Major parties trial humour in final weeks of chaotic election campaign

Less than two weeks until the chaos that has been the 2022 Federal Election Campaign culminates on Election Day (Saturday 21 May) and politicians and voters alike are anxiously awaiting a quick, and hopefully painless, end to what has been widely regarded as one of the most important elections of a generation.

In the first weeks of the campaign trail, Mumbrella took a look at the early advertising and communications strategy adopted by some of the major parties, and last week we asked creative and strategy leaders to weigh in for our Campaign Review Election Special.

Now, as the election advertising blackout period creeps closer, Mumbrella sought out some of the latest campaign work being broadcast by each party, as they clamber to cross the finish line with the favours of the Australian public, or, the least amount of spite.

Australian Labor Party

In recent weeks the ALP have made a real push on the social media front, with several of their memes and social-led videos experiencing some level of ‘virality’ amongst young Australian social media users. The volume of content available on the party’s platforms makes sense given their strong lead in social ad spend so far compared to the other parties (as of  23 April).

A video created for the party’s TikTok account, featuring clips of Real Housewives of Melbourne star Gina Liano was uploaded to the ALP’s Twitter account, where it received 94 retweets. In the video, clips of Liano are repurposed to the context of  inconsistency policy lines spruiked by Scott Morrison. The video was also reposted by a number of accounts, making it difficult to know the actual reach of the spoof.

In another spot shared across ALP’s digital platforms, an iceberg lettuce takes centre screen. The voice over asks, “Seen the price of a lettuce lately? Not a fancy pants mignonette one, an iceberg…”, as an add to cart box drops into view, labelling the lettuce at $5 a piece. “Morrison says things are great, we’re doing fine” continues the voiceover, “Has he been to the shops lately?”. The spot ends on a press conference clip of the Liberal Party leader stating ‘that’s not my job’.

Australian Greens

While the Green’s party have been relatively quiet on traditional advertising channels, with a much smaller total ad spend compared to the ALP, Liberals and United Australia Party, they have kept up a consistent presence on social media, where much of their demographic spend a lot of time.

Taking a slightly different approach from the ALP and Liberal Party, the vast majority of the content shared online by the Greens is focused on their own policy lines, with notably less ‘attack’ style sentiments against their opposition.


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A post shared by Australian Greens (@australiangreens)

As well as posting stylised and easily shareable edits summarising key policy lines, the party’s social feeds are also filled with reposted content from Greens candidates, supporters and the press.

One long spot that did the rounds on social media was a video shared by the party to their YouTube channel two weeks ago in response to media criticism.

The two minute video makes an attempt at a humorous response to media and opposition attacks directed at the party’s policy’s, depicting Greens party members gathering in a ‘crisis’ meeting to combat the criticism, listing out attack headlines on a whiteboard. Ironically, each of the headlines are not offensive to the members, and do well at summarising some of the party’s key policy platforms. Whether the comedic angle hits home, is a question for the reader.


The Liberal Party of Australia

One of the more notable campaigns of the last few weeks was the Liberal Party’s Avengers spoof, the ‘Amateurs’. In what is no doubt an appeal to the younger voting cohort, the 62 second spot takes campaign drama to a new level with an sci-fi action style trailer, featuring montaged outtakes of Anthony Albanese and a number of ALP front benchers under a voiceover reminiscent of early 2000s movie trailers.

“There was an idea to bring together a group of inexperienced people to see if they could become something… anything,” the voice over begins. “This May get ready for…” the voice over continues, listing out a number of Liberal Party lines against the ALP and ending on the spots title placed on a logo eerily similar to that of the Avengers.

The spot also contains several ‘Easter eggs’ in the opening seconds, rated R for ‘risky’, produced by ‘no plan productions’, with a review screen in the second half of the spot depicting five star reviews from the ABC and the Guardian, with a half star review from the ‘Australian people’.

Another shorter spot, which has aired recently on free-to-air television, reworks childhood nursery rhyme ‘There’s a whole in the bucket’, into an attack against the ALP’s budget.

‘There’s a hole in your budget, dear Labor’ is sung over an image of a rusted bucket that is leaking out gold coins as they fall from the sky. The bucket is labelled with the Labor logo. A voice over cuts off the melody to announce that ‘Labor hasn’t balanced a budget in over 30 years’, and adds a number of other points against the party’s economic management. The melody picks back up towards the end of the spot adding that ‘More taxes are coming, more taxes, more taxes, there’s a hole in your budget, dear Labor, a hole’, before ended on the Liberal slogan ‘it won’t be easy under Albanese’.

The National Party of Australia

The National’s have had a more paired back advertising presence during this election, and with nothing new posted to the party’s YouTube account in nearly a month, it is difficult to what, if any, ads are currently running for their campaign.

The party does, however, have a consistent presence on its social media platforms, if not quite as prolific as the other parties.  Online, the Nationals have taken more of a serious tone than the other parties, primarily reposting news clips and sharing polished campaign poster style images. Some of these simply put forward National’s policy, while others take more of an attack approach against their opposition. These negative posts are primarily directed at Labor, reinforcing the party’s ‘don’t risk Labor’ line.

The party has taken a similar stance against independents, stating that independents are inexperienced and pose another risk for Australian voters.

United Australia Party

The UAP’s campaign material has continued to be prolific, with the party pitting itself against the major parties in their selection of prime time TV spots and front page newspaper banners. The amount of advertising spots posted to the party’s YouTube account significantly outnumbers that of the other parties, in a content push that is unsurprising given the UAP’s continued dominance in overall political ad spend throughout the duration of the campaign.

In the last day alone, the UAP has shared seven new ads ranging from 15 seconds to one minute and 35 seconds on its YouTube account, amongst other content. In one 30 second spot, party leader Clive Palmer speaks direct to camera, listing off a number of seats in which the UAP believes the ALP and Liberal Party are ‘swapping preferences against the United Australia Party’. The spot then depicts two identical male figures differentiated only by symbols of their respective major parties, as Palmer continues ‘the best way to vote Liberal is to vote Labor and the best way to vote Labor is to vote Liberal, they’re all the same’. The sentiment is reiterated over several other spots shared to the account in the past several days.

The party has also pushed for a dominant presence across the nation’s print media, as the only party to have advertised in the metropolitan press according to recent ad spend figures, and the biggest spender across regional press as well. In one full page ad taken out by the party, Federal Member for Hughes, Craig Kelly, is positioned as the future Prime Minister of Australia. The ad spread leverages the UAP’s ‘save your home’ platform, stating that the party will keep the maximum home loan rate below 3% for 5 years if elected.

For more election campaign content take a listen to this week’s Mumbrellacast for some analysis on the ALP and Liberal Party’s hero campaign spots from the Mumbrella team and Thinkerbell’s Adam Ferrier.


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