The Listening Post

Misinformation, lies and media spin: Inside the UK election

From political manipulation to complaints of bias, all eyes are on the media before UK vote. Plus, purpose advertising.

On this week’s The Listening Post: From political manipulation to complaints of bias, all eyes are on the media ahead of the UK’s election. Plus, profiting from purpose in the advertising world.

Inside the UK election

The United Kingdom is about to vote in what has come to be known as its Brexit election – the one Prime Minister Boris Johnson called after failing to get parliament to agree to his deal to leave the EU.

It’s the UK’s third election in five years and that doesn’t include the Brexit referendum in 2016.

Boris Johnson’s Conservatives are doing what frontrunners tend to do; keeping exposure to a minimum, and shunning interviewers and channels that might give them a rough ride.

They’re also leading the way in spreading misinformation, even blatantly misrepresenting themselves online.

Both Boris Johnson and his main rival, Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour party, know that most of the country’s newspapers are conservative.

That is a given in any British election, but it goes further than that; the perception of bias is no longer limited to the papers, and has bled into the broadcast sector, including the publicly-owned national broadcaster, the BBC.

Ronan Burtenshaw – Editor, Tribune Magazine
Isabel Oakeshott – Former political editor, The Sunday Times
Peter Oborne – Author, The Rise of Political Lying & former columnist, The Daily Mail

On our radar 

Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Tariq Nafi about the Philippines, where President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened the country’s largest media network; and about Bloomberg News, who declared it will not investigate its owner, billionaire presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, or his rivals.

Purpose advertising: ‘The best an ad can be?’

Earlier this year a Gillette ad landed the company in some hot water. Jumping on the #MeToo hashtag, and the subsequent movement to protect women from sexual harassment in the workplace, Gillette tweaked its sales slogan, “the best a man can get”, into ‘the best men can be’. Cue an online backlash accusing Gillette of appropriating a social movement for the sake of profit.

The ad formed part of a trend known in the industry as ‘purpose marketing’. With product-focused campaigns no longer attracting the clicks, the likes and shares that advertisers crave, more and more of them are latching onto causes. Gillette’s not the only brand to have such an ad backfire.

The Listening Post‘s Johanna Hoes looks at the challenge of striking a balance between purpose and profit.

Seth Godin – Author of This is Marketing
Lauren Coulman – CEO, Noisy Cricket Ltd and Contributing Writer, Forbes
Daniel Brindis – Forest Campaign Director, Greenpeace
Kit Yarrow – Consumer Psychologist, Golden Gate University and author of Decoding the Consumer Mind