Posters and Election Propaganda About this blog

Posters and Election Propaganda

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

Tagged as “South Africa”

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Posted by Steven Seidman at 11:15AM   |  Add a comment
COPE Election Poster, South Africa (2009) (

Between 10 and 5
is a blog that showcases South African graphic design work from agencies, freelancers, illustrators, and artists.


Check out the political posters, and their slogans ("hope" and "change" were prominent), displayed recently by clicking here.




Posted by Steven Seidman at 1:10PM   |  Add a comment
Obama (USA, 2008) & Netanyahu (Israel, 2009) Web sites (

Political Web sites all over the world have copied Barack Obama's very successful site—in their designs, color schemes, features, and more! Regardless of their position on the political spectrum, parties and candidates have found that Obama-like sites are effective ones.

Shane D'Aprile, in an article for Politics magazine (April 2009, pp. 26-32; 34; 36-37), mentions some examples of such sites:

  • Benjamin Netanyahu (Israel): Obamaesque red buttons on a blue background; "Likud-TV" instead of "Obama TV"; and social-networking ("Netanyahu Everywhere" rather than "Obama Everywhere"). (
  • Fianna Fáil (Ireland): Lots of green, but also Obama-type interactive buttons for volunteers, with the site designed by Blue State Digital (which also designed the Obama site). (
  • Democratic Alliance (South Africa): A logo that has a sun and stripes on a home page with a slogan "change"; buttons to donate, volunteer, etc. (
  • Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (El Salvador): More stripes and buttons to donate and view videos. (

Other groups—in India, Great Britain, and Germany—also have borrowed Web ideas from the Obama campaign. According to Ron Dermer, an adviser to Netanyahu, "imitation is the greatest form of flattery. We're all in the same business, so we took a close look at a guy who has been successful and tried to learn from him." (quoted in


Posted by Steven Seidman at 2:36PM   |  Add a comment
ANC, "A better life for all" (1994) (Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies, Northwestern University)

The party of Nelson Mandela—the African National Congress (ANC)—appears to have won a resounding victory again in the South African parliamentary elections held this week. Although ballots are still being counted, the ANC has 67% of the vote, with the Democratic Alliance (a moderate party supported by many whites) and the Congress of the People (formed by a group that broke away from the ANC) trailing badly (16% and 8%, respectively). The only uncertainty is whether or not the ANC will achieve the 2/3 majority needed to make constitutional changes.

The campaign was relatively peaceful and there was an 80% turnout of voters. About 1/3 of the voting population is 18-29, and the ANC's leadership in the battle to end apartheid helps it with many of the younger voters. Many rallies—with posters, banners, and music—were held and were calculated to appeal to this group.

The leader of the ANC is Jacob Zuma, who will undoubtedly be elected president of the country by the parliament, since only a majority vote is required in this election. Zuma headed the ANC's internal security unit during the anti-apartheid struggle.

In 1994, Mandela was elected the first president of South Africa, after apartheid ended. In that election, the ANC won 63% of the total vote. The Mandela campaign was advised by American political consultant Stan Greenberg, who had helped with Bill Clinton’s presidential election in the United States two years earlier. Greenberg utilized focus groups heavily to determine the campaign’s main theme—that the ANC was an “agent of change,” not a “liberation movement.” In addition, he advised Mandela to soften his image. This image management can be seen in the poster  of Mandela surrounded by children of all races—the smiling, grandfatherly change agent who would work to help all the people look forward to a brighter future for their children. Along with the image manipulation, however, came specific goals: “2.5 million new jobs and 1 million new housing units within five years.”

Nowadays, campaigns are generally being run by South African consultants. They frequently chose posters, as well as radio spots and newspaper advertisements, to convey their messages, since paid TV spots were prohibited during parliamentary election campaign periods.

For more on the political history and elections of South Africa, see the book, Posters, Propaganda, and Persuasion in Election Campaigns Around the World and Through History.

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