SINGAPORE — The heightened importance of multimedia content and social media in last month’s General Election campaign was clear, from the expenses filed by the political parties with the Elections Department.
Items such as Twitter engagement and Facebook ads, not seen in expenses for previous elections, surfaced this time around. The People’s Action Party (PAP), which won 69.9 per cent of the vote share and 83 of the 89 seats, spent S$1,500 on “influencer engagement” and about S$2,700 on Twitter engagement and Facebook ads.
Its candidates also underwent media training, which cost S$14,761. Candidate video filming cost another S$141,090, and nearly S$60,000 was spent developing the party’s mobile application.
The ruling party spent S$50,000 on “manifesto package messaging”, S$10,000 on filming for its manifesto launch and S$30,000 on its final manifesto video.
At the party level — which does not include some expenses at the constituency level — the PAP spent about S$1.679 million on advertising and printing of promotional materials, about 40 per cent more than in 2011.
The PAP was not alone. The Singapore Democratic Party chalked up S$6,000 on Facebook marketing and another S$3,025 to engage an Australian IT advisory firm for a “2015 elections campaign communications proposal”, which was delivered in August.
The political parties also maintained the more traditional forms of outreach, spending significant sums on posters and banners, as well as newsletters and postage. They also distributed flyers door-to-door.
The public may inspect the expenses reports at the Elections Department for six months from Mondays to Fridays from 9am to 5pm. It costs S$2 to inspect each set of candidate returns.