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GENERAL ELECTION 2024: Good and bad PR

Content Creation
by Chloe Presland
Published on
Polling station

Today’s the big day! It’s the Genny Lecky! 

Since Rishi Sunak’s election announcement just a few short weeks ago, UK political party leaders have been in front of the media far more than usual as they rush to get voters on side. 

But with the Guernsey election coming up next year, we thought we would run you through some of the highs and the lows of the campaign trail so far, showing you what has worked (and what hasn’t) and sharing some top tips for Guernsey’s prospective politicians. 




This may seem like an obvious one, but it was Rishi Sunak’s ‘Labour are increasing taxes by £2,000’ claim that the first head-to-head debate has come to be known by. Despite unwavering confidence in his statement, it was refuted by Labour, the media and Sunak’s fellow party members. There’s no doubt that Sunak and his team know the media love a striking figure or statistic, but has this slip up has dented his credibility? We’ll find out at the polls! 



This is something that the Conservatives are traditionally known for being good at. They know the type of people who are likely to vote for them, where they live and how to engage with them. But in an effort to compete with Labour’s recently launched election-driven Tik Tok account, the Tories launched their own. A predominately young and left-leaning user base meant this was always going to be a challenge. Add in the fact that one of Sunak’s main pledges is to introduce mandatory national service from the age of 19 and it’s understandable why those younger TikTokers may feel his party’s efforts to connect with them are disingenuous.  



The smallest detail of your campaign can be seized on by the media and perhaps even come to define the whole campaign; just think about Ed Miliband and bacon sandwiches. This year’s equivalent might have been the Conservatives hosting an election presser at Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. This was almost too easy for the metaphor-loving media, with one journalist asking if Sunak was the ‘captain of a sinking ship’. Similar examples include Sunak announcing the snap election in the pouring rain, fuelling headlines like ‘It only gets wetter’. 

If as part of your campaign you need to engage with the media in-person for any reason, particularly for something potentially contentious, it is key that a lot of time goes into making sure the location is suitable and ready. 




There is a time and a place for stunt activation, but Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey is proving that you really can base a whole campaign around stunts, and make it work. Good coverage is a must in election campaigns, and Davey seems to have cracked the code. So far, he has invited the media to watch him go down a water slide, ride rollercoasters and do an obstacle course. While some could argue it conveys a lack of maturity, or a sign he doesn’t take his party seriously, no one can deny that he has brought the Liberal Democrat party back into the spotlight. With the biggest portion of Lib Dem voters estimated to be between 18 and 24, Davey has established his audience, and is playing to the youthful approach to politics that many seem to appreciate. 


Some of us thought we had seen the last of Nigel Farage, but two weeks after the snap election announcement, the former UKIP leader announced he would be standing in Clacton as the leader of Reform UK. Farage is bold and unapologetic in his politics and announcing his candidacy later than the initial flurry proved again that he knows his way around the media. As such a disruptive candidate, known by many as a household name, Farage’s candidacy really rocked the boat. 


It’s also worth mentioning that on his first day of campaigning, Nigel Farage did have a milkshake thrown over him. But true to form he responded by appearing in front of the Reform UK bus, holding a McDonald’s milkshake, saying “My milkshake brings all the people to the rally.” The message here is to be bold, ready to adapt and always take ownership of what you’re communicating.  



Unlike the Tories’ TikTok account, Labour seems to have found their crowd and are playing to it well. The page isn’t flooded with videos of Keir Starmer, but instead hosts funny memes and videos which a lot of the younger generation will understand and identify with. Some of the videos have upwards of one million views, like this one – which makes light of Sunak’s vastly unpopular pledge to introduce national service in the UK. 

Having a PR team which is in touch with social media trends is one of the most important things in launching a successful social campaign. With 201k followers, vs 62.5k on the Conservatives’ TikTok page, the numbers speak for themselves. So, should your election campaign make use of TikTok? It all depends on your audience and whether you think you have something to say that they will understand and appreciate on that platform. 

Chloe Presland
Chloe Presland

Account Executive

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