West Midlands to use online, off-line and outdoor advertising for integrated mayoral campaign

The West Midlands region is one of six new combined authorities that will hold mayoral elections on 4 May. In the second of a new series, PRWeek looks at the election campaigns and how comms and PR are being used to raise awareness and turnout.

WMCA is targeting up to four million voters with its comms campaign
WMCA is targeting up to four million voters with its comms campaign
The comms team at the newly formed West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), which represent the seven metropolitan constituent councils - Birmingham, City of Wolverhampton, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull and Walsall - are embarking on their first election campaign, using an integrated approach, with a variety of media including traditional and Out of Home (OOH) advertising, as well as local radio stations, press and social media.

The strategy will involve a ‘homepage takeover’ of three of the major news titles in the region: Birmingham Mail, Birmingham Post and the Coventry Telegraph. The campaign will also make use of the huge ‘media eyes’, electronic billboards at Birmingham New Street station, to raise awareness of the election. 

The campaign will identify three key target groups - 18-24, 25-44 and 45-65 - in an area with a population of 4 million people.

The 18+ age group will be targeted especially through Spotify and other audio streaming networks. Efforts will also be made to hit ‘harder to reach’ communities through direct engagement as well as digital advertising. 

The authority ran a seven-week public consultation last year, asking the specific question of whether people agreed with the proposed powers of an elected West Midlands mayor who will end up in control of a £1.1bn, 30-year investment fund for their three-year post in office. 

The consultation included whether people thought the new mayor should have powers over a proposed integrated transport system to issues on equality.

Nearly 80 per cent of those polled in the consultation strongly agreed that the new mayor should have power to deliver an efficient, integrated, transport network.

However, only half thought the mayor should have the power to raise taxes locally. 

The combined authority hopes for a turnout of at least 15 per cent and will be using voter turnout as a measure of the campaign’s success. 

In the region’s last election, for police and crime commissioners last May, turnout was 30 per cent.  

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