I would consider myself a rather politically aware person. I read the big news stories try and stay on top of any major policy changes, but I definitely don’t devote my spare time to researching the members of parliament and I don’t have an in-depth understanding of their policies. Why? Because from the voter side it all appears rather dull and conniving. Well, a recent study from Maryland suggests a way that all this could change.
Stick with me as a move off course a bit.
The University of Maryland has released a study looking at teenage pregnancy. It has come to the conclusion that despite many decades of public service announcements and sexual education classes, MTV reality shows ‘Teen Mom’ and ’16 and Pregnant’ have been more effective at reducing teen pregnancies. Compared with a 2.5% decrease each year before 2008 (when these shows launched), the proceeding years corresponding with the MTV hit shows resulted in a 7.5% yearly decrease.
When this difficult issue was encased is educational packaging the messages went in one ear and out the other. When it was encased in entertainment it was more meaningful and memorable creating a lasting impression.
What does this have to do with politics?
Politics essentially faces the same issues as teen pregnancy. It is a difficult topic to understand that is often presented in bland packaging. So why not apply the same principles to politics? It is already happening! I have recently discovered Annabel Crabb’s Kitchen Cabinet on the ABC. Framed within the context of a cooking show, the popular and accessible political commentator Annabel Crabb visits the houses of Members of Parliament for a cooking demonstration. While these politicians whip up a family favourite meal, Annabel is probing them with a variety of questions which range from hard hitting political commentary to family pastimes and popular culture.
Essentially she is removing the politics from politics. Unwrapping the typical packaging which manages to alienate interested parties and push uninterested parties even further away, the program provides an opportunity to learn about government in a more entertaining (and if the study is to be believed) a much more memorable and meaningful manner.
This is the most effective way to market the unmarketable. No matter the subject matter, encasing it within an entertaining medium is the best way to keep consumers’ interest.
Good job Annabel Crabb! Maybe you should have gone into marketing . . .