Definition of Campaign: History, Characteristics, Types and Influence in Mass Media


Hello  Reader friends,  Some of us may already be familiar with the word campaign. This term often appears and is discussed in the world of politics. So what are campaigns and what are their types? let’s pay attention to the following discussion.

Definition of Campaign

The campaign is one of the routine events in this world, including in our country Indonesia. In Indonesia, election campaigns are usually held every five years when the leader changes. When that moment occurs, the people running for office, be it mayor, district head, DPR, or presidential elections, all join hands to secure support from as many sectors of society as possible.

These politicians don’t just campaign on the streets, they campaign on TV, social media, appear on YouTube, and rent large stadiums that can accommodate thousands of people, such as the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium or GBK, to campaign. Usually the higher the vote rate, the bigger the campaign size. For example, the 2019 presidential election or other presidential elections.

Etymologically, the word campaign comes from the Latin word  “campaign”  which means field. The term sport is also related to other terms, namely champion/champion and champagne /champagne.

The “champagne” element refers to Italian military exercises in “Campania” (country), while the “champagne” element refers to French citizens growing champagne grapes in their own gardens.

According to the origin of the word, activity means a complete planned series of actions to achieve certain goals, whether in terms of public relations, marketing, increasing revenue, improving quality, safety standards, etc. (usually in geographic scale and time limit).

The term sport is often used for various activities, including the military, commercial marketing, social activities, political activities, and various other activities.

You will remember how exciting the campaign moments were. Not only were the streets filled with banners, billboards and flags bearing the symbols of the parties supporting each presidential candidate, but on social media, the supporters were no less excited.

Unfortunately, campaigns that are supposed to be an arena for voting and are carried out peacefully often turn into an arena for debate between supporters and an arena for blaming and insulting each other. Unfortunately, on social media, society is divided into two camps.

Thus, in general the notion of a campaign is a series of planned communication efforts and actions to gain the support of a large number of audiences carried out by one person or group of people one by one in an organized manner in decision making. The campaign creation process will be carried out continuously within a certain period of time.

Commercial marketing, social activities, political activities, in principle, campaigns are processes of communication activities carried out by individuals or groups institutionally, with the aim of creating a certain effect or influence.

Some experts have offered their own views on the definition of campaigns, such as Rogers and Storey (1987), who say that a campaign is a series of communication actions planned or designed to have a certain impact on a large audience over a continuous period (Venus, 2004:7) .

The above definition is considered by some experts to be the most popular and acceptable interpretation among communication scientists (Grossberg, 1988; Snyder, 2002; Klingemann & Rommele, 2002).

Definition of Campaign According to Experts

Apart from Rogers and Storey, other experts such as Pfau and Parrot (1993) provide further explanation regarding the definition of campaigns. Both say a campaign is a consciously designed, gradual and continuous process over a certain period of time that aims to influence the target audience.

Leslie B. Snyder (Gudykunst & Mody, 2002)  explains that campaign activities are organized communication behaviors aimed at certain audiences and within a certain period of time to achieve certain goals. At the same time,

Rajasundarman (1981) explains that an activity can be defined as the coordinated use of various communication methods over a certain period of time, which aims to guide the audience to a particular problem and its solution.

According to Imawan , a campaign is defined as a persuasive effort by a person or group of people to get other people to agree with an idea or ideas being offered.

According to Rachmadi,  a campaign is defined as a systematically organized activity designed to encourage people to do what they want with certain media so that it is right on target and accompanied by an assessment.

According to Antar Venus , what is meant by movement is an effort made within a certain period of time to bring certain changes and influences to social life.

According to Kotler and Roberto , activity is defined as the effort of an individual or a group of people to instill the thoughts, attitudes and behaviors expected of an activist.

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According to Cangara , an awareness campaign is a communication campaign designed to influence the public to understand the behavior of the reporter.

