Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - Social influencers, catchy ad campaigns and even music albums are but a few of the weapons in the arsenal of political parties as they scramble to capture voters and win support.

Both the ANC and EFF released election albums. The EFF released a qhom track which party leader Julius Malema kicks off, while the ANC’s album featured a variety of music genres, even jazz.

Then came the adverts, which have earned parties some criticism as well as a lot of attention on social media.

The ANC received backlash for using social influencers, as well as model Rethabile Lethoko, whose ad featured her talking about all the campaigns she had been the face of, before describing ways the ruling party can improve on service delivery, with viewers describing it as more of a luxury soap advert.

The DA’s advert on social media also attracted a lot of views and has been likened to a re-enactment of Childish Gambino’s This is America music video, which shows the challenges facing South Africa post-1994.

Political analyst Zweli Ndevu said parties had focused on social media as a means of attracting younger voters.

“Looking at the kind of people who are likely to vote, a big chunk of that will be young people and they will be accustomed to social media and political parties will decide that it is advantageous for them to venture into those spaces,” he said.

“Parties have also stuck with the old method of your traditional posters in mostly rural areas. In more affluent areas, they have used social media and even telephonic campaigning.

“There are a lot of resources that have been put into the campaigns because the door-to-door strategy is not something that is effective. So there’s a lot of emphasis and resources on social media and ad campaigns that can reach a wider audience that can be persuaded and look to rationality and can be persuaded by valid arguments or strategies.”

Associate Professor for Media Studies at the University of Cape Town, Musawenkosi Ndlovu, said the messages from each party had at times hit the mark and missed on other occasions.

“The DA’s marketing strategy is to tailor and fine-tune certain messages to different constituencies and communities in SA. So its communication has seemed rather confused and incoherent,” she said.

“The ANC has aimed to brand itself as a party in the renewal process post former president Zuma’s presidency. It has aimed to brand itself as a party that will renew SA’s economy and rebuild SA.

“The EFF has branded itself as a party that fights for social justice for black people where ANC has failed.”

Ndluvo said while many of the posters appear bland and stick to party colours and the face of the party leaders, there hasn’t been much of a difference in messages when compared to past campaigns.

“The DA has moved away from the antagonistic ‘fight back’ campaign to a more reconciliatory ‘South Africa for all one’. The talking points of the ANC and EFF are more or less the same.”

Weekend Argus