The strategists behind the Conservative Party’s social media campaign have been hired by Britain’s main pro—EU campaign ahead of the referendum on British membership of the EU.
Tom Edmonds and Craig Elder were hailed as the Tories’ “secret weapon,” reaching 17 million people a week and helping the party sweep to power in May, the Guardian has reported.
The pair took to the Telegraph in July to explain the success of their digital strategy, which focussed on targeting key voters, in contrast to Labour’s blanket approach. Digital media is “one of the quickest, most powerful and cost effective ways to reach the people you need to reach,” they said, going on to explain: “It’s much better to reach five people with the right message than 500 with the wrong one.
“Labour talked a lot about having four million conversations in four months during the election campaign, which led to them focusing on quantity not quality. They got drawn into an irrelevant numbers game of their own making – and ended up just spraying and praying.”
The embattled In Campaign now hopes the pair can bring the same magic to their campaign, helping them to reach the middle-ground voters who will make all the difference to the result.
The cross party group has made a bid to the Electoral Commission to be recognised as the lead pro-EU campaign group in the run up to the referendum. Both Will Straw, son of former Labour Home Secretary Jack Straw, and Damian Green, the former Tory immigration minister, are playing lead roles in the campaign.
— Will Straw (@wdjstraw) September 18, 2015
Mr Straw said: “Tom and Craig are absolutely at the top of their game and bring a wealth of experience in digital campaigning and supporter engagement. This referendum on Britain’s place in Europe offers people one of the biggest choices in our history: whether to remain a part of the world’s biggest single market or to walk away, risking jobs and weakening our economy. Whilst no one claims Europe is perfect, the fact is we are stronger, better off and safer in Europe than we would be out of it.
“As the campaign gathers pace we will use the latest digital tools to communicate that choice to the public, and to make the case that we believe Britain is stronger in Europe.”
Mr Green said: “One of the Conservative party’s secret weapons in the 2015 election was Edmonds-Elder: they know precisely the audience we need to reach and how we can mobilise thousands of activists to explain why Britain is stronger in Europe – and ultimately win the referendum.”