UKIP have the face and name of their candidate in Norwich North adorning a handful of billboard sites in the constituency. Apparently the Greens too are to follow UKIP in doing this. My question is whether it is effective.
At the last General Election in North Norfolk Iain Dale managed to get his face and name on the only large billboard in North Norfolk. Just as you drove in to Cromer from Norwich, there it was to greet you. I must admit it worried local Lib Dems in Cromer that it would "have an effect". However, our canvassing showed it had no real effect, with if anything a slightly negative response. The typical Norfolk view I got from people was "He thinks a little too much of himself".
So does a billboard persuade anyone ?
Certainly it might make people have an awareness that a candidate is standing of that party has not got a high enough profile in the constituency or is unable to deliver the number of leaflets that the main parties can put out. But in a by-election it can serve to show the lack of effective ground troops that party has. If the only thing that is seen from the Greens, for example, is one leaflet and one poster, it can serve to underline that that party is struggling. In constituency wide elections in normal electoral cycles, when each party may only get out two or three leaflets this may not matter. But in by-elections when delivering 10 leaflets in 5 weeks is the norm, will it not serve to undermining the intensity of that party's campaign ?
So whilst I cannot think billboards will not do any harm, speaking from my own experience I am still unsure how effective they are.
Does anyone else have experiences of billboards they can offer by way of comments ?