The Conservative Party: Winning the benefit of the doubt
In 2015 communications helped the Conservatives secure an unexpected General Election victory. This paper demonstrates the marginal effect paid-for advertising achieved in key swing constituencies over and above the ubiquitous election coverage in the media at the time. It describes a strategy of aiming at 'sway voters' - namely those considering voting UKIP or Lib Dem rather than the main two parties - and trying to persuade them to vote Conservative by communicating that if they did not do so, the result could be a minority Labour government reliant on SNP support. It sets out the evidence for the contribution that communications which portrayed a potential Labour-SNP alliance in a negative light had on the final result. The case argues that the outcome represented an effective and reasonable deployment of the Conservative party's financial and other resources.In 2015, The Conservatives secured an unexpected Election victory. This paper outlines how communications earned the benefit of the doubt to help achieve this. Specifically it demonstrates paid-for advertising's marginal contribution in target seats, over and above the omni-channel communications onslaught. Rather than 'swing' Labour supporters, the strategy 'swayed' UKIP, Lib Dem voters and 'don't knows', by evoking the prospect of a minority Labour government 'in SNP's pocket'. Seat by seat analysis shows this swayed sufficient target voters to secure the outright Conservative majority, an outcome representing Reasonable Use of Marketing Assets (RUMA).