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Posters and Election Propaganda

A blog dedicated to the examination of communications in election campaigns, with a focus on posters

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Posted by Steven Seidman at 7:30PM   |  Add a comment
Tsai Facebook Page Photograph


Piggy banks, posters, billboards, videos, and Facebook groups are all propaganda vehicles in Taiwan, which will hold its presidential and legislative elections on January 14, 2012. 

This week, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen decried her party's lack of funds, comparing its plight in the campaign to "a piglet fighting against a huge monster." That "monster" is the ruling Kuomintang Party (KMT), which toppled the DDP from power in the 2008 elections. Next to Tsai, while she spoke, was a giant piggy bank, and supporters threw money on the stage on which she was giving her speech.  

The DPP is selling plastic piggy banks to raise funds, and purchasers stuff money into them and send them back to party headquarters. In addition, a "piggy assembly" is scheduled to be held in December, at which more "stuffed piggies" will be returned. The goal is to sell and collect at least 10,000 piggy banks, according to an article posted on the Asia One News Web site. Another article—in the Taipei Times—stated that the party wanted to distribute 100,000!

President Ma Ying-jeou of the KMT is running for re-election. Also in the race is James Soong of the People First Party (PFP), who may draw votes away from the KMT candidate, giving the presidency to the DPP. A recent poll indicated that the race would be close, with Ma holding a 3.7-point lead over Tsai.

The posters and billboards for these candidates—and those running for seats in the legislature—are sometimes big and brash, using some interesting visual- and verbal-exaggeration techniques. These include puns, loud color, startling facial expressions, and unusual props and poses—such as a stethoscope, a bicycle, and a ping pong paddle, as well as a runner about to begin his race. But a 3 minute and 20 second video-ad for Tsai has gentle music and shows her happily riding a bicycle. For a good selection of posters and billboards already up in this year's campaign, see Michael Turton's blog, The View from Taiwan.

For more on the history of election campaigns in Taiwan and the posters, billboards, and other media used, see my book, Posters, Propaganda, and Persuasion in Election Campaigns Around the World and Through History

 

 


Posted by Steven Seidman at 10:30AM   |  Add a comment
George Romney Campaign Bumper Sticker (1968) (4President.org)

Mitt Romney is trying to win the Republican nomination this year—as he did in 2008. He is following in the footsteps of his father, George, who attempted to win the GOP nomination in 1968.

George Romney, like his son, was a governor (of Michigan, rather than Massachusetts, which Mitt governed). George's main opponents for the '68 nomination were Richard Nixon (formerly vice president), Nelson Rockefeller (governor of New York), and Ronald Reagan (governor of California).

In his November 18, 1967 announcement, George said, "I have given my life to the poetry of decisions and work" and stressed the need for leadership and his "concern" about America. Many campaigns have stressed this—before and since. But he went further, talking about "aimlessness and flabbiness" in society, citing "obsolete welfare policies," inflation, and rising crime, drug, and alcoholism rates. He added that "the richest nation in the world is in a fiscal mess." His slogan: "For a Better America!" (for the entire announcement speech, see 4president.org)

Now that sounds familiar! His son, Mitt, now says: "The mission to restore America begins with getting our fiscal house in order. President Obama has put our nation on an unsustainable course. Spending is out of control. Yearly deficits are massive. And unless we curb Washington’s appetite for spending, the national debt will grow to the size of our entire economy this year." His slogan: "Believe in America." (see mittromney.com)

Unfortunately for George Romney, his campaign to become the Republican nominee, and then president, was destroyed by his admission to a reporter that he had been "brainwashed" by the military and diplomats into supporting the Vietnam War, which he then turned against, in terms of the U.S. intervening. His support evaporated and he withdrew as a candidate at the end of February, 1968. Subsequently, Nixon easily won both his party's nomination and the presidency later that year.

 

 


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