Political parties hike direct spend to target floating vote

LONDON - Labour and the Conservatives are on track to spend record amounts on direct marketing to target the few floating voters who will determine the election, according to exclusive research commissioned by Marketing.

In the first two months of 2005, both Labour and the Tories sent more than twice as many pieces of mail than in the whole of 2004, with Labour exceeding the volume of mailings it sent in the last election year of 2001, according to Thomson Intermedia.

Labour spent £222,000 in the period on 370,000 pieces of direct mail, while the Liberal Democrats spent less than £9000.

The Tories, meanwhile, spent £501,000 on more than 800,000 mailings, just £90,000 less than its spend on outdoor advertising sites.

From June 2004-February 2005, Labour spent £294,628 on mail, compared with £96,699 in the July 2000-February 2001 period ahead of the 2001 election. The Tories spent about £650,000 at this point in both elections.

The Electoral Commission has also begun its first digital drive to promote a general election. Created by glue London, it includes search, mobile and banner ads, with planning by i-level.

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