Politics, marketing and social media in the 2018 local elections in Iceland

Birgir Guðmundsson, Hafdís Björg Hjálmarsdóttir, Vera Kristín Vestmann Kristjánsdóttir

Abstract


The importance of marketing techniques in political campaigning has increased as communicating politics has become more complex in a highly fragmented media environment. With different media logics interacting in a hybrid media system, political marketing methods through social media have drawn considerable attention and even been seen to pose a threat to democratic processes. This paper looks at the extent and nature of the use of marketing techniques in the 2018 municipal elections in Iceland, by using a mixed methods approach. The findings of a candidate survey and interviews with campaign managers suggest that the methods used are by and large a technical extension of previous methods and not qualitatively different from traditional electioneering. Both social media and traditional media are important marketing vehicles, but the importance of social media clearly on the rise. However, in larger communities in the capital region there tends to be a higher degree of professionalism than in other parts of the country and the size of municipality is important, while the type of party or age of candidates is not.

Keywords


Political marketing; micro targeting; social media; traditional media; hybrid media system.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13177/irpa.a.2019.15.2.2

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