Does Political PR Pay?

January 5, 2009 at 21:20 1 comment

The campaign for the general elections scheduled for February might be on hold for the moment due to the operation in Gaza. Nonetheless, the posters went up before the chips were down, so billboards and various facades and walls all over the country are still adorned with messages to the electorate from the different parties.

They provide some food for thought. For instance: how much do Israeli politicians pay their PR people?

Kadima has a line of posters featuring a young highly retouched and airbrushed woman with a vague resemblance to Tzipi Livni. One of the posters’ more Obamaesque slogans reads: “the courage to change”. Interestingly enough, the first Kadima posters went up without Livni’s image in the version plastered all over Jerusalem. This was presumably done out of concern that the face of a woman (any woman, not just Livni) would anger the Haredi population and alienate them from Kadima.

One is tempted to ask what she has the courage to change, if she can’t even break the ban on depictions of women in public spaces in the capital.

Kadima isn’t the only party that has been inspired by the American elections. Likud has designed a web page whose similarity to Obama’s  can’t be purely coincidental, and Shas has even produced posters with the rather familiar slogan “Yes, we can”.

Apparently, it’s not meant to be the answer to the question: “Can we come up with an original concept for our election campaign?”

The Labor Party may not be original either, but at least its PR people have chosen to go for a campaign with a little bit of complexity this time around. People in their cars or on buses, waiting at the traffic lights on the major through-fares in Tel Aviv, can enjoy a series of revolving billboards with the image of Ehud Barak accompanied by the slogan: “Not Sympathetic”. After a few seconds, the billboard revolves, and another picture of Barak shows up, this time together with the text “Not Trendy”. Then, when the billboard revolves again, the punchline is revealed in the last billboard, announcing: “But a Leader”.

Unfortunately, by that time the lights have changed, and the commuters have driven off wondering why the Labor Party thought it wise to remind us that the Minister of Defense is neither sympathetic, nor trendy.

All in all — judging by this year’s election posters — it seems that the answer to the question how much the politicians pay their PR men is: too much.

Or, quite possibly, not nearly enough.


Entry filed under: Politics.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Decision Time « A Blog of Two Cities  |  January 14, 2009 at 07:10

    […] however, it’s a completely different ballgame. None of the parties running makes me really enthusiastic – most of them just annoy me, and a few of them are actually quite […]


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