The Ukip advertising campaign ahead of the European elections prompted a media frenzy over claims of racism, but with the electorate it unarguably hit the spot.
Ukip’s election campaign saw the anti-EU party deliver an “historic” Euro win in the parliamentary elections. Even in Scotland – where party leader Nigel Farage was famously chased out of a pub in Edinburgh by protesters – the party is expected to secure a European parliamentary seat for the first time, much to the dismay of the Scottish National Party, which focused a considerable amount of its own strategy on the idea of a ‘no-Ukip Scotland’.
That Ukip’s election strategy was underpinned by the party’s biggest advertising push so far - funded to the tune of £1.5m by Yorkshire businessman Paul Sykes, a 70-year-old multimillionaire – is no small point. Edinburgh-based creative agency Family was brought on board to create a campaign which was to cause a media stir, courting much publicity for it in the process.
Ukip also used its social media channels to drive publicity and hype around the campaign. Farage’s own account has 137,000 followers and the face of Ukip’s tweets featuring campaign creative drove far more interaction than other material on his feed.
At the time of writing, social analytics firm BirdSong found that Ukip are the second most popular political party on Facebook, edging out Labour by a few hundred fans. Ukip's engagement rate is 87 per cent, meaning "they have the largest and most switched on fan based". By contrast, the Conservative engagement rate is nine per cent.
"In short, UKIP are engaging on social where the others are not," said BirdSong CEO Jamie Riddell.
The party’s billboard posters focused on the hardship of British workers, which Ukip blamed on the country’s relationship with Europe. Slogans included “Who really runs this country? 75% [sic] of our laws are now made in Brussels” and “26 million people in Europe are looking for work. And whose jobs are they after?”.