Election campaigns need the large followings of YouTube stars “more than ever” to reach young swing voters, according to a leading Australian political strategist who served as Kevin Rudd’s former chief of staff.
Hawker Britton managing director Simon Banks said it’s crucial in the changing digital environment that political campaigns turn to new methods to interact with young, undecided voters.
“This is clearly a technique that holds some promise,” Banks said, when asked about the recent move to include viral YouTube star ‘TheFriendlyJordies’ in a paid video sponsored by the Australian Council of Trade Unions.
“It’s now more important than ever in this changing environment that they [political parties] are testing out what works.”
Mr Banks said while there’s no evidence of this strategy being successful in any campaign, you could only judge a “campaign in hindsight”.
“In a general sense, I welcome experimentation by organisations to try and reach out to voters in different ways,” he said.
“So I think you’re going to be seeing more and more of this type of campaigning over time.”
A source close to the ACTU project told BuzzFeed they were delighted with the result.
“The Friendlyjordies reach a target audience that is hard to get to: young men under 35, often with low levels of enrolment,” the source told BuzzFeed Australia.
“It was compelling. It seems to be going really well.”
The viral YouTuber last night released a new video that took aim at the Coalition’s contentious ‘internship’ program released in the May federal budget.
The satirical video – free of any political endorsement – has more than 25,000 views on YouTube and over 2000 likes on Facebook.
Mr Banks said the figures can be used to measure the effectiveness of digital strategies.
“The beauty of data and analytics now available to us is that not only can you use that to help inform these campaigns as you design them, but you can monitor them as they’re being implemented,” he said.