Perceptions of Negative Political Advertising: Meaningful or Menacing?

An empirical study of the 1997 British General Election Campaign

Janine Dermody
Richard Scullion

Marketing-led Political Campaigning

The result of the 1997 General Election was dramatic. As a political phenomenon it produced the biggest swing from one party to another for over 50 years. From a marketing perspective it represented a massive upheaval in consumer behaviour patterns with many brand loyalists switching directly to their former brands main rival. The top line results for the main parties 1992 and 1997 election performances are shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Voting patterns (profile)





General Election 1992 43 35 18 4
Opinion poll March 1997 29 54 11 6
General Election 1997 31 44 17 8
Source: Butler and Kavanagh (1997)