FRIDAY, DEC. 14: An election campaign report card by media experts on how the PLP and OBA got their messages across gave both sides a “disappointing” rating on performance.

Social media has been used more in this election than in any other — but one media guru said that it could have a “numbing” effect on voters due to the sheer volume.

Rhona Emmerson, head of advertising agency aac Saatchi & Saatchi, said: “They’ve both been adequate campaigns, which is to be expected and the rhetoric and copy on both sides has been as expected, which is disappointing to be honest.

“I think the OBA had a very clear presentation and the PLP has been very true to their brand.”

But she added: “This is the first election we have had the full force of social media or even [the opportunity] to comment on stories on newspaper pages. The long-term impact of that on the polls will be interesting to see.”

Ms Emmerson said: “It’s not that they’re not good – they’re smooth, very well put together… but nothing hit me in the gut and made me say ‘that’s an ad’.

“The missing ingredient is emotional connection to the clients. It’s really all about the voters, not about the party and that’s the emotional connection both parties have missed in this campaign.”

Ms Emmerson added that elder statesman Sir John Swan and commentator Larry Burchall could teach both parties lessons in how to win people over.

She said: “It’s a point of view that people have been hungry for because the source of information is presented as pure, believable and trustworthy.

“Both parties suffer from the feeling that people don’t feel they are entirely trustworthy, for whatever reason. Our voters are hungry for leadership, commitment and vision, not squabbling… they are tired and worn down and I think they missed that opportunity.”

Former journalist and Kaleidoscope Media chief Chris Gibbons agreed both parties had stuck to traditional political mud-slinging.

He said: “Considering the seriousness of the issues at stake — namely the economy and crime — I think both parties’ campaigns have been disappointing, lacking both creative imagination and political maturity.”

He added: “From a purely advertising point of view, the OBA’s campaign has clearly been the slicker and more professional-looking of the two.

“Compared to its previous campaigns, the PLP’s seem ill-planned and disjointed.”

He added that the now-infamous PLP advertisement portraying OBA members as puppets had backfired.

Mr Gibbons said: “If you’re going to do something like that, it needs to be well-produced and incisive, with a touch of biting humour. It was none of these and served only to hold the party up to ridicule. They got deservedly hammered on social media sites and parodied mercilessly as the National Puppet Party by [Facebook group] Bermuda Memes.”

Mr Gibbons said the “so-called ‘secret UBP document’ “had put the OBA “on the back foot” for several days and deflected criticism of the PLP’s record.

He added that OBA leader Craig Cannonier walking out of a press conference when quizzed about the post-2007 election paper had “undermined his credibility.”

But Mr Gibbons said: “However, the PLP may have played this [secret report] card too early. Had they dropped it in the latter part of this week, the OBA would have been really scrambling to control the damage.”And he questioned if a ‘like’ on a party Facebook page by a friend or tweets about a political video would influence a voter’s choice.

Mr Gibbons said: “I think social media has played a significant role in encouraging Bermudians to be more open about voicing their opinions publicly, but I do sense that the sheer volume of it may be having a numbing effect...

“On the other hand, the Internet allows a tech-savvy Independent such as Jonathan Starling an affordable and effective platform that would have been unimaginable in the past.”

And he added that he would be interested to see the parties’ post-poll assessments of their social media strategies and how effective they were.