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How Have Campaign Styles Changed Over The Years?

Heebah Kashif, Grade 11

A few weeks back, every news station that you turned on, every yard sign outside, every Instagram post you saw, and every poster posted up throughout your neighborhood were all about the approaching election and the representatives running for each party. Even while you're at home, you'll hear a knock on the door, and little do you know, it's your local MP with posters advertising his party. You may even receive phone calls and text messages from leaders of other parties attempting to persuade you to vote for them. That's election campaigns for you, friends! But did you know it wasn't always this way?

Historically, political campaign advertising techniques relied on attempted methods of voter turnout, such as large buys on news television, automated phoning, and direct mail. Looking back to 1867, Canada's first election, there was a need for citizens to vote, as well as measures to educate and raise awareness about the following topic. Because apps like Facebook and Twitter were not available, politicians were unable to tweet or post about their ideas, therefore posters and broadsheets were utilized to publicize the forthcoming election. Many of these posters were negative advertising and were intended to target leaders.

These negative campaign posters made their way into television advertising over time. Politicians and corporations exploited technology to promote their political party as soon as it became available in society. Millions of dollars were spent by the major political parties on developing and spreading political advertisements. In the 2015 Federal Election, advertisements were the most prevalent. The Conservative’s "Just Not Ready" campaign began, while the Liberal’s "Choose Forward" campaign went underway. The Conservative's "Just Not Ready" advertising featuring Justin Trudeau was very well known to Canadians.

It portrayed a group sitting around a table performing a mock performance evaluation of Trudeau's file. The performers stated that Trudeau lacks the necessary skills to be Prime Minister. And when I say these advertisements were all over the media, I mean it.

Furthermore, political parties began putting up election signs on the streets to stay up with one another and develop enthusiasm. We've all seen them, especially in the recent election: plenty of red and blue yard banners featuring men's faces up outside of houses and businesses. Another clever strategy used by certain Canadian politicians is to take advantage of schools, places of worship, and vigils to spread their message. For example, in Milton, you may have seen Adam van Koeverden at events such as Pakistan Independence Day, protests, and fundraisers. This is a fantastic technique to appear kind and accepting to residents even if you are not.

Looking ahead to 2021, as technology, particularly social media, has advanced, some party representatives have employed increasingly creative tactics. This is done through Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. If you open Instagram right now and search for some of your local legislators, you will discover that they all have an account. Many of them use Instagram and Twitter to reach out to their younger audiences, posting about current events and information about their ideas and principles.

Speaking of younger audiences, TikTok is a recent addition to politicians' list of targeting younger audiences. The following app was released in 2016 and has quickly risen to become one of the most popular and trending social networking networks. If you have TikTok, you may have noticed NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and his brother Gurratan Singh participating in some of the recent trends on your FYP. One of his TikTok videos became viral, garnering over 100k views. The video featured him following a popular TikTok trend while impelling his political views by pointing at the screen with text stating what he's "in for" this election. Furthermore, he has over 730k Instagram followers, demonstrating how the campaign has evolved and how effective it is.

Finally, election campaigning and advertising have evolved significantly over the years, from posters depicting opponents being attacked by politicians, to leaders dancing on TikTok.

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