About this blog
A blog dedicated to the examination of communications in election campaigns, with a focus on posters
Friday, February 12, 2010
Poland will elect its next president in October by direct vote to serve a five-year term, and the campaign has already begun. Although the president does not have much power, he or she can veto legislation.
Poland's election campaigns are much influenced by American political marketing practices and by its consultants. For example, Tomasz Nalecz of the center-left Social Democratic Party (SDPL), erected billboards that featured not only his portrait but also that of Barack Obama. Nalecz was placed in front of the country's presidential palace with its equestrian statue of Prince Józef Poniatowski, and Obama has the U.S. Capitol behind him. Both look out at the voters, smiling. According to Jan Cienski, the billboard is controversial because permission to use Obama's photograph was not obtained. Nalecz's campaign maintains, however, that the photo is in the public domain.
American political techniques have influenced parties of the right, as well. In 2006, for instance, the Law and Justice party, was known for the “spin-doktorzy” practices by its strategists, Adam Bielan and Michal Kaminski, who also copied ads from the Reagan campaign, according to Cienski.
Other American campaign strategies, such as using social-networking sites, have also been used. The SDPL, for example, has a Facebook group.
Posters have been used extensively in Polish political campaigns, including by Solidarity, which displayed large posters (some of which were torn down by police, according to the party), as well as banners, TV spots, radio programs, bumper stickers, buttons, leaflets, and newspapers in its campaigns. In a special Solidarity poster for the 1989 campaign, Gary Cooper (as the American sheriff in the film High Noon) was shown with a ballot in one hand, instead of a pistol, along with the message “It’s high noon, June 4, 1989.”
To read more about Polish politics and posters, going back to the thirteenth century, see my book, Posters, Propaganda, and Persuasion in Election Campaigns Around the World and Through History.
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