Swedish parties are gradually becoming more market oriented and professionalized. As a result, the ideological difference between various parties has decreased and the majority of electors are voting less tribally than in the past and no longer follow the left or the right. In this paper we built our argumentation based on that due to the small differences in the promised services by various parties, image and reputation becomes more important in election process. We looked at how different parties handle their image and reputation process and examined the impact of various exogenous factors impact on party’s image and reputation such as negative advertising, negative communication, and the role of media. The study indicates that all parties used a high portion of negative campaigning in the Swedish media while the Right Wing dominated in the use of negative advertising. We found implications of harmful impact on the parties’ reputation and image from exposure of negative communication and the lack of reputation repair strategies as well as inadequate communication strategies caused failure in giving appropriate response to feedback and reputation cues.
Keywords: political communication, political campaigns, negative advertising, negative campaign, reputation management, marketing communication
In the introduction chapter we describe the background to the study. We assume that some reader may not be familiar with the political and media system in Sweden and that is why we have added a short description of the systems in the background since it is essential in order to create understanding of the political campaign situation during the election 2006. Chapter 2 describes the method and the framework we have used to conduct the research. Chapter 3 present the theories that we felt would help to analyse the communication process as well a definition of negative advertising as it appears to be some gap in the clarity of what form of advertising included as negative advertising and remaining Chapters 4, 5 and 6 presents the data and analyse of the research.