to vote for me but the best reason I have is so you do not vote for my opposition. I have nothing Unique to offer. No real value. Its just either me or them, and I guess we are the better bet.

If the DA were being graded for their marketing efforts, they would score a big fat Zero. What's even more disappointing is they have hired a team of qualified professionals to devise and implement this strategy. Hopefully, I'm wrong and this was really the result of a little too much Niknaks on the playground. But I highly doubt it. A more tactful plan could have been put together by high school students for free. 

Politics Continue to be a Selfish Game

It's hard to manage a country, a province or even a city. I'm sure every person is doing the best given their capabilities. But until our leaders are selfless and actually thinking about the wellbeing of the greater population instead of a small subset of interest, we will never thrive as a nation.

One day South Africans will get the leadership they deserve. Until then I suggest the DA has a look at our list of Marketing Professionals to help them strategies for the next election!

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Tags: mobile marketing, elections, marketing don'ts, marketing tips

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