Referring to this definition, we can conclude that a campaign is an act of communication that aims to solicit support. Campaign efforts can be led by individuals or organized groups of people to achieve decision making within a group. Campaigns can also be used to influence, hinder or distort success.

In a democratic political system, a political campaign refers to an election campaign to gain support, where representatives are elected or a referendum is decided. Political Action Political campaigns seek to incorporate organized efforts to change policies within an institution.

Campaign History

The campaign itself has existed since the era of legislative elections in the world of politics. Often, campaigns are initiated by those who are at a disadvantage or oppose the establishment (against more powerful interests, for example). This advocacy phenomenon is closely related to stakeholder groups and political parties.

Democratic communities have regular election campaigns, but political advocacy can be undertaken on some issues even in democracies as long as freedom of speech is permitted. The US election campaigns of the 19th century produced the first mass political parties and created many popular campaigning techniques.

Campaign history is as old as election history. We may never think to measure whether the campaign we have been doing so far is effective. The campaign appears to have devolved into a sketchy legislative election.

It doesn’t matter whether the campaign affects the election results or not, it also answers the question of whether it will affect the future of people’s lives. Do people understand what is conveyed. The campaign becomes an entity to fill its own ego, this is like madness for people who have big money, carry out mass mobilization, rah-rah, ending with power.

Fifty years ago, most people still believed the wrong conclusions about the campaign. They argue that campaigning through the mass media does not help increase public understanding and change behavior.

The second is Hughes’ report (1950) on the failed campaign against the United Nations in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. These two articles have dampened the enthusiasm of media scientists who have spent decades researching and conducting campaigns, and have even made them ignore the phenomenon of campaigns.

In the early second half of the 1970s, interest in experimental campaigns exploded among media professionals, sparking new expectations about the potential of campaigns to promote social change, and the prospects for their research in the communications field.

The optimism especially developed after the results of research conducted by Mendelsohn (Perloff, 1993); Warner (1997); AJ Meyer, Nash, McAlister, Maccoby, and Farquhar (Perry, 2002) have all the research reports published on the research asserting in principle that a well-constructed campaign will have an extraordinary impact on the audience. This period is known as the era of campaign success.

At that time, media professionals realized that the impact of the campaign was more moderate and influenced by various factors. In certain conditions, a campaign program has a high chance of success, but in other cases it fails.

They also realized that the success of the campaign was greatly influenced by the ability of some activists to plan programs and use available resources.

This is completely in accordance with the opinion of Robert E. Simmons (1990), a professor of communication science at Boston University, US, who asserts that success in achieving campaign goals is determined by our ability to plan, implement, and evaluate systematically and strategically campaign programs . Things like that, should depend on theoretical understanding, about different campaign sizes, as well as technical skills to run them.

Campaign Features

Citing the material titled “Campaign and Propaganda” by Agus Purbathin Hadi, campaign practice can be shown through a number of characteristics or elements.

A clear source

The campaign has a clear source, namely the initiator, sender, and person responsible for the campaign product, so that the recipient of the campaign message can identify and assess the credibility of the message source.

Open to discussion

The campaign message is open to discussion, even the main idea behind the implementation of the campaign is open to criticism. This is because the idea and purpose of the campaign basically contains good things for the public.

Based on the principle of persuasion

All actions in campaign activities are based on the principle of persuasion, which is to invite and encourage the community to accept or do something that is organized on a voluntary basis. So, the campaign in principle is an example of real persuasion.

Campaign Purpose

In accordance with the definition of the campaign above, the communication activities in the campaign must be done in an organized and institutionalized manner. The organization can come from the government, private or non-governmental organizations.

  • Fundraising invitation letter for disaster victims.
  • Government recommendations for child immunization.
  • An invitation to a group of people in the community to choose a specific gubernatorial candidate.
  • Recommendations for an athlete to consume certain healthy foods and food supplements.
  • And others.

Campaign Types

There are actually several forms and types of campaigns, but in general campaign activities are carried out with slogans, speeches, print media, logos, radio recordings in the form of voice and television in the form of voice and images.

