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Electing Capitalism, or, Pepino and Cold Chicken


A few more bits on the "election" campaign. I noted an article in yesterday's Lidové noviny (15 May) about advertising campaigns that are capitalizing on campaign ads. At least three companies have launched ads that involve election themes, and some of these schemes are amusing.

Vote Eurotel
Eurotel (one of the three major mobile phone companies in the Czech Republic) ran TV ads in April that asked, "Volím Eurotel, a koho volíte vy?" (I'm voting for Eurotel. What about you?) Eurotel spokesperson Mirka Mikulíková told LN, "Our campaign ended in mid-April and had no connection to the elections. It was an acquisition campaign to attract new customers." Well, it was certainly a rather close coincidence. But this one is probably the most uninteresting of the three.

Elect Mr. Cool
Upon checking the mail when I got back home from my trip to Budapest and Vienna, I found a plain white envelope with "2006 Elections" stamped on the outside in a red sans-serif font. This might be similar to the election packets that eligible voters receive in the mail here before elections. Inside was a picture of a perfectly roasted chicken and the slogan, "Vote for Vodňany Chicken—we offer you a palatable [stravitelný] candidate." The candidate is "MVDr. Chicken Cooled, Csc."—well, at least they have credentials.

The inside of the glossy brochure offers ten points about how "We fulfill what others promise." These points include: finance (sensible prices), security (no bird flu), science and research (development of "chicken ham"), agriculture (they only use Czech chickens), and regional politics (they give Czechs jobs).

More than a bit of Euroskepticism hides just under the neo-nationalism.

The Safer Sex Party
Given the bizarre candidates in the 2004 campaign for the European Parliament—these included a "Poet’s party," adults dressed up as babies, a candidate for "Czech King" from the royalty party, and a porn star—I suppose this one is to be expected. It is still a bit bizarre, however.

Safe Sex Party campaign billboards proclaim, "We are seeking partners across the political spectrum." The Safe Sex ad campaign is from the Olza Trading company, a the manufacturer of "Pepino" condoms. We take our inspiration from life," explains Olza's director Josef Vybranec. "Even in a family home the wife does not always vote for the same party as the husband." According to LN, not only does the party have over four thousand registered members already, but it is also supported by eight candidates for parliamentary deputies. (?) In fact, according to these statistics, the Safe Sex Party could the fifth largest! (At about 88,000 the Communists have the most registered members, although that is only because they are the most organized and demand allegiance from their members. I suspect that most Czechs would be loathe to be locked in to a particular party unless it was necessary.)

This may not be as ridiculous as it sounds at first. According to their Web site, Pepino is requesting members of the Czech Parliament to "symbolically" join their party to help fight HIV-AIDS. In order to join, the members are asked to contribute between 1,000 and 50,000 crowns to charities that Pepino supports. The campaign also hopes to encourage a number of demonstrations in clubs to raise awareness of STDs. A picture of a recent SSP demo in Ostrava (note the people dressed as condoms/ghosts):


There is no hidden message to this post. It is only reportage.

The LN article was by Hana Mášová. The pictures are by Jesse (except the one from the SSP demonstration, which I downloaded from their Web site).

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