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Posters and Election Propaganda

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

Tagged as “Mitt Romney”

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Posted by Steven Seidman at 2:46PM   |  Add a comment
Romney-Ryan Logo

Today, Mitt Romney added Congressman Paul Ryan to the Republican national ticket, with a new slogan, "America's Comeback Team," and a new logo. The logo does not use the large, stylized "R" in the presidential candidate's name for the VP selection; rather it allows Ryan to "keep" his own "R" (albeit a smaller, simpler one).

The slogan is reminiscent of Democrat Bill Clinton being termed the "Comeback Kid" by the media, after he did well in the 1992 New Hampshire Primary, although the Romney-Ryan slogan is a Reaganesque call for America to return to "greatness" under new leadership.


Posted by Steven Seidman at 9:44AM   |  Add a comment
"Windsurfing" (Bush-Cheney '04)


In 2004, the George W. Bush campaign produced one of the most devastating attack ads ever run. The "Windsurfing" ad was a 30-second spot that depicted Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry as a "flip-flopping, windsurfing elitist," who changed his positions to try to increase his support from voters. Kerry was shown windsurfing to the left and right, to symbolize his supposedly changing stances on the war in Iraq, and funding for troops, educational reform, and medicare premiums. These and other ads might have made the difference in President Bush's narrow margin of victory, which was 3 percent in the popular vote and 6 percent in the Electoral College. Click on this link to view the "Windsurfing" ad:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbdzMLk9wHQ

Now, in 2011, the Democratic National Committee has already run a similar 30-second spot ad, directed against a candidate who has not even been nominated yet (and may not be): Republican Mitt Romney. The "Trapped" ad pits "Mitt vs. Mitt" on abortion and health reform, stating that Romney (like Kerry) is "willing to say anything" to get elected. Click on this link to view the "Trapped" ad: http://www.youtube.com/user/DemocraticVideo#p/u/0/CUOM9QvhG5I

Such attacks can be effective, since they can get voters to question the "character" of candidates.


Posted by Steven Seidman at 3:10PM   |  Add a comment
"Obama Isn't Working" (http://www.mittromney.com, 2011)

Mitt Romney's campaign has now borrowed from the British Conservative Party's very successful campaign that brought Margaret Thatcher and her party to power in 1979. Romney's Website features an "Obama Isn't Working" banner that is almost identical to a British poster used more than thirty years ago.

The 1979 campaign in Great Britain was marked by the aggressive and innovative advertising campaign for the Conservatives devised by Saatchi & Saatchi, and its “Labour Isn’t Working” poster was the key element. The firm’s Tim Bell (whom Thatcher later knighted for his efforts) was given the account and he decided to emphasize emotions, not issues, which would appeal to voters—an approach that was hardly new.

In 1979, high inflation, strikes, unemployment, declining market shares in many industries, monetary devaluation, and skyrocketing oil prices plagued the Labour government. In fact, many of the same problems beset U.S. President Jimmy Carter at the end of the decade. As a result (and with effective political marketing specialists aiding the conservatives in the two countries), both Carter and Labour lost power to Reagan and Thatcher. The faltering British economy and the Tories’ advertising strategy clearly convinced many voters to side with Thatcher’s party, which increased its share of the vote from 36 percent in the previous election to almost 44 percent (while Labour’s share declined from 39 percent to 37 percent).

As Maurice Saatchi said years later, "in great advertising, as in great art, simplicity is all … [with] simple themes, simple messages, simple visual images."

As both U.S. parties have acknowledged, jobs and the economy are the dominant issues in the 2012 campaign. And imagery—even if borrowed—may play a role in determining the election outcome.

For more on the 1978-1979 election campaign in Great Britain, 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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