Comment by Mo Jallow, Researcher.
Yes, they haven’t won, but Labour and its campaign team are still celebrating. The question for many is how did they manage to pull it off? Their campaign has been a triumph of highly efficient targeted marketing against big money mass blanketing.
While there are indeed many factors, not least the targeted messaging to core groups such as the promise to remove tuition fees to young voters and the promise to keep the triple lock to pensioners. However, another strategy perhaps more interesting is the is the clever targeted placement of campaign stops/events in areas that gave them prime time in local TV networks. Data shows for instance more people watch the regional news bulletin at 6:30 on BBC one than on the 6:00 national news. This has indeed fuelled the obsession for local networks in both campaigns.
A brief comparison of the two leaders’ campaign stops shows the strategy in motion, but perhaps more evident, with Labour. Mrs May made 70 stops, 23 in tory held seats, whilst Mr Corbyn made 76 stops, 36 of which are in almost safe labour seats prompting the criticism that he was scouring his base to fend off potential leadership challenges after the inevitable trouncing. However, one person who took great interest in the Labour targeting pattern was Chis Cook, the ‘Newsnight’ policy editor, who gave a different assessment, arguing that while the Labour elders campaign may appear erratic to critics, it was part of a sophisticated strategy to gain maximum exposure to local TV and radio networks.
His visit in Leicester, while in mostly safe labour seats puts him the frame of BBC East Midlands, which also has the added bonus of beaming him into the houses of non-buyer (Tory voters) in nearby safe Tory seats of Leicestershire NE and Leicestershire South. His visit in Worcester puts him in from of ITV Central which covers areas including Monmouth and Wrexham (which Mrs May have visited in person).
Similarly, his visit in the North West gave him access to the ITV Granada audiences which includes the Isle of Man.
Like all Marketers with limited budgets, the Labour team had to do more with less and no matter how erratic it may have appeared to critics, the placement of mass rallies in strategic locations may have just helped the Labour get the message though to audiences who otherwise might have never heard or seen their leader in action.