Flanders & its strong extreme right political party. On the frequency aspects of media buying.

Belgium: the story

We live in a country that isn’t governed for a period of about 4 months now. Why is that so difficult? Just watch the below instructional video from Marcel Sel…

Flanders: strong right-wing

In the northern part of the country (Flanders, where they speak Dutch) inhabitants tend to vote for conservatives. But what’s even more striking, is the huge support for an extreme right political party – known as Vlaams Belang (=”Flemish importance”).

Why does this political organization receives so much support from that many inhabitants? Is it that all Dutch-speaking Belgians are a bit “fascist”? It cannot be, I cannot believe.

Next to loads of other aspects, we want to point out that this political party sets itself apart from the other parties not only by leaving the democratic spectrum behind but also by deploying a different media buying strategy. With their media strategy, they tend to be visible in the streets the entire year – not only in the run-up to elections such as the other political parties. Added to that, the party empowers that visibility in the streets by offering gadgets via a webshop (e.g.: branded sweaters, caps, cycling outfits, mouse pads, flags, etc.).

New campaign: the Republic of Flanders.

Belgium has struggled to form a government for about 4 months now – one political crisis follows the other. Main reason is the inability to make an agreement between the Dutch-speaking community and the French-speaking community.

Ended up at this point, Vlaams Belang decided to launch a campaign to demonstrate that the country is doomed (this has been their main argument for years). The solution, according to them, is to form the Republic of Flanders.

To convince people that the republic of Flanders is the means to the end of wealth, Vlaams Belang launched a campaign that consists of 500 20 sq.m. outdoor ads, window posters and a brochure of which more than 1 million copies are printed (to compare: the biggest newspaper in Flanders is printed on about 100 000 copies).

You might disagree on Vlaams Belang’s opinions, but you’ve got to give them at least one thing: it is the only political party that tries to establish a continuous conversation with the inhabitants of Flanders. By this I mean, they are active even without upcoming elections.

Is it strange then that they get a lot of votes at elections? We believe it’s not that strange.

Given the fact that most of the people don’t really care about ideology, they might vote for “a brand” that they are most familiar with. The brand they’re most familiar with might just be the brand that chooses to have a continuous advertising frequency strategy.

Extreme right political party in Belgium goes for continuity media buying approach in street advertising. Great idea in Belgium, a country where you have to vote every other day.

Extreme right political party in Belgium goes for continuity media buying approach in street advertising. Great idea in Belgium, a country where you have to vote every other day. Picture taken from my car while driving with my mobile device - my apologies for the bad photograph. However, all stories on this blog appear just because I ran up to something that triggered me into a reflection exercise... For this reason we believe it is allowed to put this fuzzy picture on the web ;-)

Frequency-based theory high percentage extreme right voters derived from “advertising science”

Political advertising and commercial advertising serve pretty much the same goal. To convince people to believe information provided via a communication channel.

Within the communication science, there seems to be a general consensus on how to reflect about the impact of frequency of media exposures. Here’s sort of how it works:

The media objectives of a media plan often call for some combination of reach and frequency. Media planners want the highest reach possible because that means more people will be exposed to the campaign, which should lead to more brand awareness, customer loyalty, sales, and so on. Media planners also seek high frequency if they feel that consumers will only take action (that is, buy the product) after multiple exposures to the campaign.

Media planners can choose among three methods of scheduling: continuity, flight, and pulse. Continuity scheduling spreads media spending evenly across months. The flight scheduling approach alternates advertising across months, with heavy advertising in certain months and no advertising at all in other months. Pulse scheduling combines the first two scheduling methods, so that the brand maintains a low-level of advertising across all months but spends more in selected months.

Reading the above theory on scheduling methods, we have to say we’re not quite sure which one the political party is using. However, others are using none – except when running into campaigns. In this manner the political brand appeals to people in the streets because they meet it all the time…

Think about it? Should other parties counter-feight this dominance by also buying media space more frequently?


Belgian election fever: reflections on extremism and their outdoor print ads.

Election in Belgium

Election in Belgium

Belgium is heading towards elections

Regardless of the fact that we are facing elections again in Belgium, I want to discuss the outdoor print poster of the right extremist party. For your information, they’re very nationalist. They rather see the northern (dutch-speaking) part of the country become a separate state instead of cooperating with the southern (french-speaking) part. Their driving factors are: a different language, a differently organized economic structure, money that flows from the north to the south, etc.

Language at the core of the party program

As stated above, language is a major point in their (ehrm) “ideology”. So they state in their posters: “Flemish people first” – written as “Vlamingen 1st”.

Problems with this statement

Either they make a dutch spelling mistake or they introduce English (1st, means first) into their campaign… Isn’t this a bit strange for a party who has Dutch language at the core of its existence? The ambiguity is clear to me…Empowering the stupidity of the right-wing.

A situation where I could have understand this approach

I could have understand this poster without worrying when the party had received list number 1 for the election. From a marketing point of view, the big 1 would have made clear that they were the first party on the election sheet. Nonetheless, they are not. They received number 7. The irony in here is that number 1 was granted to the flemish social-democrats – their ideologic counterpart.


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