The Media Smart and Advertising Association is redoubling its efforts with its political advertising awareness campaign

Media Smart and the Advertising Association are resuming the awareness campaign “What is political advertising all about?” to help voters understand the political party advertising they may see in the run-up to the general election. The campaign promotes a 10-point guide, available for free download, that aims to improve political knowledge, especially among young people preparing to vote for the first time.

The 30” video creation, designed by Pearl & Dean Productions, part of CREATE at Pearl & Dean, will appear in Pearl & Dean cinemas and on BVOD on Channel 4 once approved, subtitled and delivered via Clearcast. The campaign’s thought-provoking static executions will be featured on OOH on Open Media sites and on Next Gen Media in university residence halls and colleges. The industry was urged to support media resources where possible to maximize the awareness campaign and increase circulation of the guide.

Political parties will use advertising in their campaigns in the run-up to the July 4 general election, with national election spending limits recently increased by 80% to around £35 million. Figures published by UK advertising consultancy Credos show that 44% of people are concerned about political advertising, with people being much less likely to trust political advertising (29%) than general/commercial advertising (39%). The survey also found that almost three-quarters of people (73%) believe that political advertising should be subject to the same rules and regulations as other forms of advertising.

Media Smart, an education program for the advertising and media industry, collaborated with youth-focused creative agency Livity to create a guide that answers questions about election advertising policies; digital and AI-generated content; disinformation and fact-checking; and how people can improve their political knowledge. It also highlights that the regulation of commercial advertising, which is governed by rules enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), is different from advertising by political parties.

Rachel Barber-Mack, executive director of Media Smart, said: “Encouraging young voters to vote and vote with confidence is a key part of Media Smart’s mission in the run-up to the general election. Voters should be prepared to understand the messages they see in ads, and this awareness campaign will help strengthen political literacy at this important time.”

Stephen Woodford, chief executive of the Advertising Association, said: “The countdown to the ballot box is now underway and while political party advertising is not regulated by the ASA, I believe the advertising industry has a responsibility to educate voters on how our industry’s tools will be used during this time . This is only possible thanks to the generosity of industry partners providing media resources to help share these resources. I encourage all media owners who want to donate advertising space to get in touch.”