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Why the Women's Equality party hired an ad agency 'to put it out of business'

The Women's Equality Party appoints Quiet Storm as lead strategic and creative agency

The Women’s Equality party (WE) recently appointed Quiet Storm as lead strategic and creative agency to build awareness of the group in a political climate where people are becoming increasingly disengaged with party politics.

On the heels of a win in local elections, which saw WE pick up its first seat, the party is now preparing to invest more in advertising to help it prepare for the May 2020 London mayoral race, where it will have famed computer scientist Dr Sue Black standing, and win its first Greater London Assembly seat.

“Some people have become very engaged in politics and it’s been very polarising. And some people becoming increasingly disengaged and disenchanted so it makes it a very interesting challenge to communicate but it's also a very interesting opportunity for newer and smaller political parties,” said WE’s head of campaigns Cath Smith.

Set up in the UK in 2015, WE is a feminist party founded by Catherine Mayer and Sandi Toksvig on the belief that old party politics were no longer working. Its objectives include equal pay, equal parenting, equal representation in politics and business and ending violence against women.

The party's remit doesn't look beyond equality and its ultimate goal is to have itself "put out of business."

“In an ideal world, we would want not to have to exist [in 10 years],” Smith said. “By that point, we hope to have influenced the political debates that we’re no longer needed.”

WE is also unusual in its ability to involve people who've never been interested in politics previously. "80% of our members have never been in a political party before, and the majority of our candidates have never been political candidates before," Smith said.

It's relatively rapid success at carving out a place in a chaotic political scene was bolstered by work from another creative agency, Now, which handled its advertising on a pro-bono basis.

“We did some incredibly challenging and important work with them," Smith said, including a campaign that won a Drum Out of Home award.

For example, to create awareness for a Women’s Equality party candidate that was running for Liverpool Metro Mayor, the ad pushed the fact that £23.7bn could be added to the North-West Economy annually if women could work the hours they wanted to, at the same rate of pay as men. The solution was an image of a purse that resembled a vagina.

Though WE’s advertising has become synonymous with brave, daring campaigning that doesn't hold back, its advertising goals are now more ambitious.

"We've gone through our start-up stage. We've just won our first seat, with Kay Wesley the first councillor to be elected to Congleton Town Council,” continued Smith.

The party is currently preparing for the May 2020 London mayoral race and aiming to win its first GLA seats in the same electoral round. So, the work will shift to campaigning for that seat but simultaneously aim to grow the party as “an electoral force”.

"It's a hard act to follow," Quiet Storm’s chief exec Rania Robinson said of Now's outstanding work for WE.

"From our perspective, we want to bring some of the brand planning experience and treat women's equality party as we would treat a brand," she responded when asked about its first plans for the party.

Starting with classic brand positioning, Robinson said she hopes Quiet Storm can "create equally disruptive, award-winning and talked about work in the way that Now has."

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