Aha! Star Power Helps Labour Party Storm Ahead Of Tories In Online Ad Battle

Today’s UK General Election looks likely to deliver one of the most indecisive results in UK political history. The battle for Number 10 Downing Street has left even the much-lauded US electoral statistician Nate Silver flummoxed.

But those of you looking for some certainties from the 2015 UK General Election should look no further than the Unruly Viral Video Chart and the hotly-contested online ads battle. Look at the most shared political ads from the election and one trend is in no doubt: if you want to make a successful political ad, forget about using politicians.

Hillary Clinton knew this when she launched her bid to become the next President of the United States, with the former Secretary of State barely featuring in her announcement video “Getting Started – and it looks like UK politicians are taking note.

A quick look through the most shared election ads and you are just as likely to see a famous celebrity campaigning for their favourite party than a party leader. While simply inserting a celebrity into your video doesn’t normally drive sharing, political ads appear to be the exception.  One particular famous comedian and actor has played a huge role in swinging momentum back towards Labour over the final days of the election cycle – Steve Coogan.

The comedian and actor – best known for playing Alan Partridge – fronts a video in which he spells out the reasons why he will be voting for Ed Miliband’s party today. In just three days since its launch, the ad is already the fourth most shared ad of the election and has helped give Labour almost half (45%) of the total ad shares in this crucial period.

Total number of ad shares – last 7 days

shate of voice shares last week

It’s not the first time Labour has used star power to turn the tide on the Tories’ early ad dominance online.

Back in March, an ad fronted by The Office and Sherlock actor Martin Freeman reversed early Tory online dominance, while fellow stars Eddie Izzard, Jo Brand, Ronnie O’Sullivan and, rather infamously, Russell Brand, have also backed Labour over the last few weeks.

Meanwhile, despite dominating in the early stages of the election cycle, the Conservative Party has run out of  steam. Relying heavily on re-edited coverage of the TV debates and negative messaging, Tory ad campaigns have attracted only 20.8% over the last seven days and 24.6% over the last 30 days. Another early pacesetter, the Scottish National Party, has also seen its share of voice drop significantly in recent weeks.

Total number of online ad shares  – last 30 days

Share of voice shares

With three videos in the top 10 over the last seven days, UKIP has gained significant ground this week, pushing the right wing party’s share of voice to 19.4% over the last seven days and 15.1% over the last 30 days, while the Greens also made great strides this month, attracting 20.2% of the total shares of the last 30 days, thanks almost entirely to its musical parody “Change The Tune” (another ad to not feature a politician) – by far the most shared ad from any UK political party this year.

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