THE IMPACT OF BILLBOARD USAGE IN ELECTION CAMPAIGN
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
A Pre-Elecion Voter Awareness Campaign (PEVAC) is aimed at sensitizing voters about the importance of participating in the electoral process as a way to ensure a responsive, accountable and democratically elected government. In a democracy, a free and fair vote is the fundamental tool through which citizens can express their political preferences and developmental wishes. However, in representative forms of democracies, merely casting the vote may not be adequate to hold the elected officials and the executive accountable or to foster a responsive and transparent government. Therefore, providing voters with information on the electoral process, political parties and their manifestos, poll antecedents of the candidates etc. are necessary to educate them prior to the polling day is critical to enable them cast an enlightened and informed vote. A PEVAC aims to precisely do that i.e. to provide such critical information and in doing so, create better-informed, more motivated citizenry and, ultimately, a more responsive, transparent and accountable government. (Andrew, 2011).
Many people have a misconception that due to the emergence of several other advertising techniques in the market, the effectiveness of billboard usage for election campaign has lessened. However, such a strategy has certainly proven to be beneficial for several decades. Although a majority of election agencies employ electronic and other kinds of awareness strategies, billboard awareness continues to be an effective method of reaching out to the citizens.
The principal aspects of its effectiveness are cost saving and greater market coverage. Billboards are surely an efficient method to publicize ideas, manifestoes and intentions anywhere and anytime. Technological furtherance has also played a major role in supporting its cost-effectiveness. In earlier days, billboards were generally painted by hand, and this was a high-priced and time-consuming undertaking. However, with today1s cutting-edge computer technology, they can now be designed with the aid of computers and printed on vinyl paper, and then fixed onto the backcloth. The end result is a super-ordinate advertisement in very less time and also at an affordable price. (Anderson, 2009)
The wide coverage o f this type of political campaign is unquestionable. Generally, these boards are on display for ab out two-three months. This indicates that it reaches a larger audience for a longer period of time.
Attention span of humans is approximately 8 seconds. The advertisers have to make optimum use of these 8 seconds to get the message across to the audience about their product. As television ads air for about 10-30 seconds, there are less chances of viewers paying attention to the product. This is where billboards come into the picture. With a maximum word count of 6-10 words, the viewers are sure to pay attention to the message the advertiser wants to put across, even when they are in a fast-moving car.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The problem statement for this research work focuses on assessing the impact of billboard usage in election campaign.
Election if very crucial in every democratic government. It is the process of voting out and voting in of representatives into and out of office for a fixed term. What people see and hear has a lot of impact in influencing their opinion even in election.
To this effect, the researcher focuses on identifying the various benefits of using billboard in election campaign.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The aims and objective of this research work involved the following.
i) To assess the impact of billboard usage in election campaign.
ii) To ascertain the level at which billboard influences peoples opinion.
iii) To know the level at which electoral bodies make use of billboard.
iv) To examine the success achieved through the use of billboard for campaign in the just concluded gubernatorial election of Osun State.
v) To know the perception of people towards the use of billboard for election campaign.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the impact of billboard usage on election campaign?
2. To what level does billboard influences peoples opinion?
3. To what level do electoral bodies make use of billboard?
4. What are the success achieved through the use of billboard for campaign in the just concluded gubernatorial election of Osun State?
5. What is the perception of residents of Osun State towards the use of billboard for election campaign?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF TIlE STUDY
This research work is of great importance to the Independent National Electoral Commission. It will serve as additional knowledge to the commission in realizing the areas where the billboard usage can sensitize the people on electoral process.
The research work is also of importance to political parties. It will shed light on the benefits they can derive from using billboard for their campaigns.
The research work is of great importance to the press. It will commend their work and also give additional knowledge on ways of performing their role with ease.
The research work is also of great significance to students who want to conceptualize on related topic.
1.6 SCOPE OF STUDY
The scope of this research work is assessing the impact of billboard usage in election campaign..
In respect to this, the researcher makes use of Osun State 2014 gubernatorial election as a case study.
1.7 LIMITATION OF STUDY
The researcher is faced with certain limitations in the conduct of this research work. Some of which are;
– Time: The researcher had little time to conduct wider research due to the fact that the available time had to be managed properly both in receiving lectures and travelling to receive data.
-. 1inanal constniint: Finance also posed a challenge in the conduct of this reseirch work. Much money had to be spent on collection of data as it required tp;;elling as well as visiting the internet.
1.8 Definition of Terms
BilIrd: A billboard (sometimes also called a hoarding in the UK and many other of the world) is a large outdoor advertising structure (a billing board), typically
d in high traffic areas such as alongside busy roads.
t pact: This means to have an effect which could result in change of action or irection.
Election: This is a democratic process which involves the voting in of new representatives into offices of governance.
Campaign: This is a deliberate act of making something known through persistent publicity.