1000heads: The 'word of mouth' election

Our word of mouth spider sense started tingling this morning when we came across this article from Labour Matters.

“Gordon Brown MP, Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party, and Sarah Brown, were joined by Cabinet colleagues today to personally canvass voters, up and down the country, by phone from Labour’s head office in London, as part of a mass canvass with thousands of supporters on the doorstep as well.

Labour’s “word of mouth” election campaign has seen thousands of activists spreading the word on the doorstep, by phone and through Labour’s cutting-edge virtual phone bank and iPhone App.

Both Gordon and Sarah Brown, plus several Cabinet Ministers, got to work on the phone bank and asked for people’s support at the ballot box, direct and down the line.

They called unscreened voters, listened to their views and explained Labour’s five pledges for a Future Fair For All – a Britain in which no one is left behind and everyone has the opportunity to fulfil their talent and share in future prosperity.”

We don’t think this qualifies as word of mouth.

At all.

In fact to us, this is broadcast in its purest sense; (cold) calling people and explaining pledges with one breath and with the next asking and soliciting support for the party in question. This really doesn’t qualify as word of mouth. Not in our book.

The piece continues with this quote from Harriet Harman:

“This is a word of mouth election, won by people not posters, and Labour is determined to make sure this is a grass roots election campaign, direct and authentic from start to finish.

“That’s why thousands of activists up and down the country are spreading the word on the doorstep and on the phone to warn that the Tories would wreck our economic recovery and leave families to sink or swim in tough times.

This isn’t conversation. This is bringing those very posters to the doorsteps of the nation and whether it will work or not remains to be seen.
But one thing’s for sure – this isn’t how you start meaningful, long-term relationships with advocates or detractors. This is as close to old-school, scatter-gun marketing & advertising as it gets.
Will it work? I doubt it. Is it conversational? Not really.


“During the phone canvass, Gordon Brown was told that the Party had made its 1,000,000th face to face relationship since Jan 1 2010.”

With respect Labour Matters, but… I’m not even sure what this means.

If you’re not registered to vote, do so now.

Pass it on.