Ad spend could decide Braddon byelection: marketing expert

The outcome of the Braddon byelection will potentially hinge on the advertising spend of the major parties, according to a marketing expert.

Sparked by former Braddon Labor MHR Justine Keay’s resignation over citizenship concerns, the byelection will be fought between Ms Keay and former state and federal Liberal MP Brett Whiteley.

A date for the byelection is yet to be set, with some sources speculating it will be held in June and others in July.


University of Tasmania marketing lecturer Louise Grimmer said both major parties had an “uphill battle” on their hands in terms of winning the seat.

“Both candidates have good name recognition and so it may come down to the level of advertising and promotion that each party runs and we saw the results of the Liberals’ incredibly sophisticated and costly marketing campaign during the state election,” Dr Grimmer said.

“In marketing, brand recognition is the key, and this concept works in political branding as well.”

She noted that Mr Whiteley had lost his seat at the 2010 state election and the 2016 federal election – but Dr Grimmer said the Liberal candidate had had two years to reconnect with the electorate that twice dumped him – most recently in favour of Ms Keay.

“Brett Whiteley’s name is well-known in the electorate and often just name recognition is enough to get a candidate over the line,” she said.

“This is why we see failed candidates running year after year, or running in other jurisdictions.

“Many candidates are elected often after years of putting themselves forward in the electorate.”

Dr Grimmer pointed to new Prosser Liberal MLC Jane Howlett as an example of someone who was finally successful after running in numerous elections.

She said while Mr Whiteley would have to overcome his track record of losing elections, Ms Keay would have to fight to convince Braddon voters that she deserved another chance after becoming embroiled in the citizenship debacle.

Public relations guru Mark Thomas said Opposition Leader Bill Shorten needed to visit the electorate during the byelection, despite his lack of personal popularity.

“It’s too positive an opportunity to talk about Labor’s potential North-West focus and Tasmanian package overall to miss,” Mr Thomas said.

This story Ad spend could decide Braddon byelection: marketing expert first appeared on The Advocate.