A Quick Look at the Campaign Slogan for New Zealand’s Labour Party

On July 3rd, 2020, Jacinda Ardern released an Instagram video announcing the New Zealand Labour Party’s new slogan for the upcoming election. You can watch the 75-second video below:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CCM6AVpgS9u/

Slogans are an important part of election campaigns. They act as the common thread in messaging, policy proposals, and set the context for events (past, present and future). Especially in campaigns where the party/candidate is an incumbent, the slogan needs to highlight that they’ve been on track and will continue to be on track if they win again. Two examples during this video support that:

It’s shouldn’t be a surprise that an incumbent party uses language that revolves around continuity, momentum, and progress. Especially with a party whose years in the driver’s seat have been as productive as the Labour Party’s. Highlighting the need to continue the work that’s been done is an important part of the puzzle for re-election: if you’ve been improving the lives of your constituents already, you want to show that, and remind them that you have more in store.

Highlighting the need for continuity is one part, but including the general public in that is another. While “Let’s Keep Moving” doesn’t directly include New Zealander’s in the slogan, its subtext does a good job of ensuring inclusion in the political process. Both Jacinda Ardern’s Instagram video and Labour Party’s Twitter post include references to the role of New Zealander’s in this re-election bid:

Yes, voter-focused language is a part of many campaigns messaging regardless of political leaning (EG: Democrats Cory Booker & Bernie Sanders, or Conservative Doug Ford). However, this language fits well into the narrative of the Labour Party’s message: we’ve accomplished a lot, but we still have more to do… And we can only do it with your involvement. Especially since it’s not part of the slogan (“let’s keep” implies citizen inclusion, but not to the same degree as “we”, “us”, or “people”), the party needs to put in a bit of effort to remind voters of their part in the process.

The Labour Party’s policy announcements highlight the message behind this slogan as well. Recently, they’ve rolled out several plans for New Zealand: including the Fit For A Better World roadmap on economic potential and Jacinda Ardern’s July 5th speech outlining the party’s 5-step plan to support economic recovery amidst the pandemic (the speech ends with the party’s campaign slogan). In politics and advocacy, timing is important. You want to take action after announcements to show you mean what you say.

When choosing a slogan, it needs to cover different criteria: encapsulating the purpose of the campaign, the goal of the party running, highlighting one’s track record, and fitting the mood of the times. “Let’s Keep Moving” does a fantastic job of that. It reminds the public of what’s already been done with the Labour Party leading the country, the outcome if they’re re-elected, and the need for the everyday citizen to be part of that process.

Hopefully, this sheds a light on the process behind political messaging, specifically the role a slogan plays in creating a unified message in which the candidate/party/advocates’ values are made known. And I hope it helps you with any campaigns you get involved with down the road that are more forward-thinking in nature.

Carpe diem.

Originally posted on Tart of War, my monthly newsletter where I break down the role of strategy and psychology in politics. If you want to see more, you can sign up at tartofwar.substack.com! (It’s free)

And connect with me on Twitter! @AndrewKuttain (don’t worry I follow back)

Poli Sci grad, Comms Strategist, great at remembering names and terrible at pronouncing them. I write on political psych, practical philosophy, and random stuff

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