TIMES.KY

Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Monday, May 20, 2024

Liz Truss v Rishi Sunak: Who's winning the social media war?

Liz Truss v Rishi Sunak: Who's winning the social media war?

Social media is a key battleground in any election - even one with a very small electorate. How are Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss trying to win over the Tory members who will choose the next PM?

They are two very different characters, with two very different campaigning styles.

"Everything about Sunak's approach is slick," says PR expert Mark Borkowski.

"It is overly professional in some points. I am not sure whether that is a good or a bad thing. There seems to be a lot of strategy and thinking behind it."

The Truss campaign on the other hand "feels a little bit more homespun", he adds.

Sunak's social media strategy is masterminded by Cass Horowitz, son of best-selling novelist Anthony Horowitz. As a special adviser to Sunak when he was chancellor, Horowitz used fancy graphics and clever tag lines to sell "Brand Rishi" to a younger, politically unengaged audience on Instagram.

The glossy "origin story" video Sunak used to launch his leadership campaign on Twitter - in which he talked about how his mother came to the UK in the early 1960s "armed with hope for a better life" - has been viewed more than 8 million times.

Rishi Sunak's back story video has been viewed more than 8 million times


So slick was this film that it raised suspicions that it had been in the works for some time - a

suspicion shared by Mark Borkowski, who notes: "You don't create this sort of campaign overnight".

Team Sunak insist the video was put together in 24 hours, after Boris Johnson announced he was standing down.

Liz Truss's social team, run by Reuben Solomon, former head of digital at the Conservative Party, and a protege of Boris Johnson's favourite election strategist Sir Lynton Crosby, have played it safer so far.

The foreign secretary's launch film is an attempt to project her as an international stateswoman. There is little about her own back story, and no spontaneous "behind the scenes" footage. There is much talk about "delivery".

Liz Truss projects herself as an international stateswoman who is ready to lead


One similarity between the two candidates - and indeed all of the Tory MPs who threw their hats into the leadership ring - is their desire to be on first name terms with the electorate.

This is not a smart move, according to Anthony Ridge-Newman, associate professor of media and communication at Liverpool Hope University.

"Boris Johnson is one of the few politicians to ever be referred to commonly by his first name. The online campaign slogans, both Liz for Leader; and Ready for Rishi, are an attempt to emulate Boris's first name appeal.

"Had either of the Tory leadership candidates come to me for my expert advice, I would have suggested foregrounding their last names, Sunak and Truss.

"It would help their campaigns appear more prime ministerial, which, if I know anything about the Conservative Party, is something they look for in their candidates."

Rishi Sunak reacts to news that he has made the final two, in a campaign video


Rishi Sunak's use of video has been more adventurous, with candid, supposedly off-the-cuff footage of him reacting to key moments. There was even an unexpected venture into comedy, with a parody of 1930s cinema newsreel, in a video trumpeting his Brexiteer credentials.

But neither candidate is a natural in front of the camera or the smartphone, in Ridge-Newman's opinion, lacking the fluency of Boris Johnson or David Cameron.

"Sunak's digital content is largely presenting him to be a regular guy," which may be an attempt to neutralise recent media portrayals of him as a member of the wealthy "elite". he says.

Team Sunak venture into parody with an early social video


"Truss on the other hand is presenting herself in a more statuesque manner. The digital content comes across quite posed and generic, and plays on her role, time and successes as foreign secretary.

"While Truss does not come across as a digital native, her social media campaign seems as though it is most strategically steered towards the Conservative Party membership, who are the ones who will be voting to decide Britain's next prime minister."

Liz Truss emphasises 'delivery' in her launch video


One problem for Team Truss is that memes making fun of their candidate have been shared far more than anything produced by the campaign.

"She seems to be the one suffering from a lot of parody," says Mark Borkowski.

So far, Google searches for "Liz Truss" have far outranked those for "Rishi Sunak", but they are often accompanied by the word "cheese".

This is a reference to a 2015 conference speech. in which he she says, in an impassioned voice: "We import two-thirds of our cheese. That. Is. A. Disgrace."

Mr Sunak has also attracted derision on social media, with Labour supporters and others sharing a clip of him as a teenager talking about how he has no working class friends.

The Truss campaign quotes the Daily Mail in a social media post


But ultimately this is not a campaign that will be won and lost on social media.

As the BBC's Media Editor Amol Rajan has pointed out, the Tory membership are "a narrow section of the population that is much more attuned to newsprint than most Britons".

And Liz Truss appears to have one of the UK's biggest-selling papers The Daily Mail in her corner, which could prove decisive for her.

"In this old-fashioned newspaper election, the tenor of newsprint coverage over the next week could have a significant impact on who becomes prime minister - especially if the Times, Sun and Telegraph decide that, like the Mail, they know who they want, and give hell to whosoever they decide they don't want," says Amol Rajan.

Newsletter

Related Articles

TIMES.KY
0:00
0:00
Close
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
×