Americanisation of Media Campaigns by British Political Parties

Today political parties do not believe in such activities as neighborhood canvassing and rallies that brought them in direct contact with the electorate but devote more attention to campaigning through the media. Television has become the most important source of political information and also the most important battleground. In Britain’s increased use of television, reliance on modern communication methods, like public relations consultants, advertising agencies, pollsters for election campaigns have led to the Americanisation of media campaigns. The techniques used for campaigning are almost similar to consumer product marketing techniques.The American form of media-centered, personalized election campaigning is becoming common all over the world including Britain. Britain even though it is a European country its party system and culture has more in common with the United States than other European countries. The 1997 election campaign and strategy reflect American influence and it is apparent that many strategies and tactics were taken from the 1992 Clinton campaign. In Britain, newspapers still influence and shape the daily political agenda, but it is the television and the radio, which is most likely to influence the electorate to choose their political leaders and parties. In recent times websites too have started to have an impact. In the last general elections in May 2005 the Internet was one of the main sources of information for the younger generation. The use of weblogs where voters can participate and express themselves, again a phenomenon borrowed from America, is being used more and more. In Britain what we see today is Political Marketing again a practice prevalent in America. Political Marketing is the use of focus groups and polls to study the mood of the electorate and also to study the impact of political communication.In Britain the press is free and there are important safeguards for broadcasters.