Despite attracting 'stupid behaviour' every election, billboards still fulfil vital role, expert says

Source: 1News

This year's batch of political billboards have attracted the usual attention, with a number of them being vandalised up and down the country.

This led TVNZ1's Seven Sharp to ask whether political billboards work in the first place and, if so, do they have a future?

Auckland University marketing guru Dr Bodo Lang gave his opinion on the issue.

"Yes, political billboards do work, and that's for two reasons," he said. 

"First of all, they can increase participation in the actual election and make people realise there is an election going on.

"Secondly, they can swing the market share within the election, so billboards can be effective and the one thing that’s really special about them is they’re on the side of the road and capture your attention over a long period of time."

Mr Lang also pointed out the billboards can capture a large cross-section of the population.

He says they are aimed at "peripheral voters" who perhaps aren't as engaged in politics and are more likely to vote on "visual cues".

The only way Mr Lang could see election billboards being resigned to the scrapheap is over "sustainability concerns".

Yesterday, National leader Judith Collins blamed her "opponents" after two election hoardings for the party went missing in Auckland.

"We expect they will turn up on election day in contravention of the rules," she wrote online.

"Stupid behaviour from our opponents."

Under the Electoral Commission rules, parties aren't allowed to advertise on election day, which is September 19 this year.