The Switch to Hunt

Ballots for the Conservative Party leadership have started to arrive in members’ mailboxes and Jeremy Hunt’s team are a running an ad campaign which encourages the electorate to #SwitchtoHunt.

The ad campaign does a good job of trying to communicate a sense of momentum building behind the Hunt campaign; the body copy says “you’ve heard it, we’ve heard it – the switch to Hunt is real and picking up pace”.

This strategic approach is one derived from a behavioural economic theory known as ‘herding’; campaigners believe that they can get an audience to decide to act in a particular way by implying that other people act in that way too.

One of Hunt’s Facebook adverts encouraging members to switch allegiances from Boris Johnson

The Facebook ad campaign features a series of animated graphic videos of Conservative members from different demographics who have decided to switch to supporting Hunt for various reasons.

Given the ‘herding’ strategy, the creative execution of using people from various demographics and perspectives is smart; people are more likely to crowd towards people who they feel are similar to them in some way.

There are some people who work in political campaigning who believe that you should never acknowledge your opposition; giving your opponent any airtime – the theory goes – is a waste, as it’s time that could be spent talking about your own ideas.

This might be true if you’re leading comfortably, but if – as is the case with Hunt – you’re running from a challenger position and you need to find a way to disrupt the dynamic, acknowledging the mindset of people you need to persuade can be a sensible approach.

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