Tagged 'politics'

JetBlue’s ‘Election Protection’ adds levity to campaign season

As partisan anxiety ramps up in the period leading up to a major election, some brands have found ways to inject a bit of lightheartedness into the weighty moment. In 2010, as the U.K. prepared for a general election, IKEA’s website presented “kitchen designs inspired by our would-be PMs”; e.g., the design for Brown, dubbed Brün, was “durable and prudent for the economically conscious.” 7-Eleven has been running the “7-Election” for four presidential elections in the U.S.—a concept it’s also taken to other markets—with coffee buyers choosing cups based on their candidate of choice. “Get your steaming hot cup of democracy,” says the website, which displays current results (favoring Obama at present).

Now JetBlue is jumping into the fray, inspired by the frequently heard comments about leaving for another country if one’s candidate loses. With the “Election Protection” promotion, the airline is giving away 1,006 round-trip international flights to partisans disappointed by the election results. People indicate their preferred party online and are entered into the sweepstakes only if that candidate loses next month. “Live free or fly” is the tagline in a spot that shows people on the street vowing to take off if the election doesn’t go their way. With consumer concern heightening as polls predict a close election, voters will welcome a little levity, if not a chance to really escape if the worst-case scenario comes to pass.

American propaganda posters repurposed for political protest

During World War II, propaganda posters represented America’s unity: It was “us vs. them” during a difficult time. Today’s Americans may also feel they live in difficult times, with the economic climate enduringly bleak and the nation’s leaders mired in partisan bickering. But if there’s an “us vs. them” mentality, it’s a sense of the people vs. big institutions, especially the government. Americans feel deserted by their leaders—perceived as putting political interests before those of the people—and there’s no longer a sense that we’re all on the same team. (For instance, in a JWT survey conducted last year using our propriety online tool SONAR™, almost 8 in 10 expressed dissatisfaction with the government and only 12 percent viewed Congress favorably.)

In response, the 2-year-old Chamomile Tea Party has bought backlit platform ad space in the Washington, D.C., Metro to display posters inspired by WWII-era propaganda, speaking out against Washington’s partisan bickering and stalemates. For example, one headline reads: “I lost my job… And my home and my health care and my retirement and my self-esteem, while you played party politics.” The organization, founded by a graphic designer, is dedicated to disrupting partisan gridlock. The posters are bold and striking in tone and imagery. And by harking back to old propaganda messaging, they remind us of a time when America came together, a sobering contrast to the divisiveness of today. As the election nears, it will be interesting to see if other organizations or marketers tap into Americans’ discontent with and anxiety over the status quo.

Photo Credit: outtacontext

Mexican insurer GNP backs controversial viral video urging politicians to stop crime, corruption

Mexicans are pessimistic about their future. Crime, violence and corruption have become pervasive, and the upcoming presidential elections have only deepened anxiety (the Los Angeles Times reports, “Many Mexicans are utterly disillusioned with the candidates and dismayed at the choices before them”). Last month, a compelling video that quickly went viral asked the candidates, “Are you striving only for the [presidential] chair, or will you change the future of our country?” Interestingly, while the four-minute film features no branding, the insurance company GNP is spearheading the group behind it, Nuestro México del Futuro (Our Future Mexico).

Acclaimed director Mario Muñoz made the dystopian film, which takes viewers through a day in urban Mexico as child actors dressed like adults commit armed robbery and kidnappings, protest and riot, attempt to flee to the U.S., and even take cover from a drive-by shooting. Finally, a girl speaks directly into the camera, saying “If this is the future I can look forward to, I don’t want anything to do with it” and calls on the presidential contenders to stop making empty promises. The video concludes with the text, “We’re millions of Mexicans who want a better future” and directs viewers to the group’s site.

The video struck a chord, racking up millions of views in a few days, and became a hot topic on media outlets and among political leaders; it was banned from television and pulled from YouTube. GNP, one of the country’s biggest insurers, has been subtle about its connection to the initiative, with no overt mention of it on the company’s website, but some of the Nuestro México del Futuro videos (this, for example) are branded.

While the video could be said to foster anxiety, the website is more positive, telling visitors, “You can change the future of Mexico.” People can submit their visions for the future using various digital tools and could also weigh in via a truck that traveled the country. The initiative is an innovative way to help Mexicans feel less helpless and more assured that at least one of the country’s institutions is seeking solutions.

Time for Manhattan Mini Storage to retire its Tea Party dig?

storage-in-manhattan-newest-adManhattan Mini Storage, a local personal storage company with a knack for humorous and occasionally politically provocative ads (with an anti-Republican bent), is currently running an out-of-home ad riffing on the Tea Party movement: An image of a dainty teacup and teapot features copy reading “Until it’s safe to have a tea party again.” I saw the ad a few weeks ago on the subway, and it gave me a little chuckle.

But in the wake of the anxiety surrounding the tragic shootings in Tucson and the rising concern over America’s heated political rhetoric, Manhattan Mini Storage and its legacy of East Coast highbrow right-wing jabs seem less amusing. Media commentators and politicians are calling for a mellowing of the discourse. Given their role in society, American brands could take a cue from efforts abroad that address anxieties rather than add to the divisiveness, even if lightheartedly.

Photo Credit: http://blog.manhattanministorage.com/our-newest-a/