Category: Nonprofits and Government
Year: 2015 (year submitted)
Indonesians have only just been experiencing democracy after 32 years of dictatorship. Most people never openly disclosed their personal political stances; they tend to call themselves neutral, regardless of their personal beliefs.
In the 2014 presidential election, there were two candidates: Prabowo and Jokowi. Prabowo, a former general in the Special Force, part of the political elite, and husband of the daughter of the late dictator Soeharto, was backed by media tycoons. Meanwhile, Jokowi, the governor of Jakarta with a clean reputation, son of a wood-seller, appealed to the poor, supported local businesses, and had been very active in fighting against corruption.
Regarding the presidential election, Indonesians were divided into two types: Political party and/or organization activists -- those whose political stance was clear and consistent -- and The Floating Mass – the larger population that is indecisive and has volatile political stances.
The road to the presidency is determined by winning the votes of The Floating Mass. Jokowimania was centered on the fact that the votes of The Floating Mass were highly influenced by emotional factors rather than rational ones.
One month before the election, the population was flooded with smear campaigns to discredit Jokowi, which had created a significant impact. Indonesians are sensitive towards ethnicity and religious issues, and right after being announced as a residential candidate, Jokowi’s popularity dropped rapidly.
Therefore, it needed to be established that Jokowi is a leader who brings new hope; he supports changes, is devoted to the people, is action-oriented and cultured. Building this perception was the main objective, along with making audiences feel proud of Jokowi because he represents the people. The campaign also wanted to generate active participation from the audience, having them join the effort and use their own creativity.
Jokowi’s supporters among the Floating Mass needed to be invited to proudly and openly express their support for him during the campaign period. It would bring back confidence in him and further influence other Floating Mass members to give their support.
The campaign targeted young adults -- urban, middle class Indonesians with higher education. These people were relatively independent in their way of thinking and their opinions. Amongst them there was a special group of people, referred to as Opinion Leaders. Their specific psychographic characteristics were that they were active on social media including Facebook, Twitter, Path, and Instagram. They have a high number of followers, so they are able to amplify any messages sent to them.
The idea was brought to life by a series of comic book covers featuring Jokowi that could be spread organically on social media, the most effective and efficient method to get national reach in a short period of time.
They depicted Jokowi as a people and action-oriented leader in light-hearted and idyllic campaign materials, enabling audiences to express their support and amplify their message enthusiastically. They highlighted his strengths by leveraging Jokowi’s iconic 'rolled-up sleeves' and his character's similarity with Tintin's action-oriented and problem solving skills. In fact, the logo was created based on Jokowi’s habit of rolling-up his sleeves. The tagline of the campaign was “Roll-up your sleeves, support Jokowi-JK.”
His famous habit of ‘Blusukan’ (impromptu walkabouts) became the campaign theme as a reason to believe in an action-oriented character. Nineteen versions of the comic book cover: “The Story of Jokowi’s Impromptu Walkabout", were shared on social media. They told truthful stories of Jokowi’s walkabouts, touching Indonesia’s diverse cultures and current campaign issues.
The high-res files were accessible on gulunglenganbajumu.com, which also functioned as the data bank for co-creation materials.
People were invited not only to vote, but also to actively support him. On social media, audiences were invited to act by sharing and downloading materials and reproducing them voluntarily, for free. They were also invited to contribute original creations to amplify the campaign and tag and mention the Opinion Leaders to further spread the message. Later on, when the campaign had taken the nation by storm and Jokowi’s supporters had followed Jokowimania, the campaign organically went viral.
The campaign budget was very small, and consisted only of a webhosting fee of US$120. Other activities that involved social media were conducted through agency members’ personal accounts, and thus, free.
Finally, the campaign created a final edition, “Jokowi The 7th President,” showing the glorious celebration of Jokowi’s winning. Later on, this picture became reality, as the new president, just after he was sworn in, rode in a carriage and was greeted by his people in the streets on his way to the Presidential Palace. He is the first elected president in Indonesia to ever have done this.
Because of the smear campaign, Jokowi's lead over Prabowo in the presidential electability poll had fallen, from 20 percent in early April 2014 to 10 percent in early June. The marketing effort began in early June 2014.
With almost zero budget, the campaign gained US$250,000 in media value with coverage in more than eighty different major mass media, locally and globally, including cover stories.
And, of course, Jokowi won the election.