Saturday, December 17, 2011

Political Advertising in Peru

Good news: In Peru, there are hardly any billboards with ads for Coca-Cola, Pepsi, chips, chewing gum, and other similar products. In fact, the few ads that we saw were all concentrated in and around airports and bus stations.

Bad news: Where typically you would see those ads, instead, you will see a painting or poster promoting a political party. Those ads were everywhere: painted on the walls both of abandoned buildings and inhabited houses, etched into the side of mountains, and (less often) on billboards or bumper stickers.

I found it particularly curious that the Peruvians didn’t mind having their houses “decorated” with those kinds of paintings, especially since I found many of the ads ugly. I guess that shows how passionate the Peruvians are about whom they support politically.

Another peculiar thing about the ads was that each of them contained an image–a pictogram–depicting what the party stands for (e.g., there was a soccer party, a shovel party, a sunshine party, a bread party, a coconut party, and many other–equally interesting–parties). I found those images amusing and tried to take photos of as many of them as possible to share here with you. I hope you’ll enjoy them too!

In case you wonder why each party has a pictogram next to its name, the answer is quite simple. The voting ballots contain a list of parties alongside with logos, and the voters indicate their preference by marking a cross through that logo. I’m not sure if that means that there are many illiterate people in Peru, or if the government simply wants to make voting for everybody as easy as possible. In either case, I think the logos are a great idea.

The presidential elections were won by Ollanta Humala, a Peruvian Nationalist Party candidate. While doing research for this blog post, I learned that Ollanta’s party used non-permanent tattoos as one of their marketing tools.