Election fuels warning to brands to keep out of politics

westminster1The Labour Party might have convinced more than 120 business leaders – including Iceland boss Richard Walker – to support a change in Government but most consumers (41%) feel brands should not be involved in politics, with only a quarter (28%) believing it is appropriate for them to nail their colours to the mast.

That is according to Havas Media Network’s ‘Year of Elections’ survey, which also found that double the amount of people would distrust a brand involved in politics than would trust it.

However, the younger cohort are more likely to feel it is important for brands to get involved in politics, with double the number of 18- to 44-year-olds (41%) agreeing compared to over 45s (17%).

In addition, brands being more empathetic was more important to the younger age group, while the two groups agreed that messaging should be serious and respectful regardless of how people feel; only one in ten felt that being more humorous was the right tone to strike.

Exploring general opinions about politics, the survey also found the majority of Brits (49%) feel downbeat about the upcoming General Election, while 37% feel upbeat – the rest have no opinion either way.

Over half (51%) said they will consume more news during the election period, while 20% of people aged 18 to 44 were the most likely to say their spending would be affected “a lot” by a change in Government.

The most prevalent feeling about the election was uncertainty, for 26% across all groups; one in five also said they felt both optimistic and pessimistic.

Havas Media Network chief planning officer Jackie Lyons said: “It’s unlikely to be a surprise to many that political distrust is set to permeate all areas of the economic landscape in the coming weeks. With 28% of consumers expecting brands to play a role but two-fifths thinking they shouldn’t, getting involved – or not – clearly carries risk.

“In the context of synthetic news, sensationalism and over-reliance on social media, publishers that can provide trustworthy information also have an opportunity to attract new readers.”

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