Innovative Campaigning Strategies in 2015

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Exec Elections campaigning brings all sorts of costumes and themes to Loughborough each year. Campaign styles and ideas are often quite generic, but this year it appears as though we’re seeing some completely unique, innovative and exciting campaign strategies! We’re now about half way through campaigning- so what new things have we seen so far, and what technique keeps returning like a bad penny? 

Unique campaigning from Haslam, Reckless and Hazeldene;

Thursday 26th February saw a couple of new strategies appear on social media. Take Thomas “The Tank Engine” Haslam, running for VP Sport, for example. If you logged onto Facebook on Thursday, you’d have been greeted with a wonderful image of a rather familiar face. Tom and his campaigners were sharing a video around of athlete Adam Gemili showing his support for Tom’s campaign. If that didn’t grab your attention, I’m not sure what would. In less than 10 seconds, Adam Gemili instantly boosts the reputation of Tom Haslam in the sporting field proving that he is the kind of guy who can contact big names and is by no means afraid to get his own name out there. This is a fantastic publicity stunt, bound to catch the eye of every Loughborough social media user out there- nice work.

Ed Reckless‘ campaign also saw a new kind of backing via a Facebook status. Many people were sharing this onto Freshers’ pages and their own accounts which ended with #4SecondsOr4Years- prompting people to forgive Reckless for his previous actions and consider the bigger picture. The status shows that people do believe in him and are prepared to share that with their hundreds of friends from Loughborough and beyond, in a plea to connect with the more pessimistic and unforgiving students of Loughborough University with the aim of voting in Ed Reckless for Union President next week.

However, these exciting social media campaigns aren’t the only big events occurring this year as Kailey “Rapunzeldene” (Hazeldene) prepares to cut off her shiny golden locks for The Little Princess Trust, as well as shaving part in order to maximise the usage of her hair. This is a bold move, scheduled for March 3rd, right in the middle of voting days. This seems to be a very well thought out campaign as Kailey’s use of Rapunzel for her theme ties everything in perfectly for our VP Education candidate and will be proved with her use of video footage soon after.

Are candidates being repetitive by flashmobbing?

Unfortunately, not all candidates are making such bold moves as the regular flashmobs appear to be a recurring theme each year. Yes, they are funny, but perhaps they need a twist to them? Lauren Gough, VP Sport candidate, did a flashmob in the Piazza on Wednesday, an unusual location as many take place in the vast open space in James France. Admittedly, the dance was to the tune of Wannabe by the Spicegirls, drawing the attention of us 90s babies and Spicegirls lovers straight away- so good tune. The nighttime presence of “Small but Mighty Gough” has been strong, with large blue signs visible everywhere. Leoni “De Vil” Seville is also set to do a flashmob (alongside her dalmatians) and has also started offering Pizza prizes for sending in selfies with her campaigning dalmatians. Fellow VP Societies candidate Alex “Obama” Williams has been joining the belly dancing society to meet his potential voters in different ways. This is a nice touch but not something that is likely to get noticed in the bigger picture.

Memorable campaign outfits and themes are a great way to get noticed, how are costumes working this year?

Arguably, the most noticeable costumes this year include James Bowker’s Giant Peach, Max Crawford’s very bright smiley face outfit and Tom Hickson’s Hulk costume. A truly outstanding costume and campaign theme is a strong basis for all candidates to work with as a way to make them stand out from the crowd. This years costume ideas are great and rather unique, but have they really got the edge that something like a big social media campaign can bring? Possibly, yes. Alongside the costumes come the matching team of bright walking t-shirts and huge signs as a very huge ‘look at me!’ style of campaigning. Max Crawford’s black t-shirts are something that is quite unusual, but the large yellow emoticon on the front is something that does inevitably stand out from the crowd. Hickson’s large green hands are something noticeable and amusing, whilst Bowker’s signs are something grabbing peoples’ attention for different, ‘Peachy’ reasons.

Luke ‘Skywalker’ Thomson, another VP Sport candidate, is someone else with an innovative idea- the hoods on the t-shirts are something new, clever and ultimately noticeable. Alongside this, Thomson’s “May the force be with AU” campaign brings in two costumed campaigners including one dressed as Yoda, which is both amusing and eye-catching on nights out and around campus.

