REFORMY (218) Party for Sale? (in the CR) X.

4. září 2015 | 06.18 |

Party for Sale? Political Marketing in the Czech Republic in the context of Election to the Chamber of Deputies in 2013 - Part X

Aleš Drahokoupil

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.

Green party (Strana zelených)

Green party was trying to change its perception as single-issue party which is concerned only with "green” topics. The party wanted to take advantage of supporters' involvement and also advertise on social networks.

The target segment included young people from bigger cities, liberal intellectuals and young families. This segment is very active on the Internet, therefore the party focused on this channel.  

KDU-ČSL (Christian Democratic Union – Czech people's party)

For the first time in its history KDU-ČSL went to the election not holding any seats in the Chamber of Deputies; this allowed the party to present itself as an alternative to the existing parliamentary parties under the campaign slogan "We'll Put the Country Right”. The party also ran on its traditional themes of a social-market economy and defense of families through tax breaks for parents, as well as two recently controversial topics in the Czech Republic concerning debt repossessions and food quality. They made frequent reference to Germany and the recent electoral success of CDU-CSU (Gregor, Macková, 2014).

The party presented itself as a calm power in opposition to unpopular right wing parties and new untried – and therefore unpredictable – parties and movements. For the party to get over 5 % of votes and to get to the parliament, it was enough to target their traditional segment of voters.

Party's traditional target segment are inhabitants of rural areas and young families with children. Young mothers were targeted through advertisement in women magazines and topical web pages. 

ODS (Civic Democratic Party)

After the resignation of Petr Nečas, ODS had to deal with the problem of finding a new chairman. The result was a somewhat schizophrenic situation, where Miroslava Němcová became the campaign leader, but Martin Kuba, minister of industry and trade in the Nečas government, was elected as party chairman. ODS sought to present itself as the only authentic right-wing party (the party's main slogan was "I Vote Right”, which was featured in a number of somewhat inept rhymes on the party's billboards, web pages, and Twitter. However, it failed to find a theme that would give its campaign a clear direction. Party's professed conservatism seemed less than fully believable given the ODS's policies as the head of previous government. A few days before the election the party came out with ambiguous slogan "Middle Class, Defend Yourself!”, which also received little positive response (Gregor, Macková, 2014).

After big scandals of party's previous Prime Minister Petr Nečas, the party was trying to avoid catastrophe. They were focusing on restoring traditional right wing voters' faith in its brand.

The party did not run any big research and worked only with data from publicly available opinion polls and focus groups. 


ÚSVIT (Tomio Okamura's Dawn of Direct Democracy)

ÚSVIT's chairman Tomio Okamura ran an anti-establishment campaign calling for a major strengthening of direct democracy (including "general referenda with nothing excluded”). Okamura, a businessman and senator of Czech-Japanese origin, founded the movement just a few months before the elections. The group had strong anti-immigrant and anti-Gypsy rhetoric (Gregor, Macková, 2014).

Úsvit's main strategy was to capitalize on popularity of its leader Tomio Okamura. Main agenda included popular topics of system improvements and issues of direct democracy. Their campaign was focused on low budget activities like face-to-face meetings with voters and TV debates. 

Already in spring 2013, Úsvit ran opinion polls and market segmentation. Movement's target segment included older protest voters from smaller towns, which were unhappy with current politics.

(to be continued)

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