Party for Sale? Political Marketing in the Czech Republic in the context of Election to the Chamber of Deputies in 2013 - Part IX
One of the best Diploma´s Thesis defended this academic year belongs to Aleš Drahokoupil. The Thesis was elaborated within the project Specific Research at University of Finance and Administration. It describes very well the social context of "pro-communication” reforms in terms of political marketing tools. Due to the fact, that the work is written in English, it is also available to international readers. I publish several sequels of selected passages within series of reforms.
Jedna z nejlepších diplomových prací obhájená v letošním roce patří Aleši Drahokoupilovi. Byla zpracována v rámci projektu SVV na VŠFS. Velmi dobře popisuje společenský kontext "prokomunikování" reforem z hlediska nástrojů politického marketingu. Vzhledem k tomu, že je v angličtině, je dostupná i zahraničním čtenářům. Uveřejňuji na několik pokračování vybrané pasáže v rámci seriálu o reformách.
TOP 09 tried to capitalize on popularity of its chairman Karel Schwarzenberg, who in January 2013 made it to the second round of presidential elections. During the presidential campaign Schwarzenberg was depicted with a punk Mohawk in an attempt to woo young voters. During the parliamentary election, the party continued in its strategy to criticize Schwarzenberg's successful contestant, country's president Miloš Zeman. In the parliamentary elections, TOP 09 chairman was likened to "Agent 009” saving Czech democracy. The party also focused on touting its accomplishments as part of the Nečas government, and presented itself in contrast with the left-wing parties as a responsible political actor (Gregor, Macková, 2014).
To be able to respond to quickly changing political environment prior to the election, the party ran a snap opinion polls in August 2013. However, party's strategy was based predominantly on detailed market analysis from April 2013. During the campaign, the party measured impact of individual messages and adjusted communication strategies accordingly. The impact was measured over the Internet on a sample of 1000 people.
KSČM (Communist party of Czech and Moravia)
KSČM relied on its disciplined voters; its campaign was among the least expensive, but also the least visible. The Communists focused on criticizing the previous center-right government, promising a number of measures to strengthen the social state (increased minimum wage, minimum retirement benefits), progressive taxation, and a "public commercial bank with guaranteed payback on deposits and an affordable interest rate for borrowing” (Gregor, Macková, 2014).
Party's strategy was to activate its traditionally loyal voter segment which include older people and unemployed. The party also wanted to present itself to undecided voters as left wing alternative with coalition potential.
Most of KSČM's loyal supporters are of older age and spend summer in summer houses. For this reason the party started campaign later than its competitors (Dolejš, 2013).
KSČM was the only party which did not run any public opinion polls. The only external help they used was for graphic editing and printing of advertisement materials. For market analysis they used only publicly available opinion polls and internal polls of party members, which were analyzed by internal sociologists. Some candidates were not very known therefore the party concentrated on promotion of party's brand in general (Dolejš, 203).
SPOZ (The party of citizens' rights – Zemanovci)
The party did not have any strong leader, therefore it was mainly trying to capitalize on popularity of its "honorable leader” president Miloš Zeman. Main topic was petition for the instigation of compulsory property declarations. Petition for this topic and other popular direct democracy issues was signed by over 150,000 people. The party wanted to offer left wing alternative to ČSSD.
Party's target segment included older inhabitants of rural areas and smaller cities (Kruliš, Lipták, 2013). Communication methods were chosen accordingly (telephone hot line and postcards with Zeman).
SPOZ's campaign focused on criticizing previous government and vice-chairman of TOP 09 Miroslav Kalousek in particular. Slogan of one of its billboard campaign read: "We stopped Kalousek”.
(to be continued)