Adam Sellers’ “Barmy Army” has seen an introduction of the hand-painted t-shirt, something which is unarguably unique this year but not necessarily the most professional by the Union President candidate. Adam can however be spotted around Loughborough in a rather long, flowing white cape, rather suited to his height whilst his campaigners bang on buckets as part of his somewhat rowdy “Barmy Army” campaign theme.

Costumes by Welfare candidates Steph “Snow-ble” Noble and Gemma “Little Miss” Lomas are again memorable and appear suited to their personalities. They are neither over the top or rowdy which does suit the role of VP Welfare and Diversity as they are rather calm. However, Steph had a surprise event with a new twist- a Bhangra flashmob which showcased dancing diversity alongside lots of noise! Gemma Lomas offered a chance to win a chocolate prize simply for talking to her in James France on Wednesday! This wasn’t the only prize being offered as Jenna “Sherlock” Holmes was randomly giving away a £5 voucher to Orange Tree for liking her Facebook posts on Thursday.

Unique creativity from Charlie:

Charlie “and the Union Factory” Staunton has been producing a unique poem each day to show us all how his campaign has been going, utilising his creative skills as a Drama Finalist running for VP Finance. His Golden Ticket idea fits perfectly with the idea of the end prize being a job on the Executive Committee and the overall campaign bounces very nicely off of Bowker’s fellow Roald Dahl “James and the Giant Peach” campaign in what Sophie Farley (current VP Societies) deemed a chance to introduce a “battle of the writers”.

Not everyone can be a hard-core campaigner…

Sadly, not everyone’s campaigns are this forward, obvious or even at all present on social media. VP College candidate, who was uncontested, had no posters and no presence on social media. Elisei Ghiorghita has now withdrawn his application.

Social media madness from Rag Rag Rag!

In contrast to this, the three VP Rag candidates have a large social media presence, clear costumes and what appear to be strong campaign teams. Robyn “Hood” Varley’s team were still out at Hey Ewe without her following a ban, whilst many people with lion face paint were dancing around Room One for Rachael “Lionheart” Lynch. Rachael is choosing the ‘person who made her day’ after each day of campaigning. All ‘winners’ will then be entered into a draw to win a special (currently unknown) prize. Andy Tribe’s social media presence is also strong and his set of orange t-shirts stand out perfectly in a crowd. However, we are yet to see any huge publicity stunts from the Rag candidates, but perhaps they have something in store for us over the next few days..?

Do eye- catching campaigns enhance presence? 

VP Action candidate, Rosie Harvey ‘The Girl on Fire’, has been catching the attention of passers by in her skin tight one piece lyrca Katniss Everdeen style outfit teamed with plaited hair. Her ‘hidden arrows’ around campus sought to get students involved with her campaign by sending a photo in if you were to spot one. I have seen a few photos around as well as a new hashtag on twitter, prompting people to share their volunteering experiences.

Finally, last but by no means least is our current VP Media, Bryn ‘Burgundy’ Wilkes, running to be re-elected. His very bright suit and large bordered photos are quite different to other candidates small logos, but work to enhance the media theme in his campaign. RON is an ever-present figure on social media; particularly on twitter, and so it remains to see who can make the strongest presence in order to get the votes next week.

Overall, all candidates appear to be having a great time campaigning and are filling all students up with sufficient amounts of sweets en route to lectures each day. Whether it be Bryn’s bonbons or Holmes’ Haribos, I’m sure you’ll agree that the extra little sugar rush is great for an early morning lecture. More flashmobs and more exciting campaign stunts are inevitably upon us over the next few days- so keep an eye out for that extra special, unique something.

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About Author

This is Katie’s third year involved with LSU Media. Last year she was Label Features Editor and LSU Media Head of News (Content Coordinator). As Label Editor, Katie sits on Senate and also plans on increasing Label’s readership, quality and connections with the other sections of LSU Media. Katie was awarded three LSU Media awards at the end of last year for her work with Label, Features and News.

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