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The implementation of the campaign was also carried out through internet media as part of the image, which then developed into an effort to share ideas or group problems with the community in the hope of getting answers.

Types of Campaigns Based on their Orientation

1. Product Oriented Campaigns

This is a product-based campaign. This type of campaign is usually done in a commercial setting. This campaign aims to develop a positive image of the products presented to the community.

2. Candidate Oriented Campaigns

This is a candidate-driven campaign. These campaigns are often based on political interests, for example election campaigns and election campaigns.

3. Ideologically or Cause Oriented Campaigns

This campaign is directed at a specific social purpose. As explained by Kotler, social change campaigns aim to overcome various social problems by changing society’s views, attitudes, and behaviors. For example: vaccination campaigns, breastfeeding campaigns, blood donation campaigns, and family planning campaigns.

Types of Campaigns Based on Content

There are several types of campaigns that can be distinguished from the context, among others:

  • Active Campaign 

Campaigns that contain the introduction of products or people for whom the campaign is carried out, usually Transmission information is about good things.

  • Negative Campaign

Negative campaigns are often run by competitors when the content of the campaign shows the absence of products or people. In general, this negative campaign is based on data and events that have happened before.

  • Black Campaign

A black campaign is a campaign that aims to destroy the personality of a person or a product as a competitor. However, the information conveyed in the black campaign is slanderous, lying or accusing without evidence.

The Influence of Television on Campaigns

In terms of campaigns, the mass media, print and electronic newspapers, are campaign channels for politicians. Especially with this current of technology, it seems as if the electronic media has become the main channel to influence public opinion, especially during the election campaign.

This media is growing rapidly along with the development of technology. This is partly because many people have televisions and radios, and some even have access to the Internet. As a result, many parties and candidates will compete in the general election by using campaign facilities or channels through electronic media, especially television.

The Influence of Newspapers on Campaigns

In addition to television, newspapers or print media play a role in shaping public perception. Perception is the process of knowing what we feel from our senses, so that we gain new knowledge from it. Perception is greatly influenced by the information gathered as a whole. Similarly, the image is also fundamentally influenced by the information received and perceived.

Information or news in the mass media is the result of curatorial choices made by the editor-in-chief or executive editor of the newspaper. Newspaper news itself can be interpreted as news about an important event and is considered to attract the attention of the public.

News is part of the information provided by the press. For the presentation of news, you must go through a selection process. Because news content greatly affects the public’s interest in reading.

Due to selection in news making, not all available news or information can be displayed. The news that is published is usually only news that has sales value. This is what sometimes causes the media to be less neutral.

The media only cares about profit, sometimes the media does not pay special attention to small communities. While they have never been touched by the world’s elite.

Patterson concluded that information in newspapers is more effective for the public than television. The presentation of newspapers, in addition to print, is also often visual in the form of news photos, political party symbols, or caricatures. From the assumption it can be seen that the press has a great influence on the political movement.

Based on the results of student research, the prominence of election news through the frequency of news headlines and opposition to elections (OPP) on students’ perceptions of political parties shows a significant influence (Yuniati, 2002).

Repeated messages or news can attract a person’s attention more than just a message with less words. Especially if a news is broadcast simultaneously in several newspapers and on television. In newspapers, big news or major topics are always on the front page with interesting and titillating headlines and supporting photos.

It turns out that the mass media, both newspapers and television, have a very large influence in winning elections. Political communication is most effective through indirect means or using the media. Because the message delivered will be known to many people in all directions simultaneously and can also be repeated.

Perception, interpretation, and public opinion are easily influenced by advertisements and news in the media. Thus, to avoid media dysfunction, the media must be able to mediate between the government, the party elite, and the community.

In this millennial time, where the freedom of the press begins, the press should change its working model, which previously had to “obfuscate” the government, but now must be neutral and become a tool of social criticism for the government.