Show Me Your Billboard, I Tell Who You Are
Category : Uncategorized
PARTIES programs are widely analysed either by media or analytical institutions. However, its not the programme that gets to the most people. I can hardly imagine hundreds of thousands people downloading the PDFs full of balast from party web.
That is why parties invest in billboards. It is literally impossible not to see dozen of them just by commuting to work. Interestengly enough I believe that the billboard campaign can tell more about a party than any political program. Exactly because the masses it reaches.
So I looked a little more into the billboard campaign that certain slovak political parties (the biggest ones) are doing (see a sample in the gallery attached). Firstly what I seen, and then what I found.
SMER-SD – is promoting its top government member with some meaningless mottos. However, they don´t promise anything. They don´t say “we will ensure…” or “we will do…” More interestingely, SMER is not even bragging themselves with the biggest success of their government. Why is that? Usually the main coalition party uses governments success as the campaing base. Remember SDKU-DS in 2006? All the big talking about how they got the nation in the EU, NATO, etc.. Or do people in SMER realize that there is not so much to be proud of?
SDKU-DS: Another illuminative story. The main role in their billboard campaign is not played by any party leaders. You can see pictures of family or students, very rarely there is a face of its leader Iveta Radicova. Are there too few leaders in the party? No, I think the point is that the campaign managers are too embarassed to put Ivan Miklos (no.2 on the list) or Mikulas Dzurinda (still the party president) public. I think they know very well that these figures and their past would have a strong disgusting effect on voters.
KDH gives an ambiguous impression. On the one side its paradox that Christian Democrats came closest to a negative campaign by saying “We are a way without different scandals of the incumbent government.” Not a light brew of what is going on in Czech republic, but fair enough. However, their posters look like from 80´s. If it comes to colours or slogans its a disaster. I don´t know whether the white colour is meant to be a symbol of purity, but any vocational high school freshmen would do better.
MOST-HÍD shows nothing special comparing to its competitors. Some of the posters are bilingual (party claims to be the first real slovak-hungarian one) and most of them are of a bright orange colour that is a bit refreshing. What I find the most striking element is a billboard saying “Because of Bugar/ Because of Bela.” (The party president and founder). This is pushing borders of political campaign somewhere it should not be. At least not in year 2010. Even if we admit that everybody voted for HZDS because of Meciar, he did not have a billboard reading “because of Vlado.” Can you imagine Nick Clegg saying “Vote me, not because I can do something, not because I have a vision, but vote for me because of me???”
HZDS-ĽS– just a short comment here. I could not find a single poster without Vladimir Meciar (party president and founder). Makes me think of the party as one-man project, unable to survive its founder. By the way, Robert Fico is on every single SMER billboard as well.
SNS has started its billboard campaing only couple of days ago with a controversal racist poster with apicture of a black guy on it and slogan “Why should we feed those who do not want to work?” Another pieces are also very emotional, stressing the nation, national defence or the future of nation. Playing with an emotional card has always meant plus points for SNS. On top of that, I doubt there is anybody capable of rational arguments in the party. As was the case with “blues,” SNS has not showed its leaders on posters (except of R.Pucik). The fact that there is a lot to be ashamed of, will unfortunately not deprive Slovak National Party of most of its voters.
The billboard campaign in Slovakia is boring, too simple and I bet it will prove uneffective. Comparing to Czech republic its like there was no campaign at all.
Design of the posters is a disaster, colours are shady and more repelling than attracting. If it comes to slogans, you could freely disarrange them among the parties without nobody noticing. Because its all the same (except SNS).
Apparantly, political parties uses their posters neither to mobilise own voters nor to persuade new ones. Billboards that are already out could have only one function – saying people there are some political parties. Well, to be exact, its more kind of whispering.
Unfortunately, I am afraid there is a deeper structural problem behind all of that. Slovak parties agreed on kind of cartel with no true interest in people or its needs. The main drive force is power and that remains the same no matter what the election turnout is. To put it simplier – if you have system full of thiefs and robbers, being silent is much more profitable than pointing at each other.
Even if there´s no law and order in effect anymore.