Mia Mottley became Barbados' first female Prime Minister on the back of a massive swing election. The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) handed the incumbent Democratic Labour Party (DLP) a devastating election loss. For the first time, the BLP will go into government with no sitting opposition having delivered a 30 - 0 election win. The outgoing Prime Minister announced elections on April the 26th with nomination day for candidates on May 4th and the actual vote taking place on May 24th.
We examined the pattern of traditional advertising employed by the election parties, tracking traditional radio and press ads between May 1 and May 22. (A couple of caveats about our data: For broadcast media, we tracked only pre-recorded ads, known as spot ads. Live reads or long form public announcement type placements are not included in our data. Also, CBC-TV carried no spot-type political ads during the period.)
Looking at the overall advertising campaigns we see an advantage for the Barbados Labour Party (BLP), with 56% of the total estimated expenditures on political advertising. The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) accounted for 41% of the estimated spend. New kids on the block Solutions Barbados (SB) made up the remaining 3%.
Overall Total Spend (Rate Card) by Party and Media Type
DLP abandons radio mid-campaign.
We see a divergence in media tactics between the two main parties on radio. The BLP recorded an advantage over the DLP in radio share. This advantage was due to the DLP ceding the airwaves to the BLP about 2 weeks into the campaign. May 17 is the last time we see radio spot ads on air from the DLP, a whole week before the election date. Looking at the data by date we see the two parties investing roughly the same resources into radio advertising at the start of the campaign, but then on May 14th the DLP seems to make a strategic decision to basically stop running pre-recorded ads.
Share of Radio by Party Over Time.
What happened to CBC TV?
Political strategies, as evidenced in the data from this campaign, appear to be shining a spotlight on the growing influence of digital video. We did not record any traditional TV Spots on CBC TV Ch 8, Barbados’ only local TV station, across this election campaign. This happened while both parties invested heavily in Digital Video. Online we see lots of examples of video content produced by all the parties, from live streaming of campaign events to small videos designed for social impact, with all parties driving their video content through their own Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. Looking back to the last election campaign, CBC TV was showing signs of weakness versus the other traditional media outlets even then. But the results from the 2018 analysis are still shocking.
Parties were all over online with Digital Video.
DLP Drives Message with Press
In tracking newspaper advertisements, we recorded ads in the Nation, the Advocate and the hybrid 'online' newspaper of Barbados Today. We see a clear winner when we assess investment. The DLP invested 170% more than the BLP in capturing the attention of readers with their message. This was, by far, the DLP's biggest investment during their traditional media campaign. The DLP’s media investment split saw 79% go to Newspapers. This concentration of spend allowed them to invest more than the BLP in Newspapers.
Data points to more questions than answers?
Relative to the 2013 Election Campaign traditional media investment is down significantly. Was this caused by a reduction in campaign budgets or the rise of online spending? Could the shift of spend mid-campaign by the DLP be a result of a stretched media budget that caused the DLP to prioritize press over radio? Or was this a strategic shifting of resources from radio to online? Was the lack of TV ads a decision forced by budget constraints or a strategic move by the parties? These are just some of the interesting questions we find ourselves pondering as we analyse the data. The bigger question that we are now grappling with is: “Did any of this affect the BLP’s historic win?”
Media InSite is there to give you a much more complete and useable picture of your advertising landscape than ever before. With our services and reports, you get an independent assessment of your entire market, and we can show you exactly how your advertising, and your competitors’ advertising, actually ran.Media InSite is an independent, Port of Spain-based advertising data service specializing in competitor intelligence and ad placement auditing for brand managers, ad agencies, and media houses. Operating since 2011, the company records and indexes advertising content in Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago.
Statistics in this report are based on information from our proprietary digital system that logs all instances of pre-recorded spot advertising on monitored radio, TV, and cable channels along with staff-indexed newspaper display advertising content.
Sales and Marketing Executive
Media InSite Ltd.