As New Year rolled in, elections got going in earnest with political parties launching open air ad campaigns in streets of Tallinn.
As observed by Ivo Rull, head of PR firm Rull & Rumm and author of a book on populism – «Populismist» – a city wallpapered party style comes as no surprise. «Again, the wealthier parties have covered the capitals intersections, street sides and house fronts with the faces of their candidates and sentences slightly simplistic,» he said.
Technically speaking, Mr Rull thinks this year’s visual top is the strong Centre Party propaganda.
«On the poster, Mr Savisaar looks a whopping decade younger than his latest press photos. In addition to the slogan («Teeme teisiti» i.e. Let’s Do It Different), the poster also features a direct address to voters («Anna Edgarile/Olgale/Reinule võimalus!» i.e. Give Edgar/Olga/Rein a Chance!),» said the PR-person.
Part of Centre Party’s election posters come in two languages.
«For the most part, the campaign is still an Estonian language one, a foreign language has not been added. With the Olga Ivanova ad hanging above streets, language requirements have been fulfilled, the Estonian language text is not worse observable than the foreign language text; rather, it is better observable being closer to the viewer,» commented Language Inspectorate chief Ilmar Tomusk.
«When it comes to the placement of the text, the Estonian language indeed is not the priority. However, should we swap the texts, looking from beneath Estonian language would come second and then one might claim Estonian is seen worse than the foreign language. Thus, at this given instance, we will not launch proceedings,» he added.
According to Mr Rull, with outdoor ads people need to be aware of the costs thereof. «Layout included, showing a large format poster in city space for a week costs about €500. Knowing that, the IRL posters promising up to €830 savings a year by their tax reform sound a bit petty,» he noted.
In the opinion of Mr Rull, soc dems are the most playful in their campaigning. «The grimace of Andres Anvelt harmonises with the Eerik-Niiles Kross face filling Tallinn at last local elections. Rainer Vakra is doing this thumb thing and Mart Meri limits himself to exposing left side of face,» he said to point out a few.
When it comes to Reform Party, they are firmly loyal to their own established style. «No tricks, no risks really,» said the specialist.
The EKRE posters are to the IRL tune but bad in layout, thinks Mr Rull. «EKRE has done especially badly with the pictures of those running,» judges Mr Rull.
«While wallpapering the city with large format posters, all parties mainly aim at establishing themselves in the (sub)consciousness of voters as big, powerful and potent. Alas, a large part of the more simpleminded voters may indeed be manipulated by such communication,» said Mr Rull to summarise to the campaign thus far.