By Brad Foster

MD of Turning Point Solutions, Peter Pecotic, and Mark Lucas of LucasMinghella recently produced and delivered Australia’s first live online interactive campaign launch on behalf of the Australian Labor Party, with the launch helping Labor to an historic win in a bellweather seat.

The idea was borne first of all from necessity – how do you launch a campaign under lockdown conditions? NSW Labor briefed Pecotic to find a new format for political events. Together they developed a new style of community-based launch that can be used beyond lockdown.

Following its success, Pecotic believes that instead of crowds being bussed to big halls to listen to set piece speeches, the campaign launch of the future will connect local people with political parties and the media in a genuinely interactive and community led way.

Drawing on Pecotic’s experience in delivering live events and Mark Lucas’ experience in writing and producing live TV, as well as their collective experience of delivering more than 50 political campaigns and launches around the world – the team set up creating a wholly new format for the post-covid age.

The pair, with help, set up a mobile broadcasting unit in the garage of Labor candidate Kristy McBain’s home, bringing together Zoom, Twitter, Skype and Facebook formats as well as traditional TV cameras and production values to create over an hour of live TV.

Eight hundred community activists and supporters were live on screen as Kristy introduced the campaign from her own kitchen.

“We then cut live to various business and community groups around the area who were able to contribute live from their own homes, workplaces and even the Tathra Pub to the event,” they said.

“Pre-recorded VTs and a live piece from ALP Federal Leader Anthony Albanese from his own kitchen added to the rich mix of content.”

The launch reflected Labor values of inclusivity, diversity, and bringing communities together in a way that has never been done before and which offers a new format for progressive organisations in Australia and around the world.

On the same day that President Trump held a lacklustre traditional event to a half empty hall, Australian Labor offered a vibrant, accessible and community focused event that was TV and web friendly.

“I am very proud to have put together a world first,” Pecotic said.

“We have learnt a lot along the way in developing this format. It is not just about the technology, but about moulding a format that can engage and inspire. It was great to see Kristy’s face when hundreds of waving community members appeared on screen at once.”

Pecotic says the impact of COVID-19 has resulted in new thinking and believes “we cannot go back to the old ways”.

“New times require imagination and a new way of thinking. Our online campaign format delivers a high level of engagement using an exciting new platform. Isn’t this what politics is all about? Finding new and innovative ways to connect with people, bringing the community together to improve life for everybody?”

Winning candidate Kirsty McBain said: “For me, it’s all about the community, and here in Eden-Monaro we have such a geographic spread that launching online like this was the best way to include everyone and really bring everyone together.”