The British have a notion of political marketing as something done simply at election time and even then grudgingly. Political rhetoric is often exclusive rather than inclusive — ameliorative perhaps for those it aims at, but infuriating to those it does not. But Britain is as yet far from intending that marketing should be part of its political culture. The parties spent £6.15 million, a diminutive sum by America’s standards, on local communication in 1983; according to R.J. Johnson it did influence the way some people voted.1 The British notion of governing is an administrative and not a communications one, and what has already been done seems primitive by the standards of America’s campaigns: indeed, it gives to elections a rather seedy aura. But many American methods would be unsuited to British conditions, for America is a ‘sell’ culture, a sustained act of promotion, and hucksterism is not merely a means but a social value.
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- A Licence to Export: The Spread of Political Marketing Methods to Britain
Nicholas J. O’Shaughnessy
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