Bill Hyers talks of the importance of clear messages and the role of television in political campaigns

Bill Hyers has become one of the most sought after political consultants and strategists in the United States, following his great successes in the Philadelphia mayoral campaign (2007), in Barak Obama’s presidential campaign in Pennsylvania (2012) and in Bill de Blasio’s mayoral campaign in New York (2013) making him the first democratic mayor the big apple had seen following over twenty years of Republican rule.

Hyers travelled for the first time to Barcelona this week to give a lecture to students on UPF Barcelona School of Management’s Master in Political Communication . “It’s a pleasure to be able to hear the opinion of a true professional such as Hyers, who has shown us just how much he knows about political communication and given us a perspective directly from the United States, which is without doubt one of the countries that contributes most to, and is most innovative in, political strategy and communication. And that is something that those wishing to work in this sector mustn’t miss,” stated Carles Pont, the Master’s co-director.

The conference given by Hyers attracted current students and alumni from political communication, as well as lecturers and students on other masters. Hyers spoke to them about the North American campaigns and the importance of carrying out solid fieldwork and obtaining a good budget, about research and analysis in order to help showcase the candidate. The campaign for Bill de Blasio is his best example. His history helped him to progress up the ladder to win the elections. (His father was an official in the Second World War who, overwhelmed by his situation and alcoholism, committed suicide. A sudden journey to Nicaragua, a poetic wife who by the end of the seventies had declared her lesbianism, a wedding officiated by two gay vicars, an exuberant Afro-American son urging the vote for his father.)

Hyers highlighted the importance of clear messages in political campaigns. “The message put forward is not always the same as what is received.” That is why the transparency of the message is key in television advertisements for political campaigns,” he states.

Hyers also spoke about the growing importance of social networks during campaigns, but he insisted that television still causes most impact when talking politics.