Brighten up the bait, young politicians told

By Amy Maas

Troy Banbury signed up, although the jelly beans were stale. Photo / Doug Sherring
Troy Banbury signed up, although the jelly beans were stale. Photo / Doug Sherring

Political youth organisations have stepped up their recruitment drives before the September 20 election - but a PR expert says the handouts being used to lure young voters lack creativity.

The Young Nats have been handing out goodie bags at universities over the past three weeks and say they signed 1667 new members.

Volunteers have stuck rainbow-coloured "I [heart] JK" stickers on brown paper bags containing a poster of Prime Minister John Key, a leaflet with event dates, a Young Nats keyring that doubles as a bottle opener and a bag of blue jelly beans.

Young Labour is recruiting with an even more basic information booklet, leaflets and a pen.

Public relations expert Jacqui Ansin from Lily and Louis said the goodie bags could be better.

"They need to include fun gift items that make the target audience feel it has been tailored to them, not just for blatant promotional reasons," said Ansin.

New Young Nats recruit Troy Banbury, 18, who signed up at Auckland University, said the jelly beans were a "cute touch", although they were stale.

"I thought the bag was okay," he said. "They had dates of different events and also, it's kind of funny, a bottle opener and I was kind of like 'what are you suggesting?' It was kind of cool," he said.

Young Nats President Sean Topham didn't think the goodie bags would change.

"The jelly beans and bottle opener are popular," he said "But I'll take on board the suggestion we might want to make them a bit more exciting," he said.

Ansin's suggestions for vote-winning goodie bags included:

• A mocktail/cocktail recipe single pack with National-branded ingredients.

• A multi-shaded blue rubix cube with the National logo.

• A blue yo-yo.

• A blue Scrabble set spelling National.

• A student diary with a unisex design incorporating a subtle Naional logo at the base.

• One of the PM's favourite gags - selfies. Bags could include blue glasses with a note saying "snap a selfie, tag #Johnkeyistheman and be in to win a gift".

- Herald on Sunday

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