Monday, February 20, 2012

The Sarkozy Campaign Poster Gaffe

In the Age of the Internet, you just can't get away with anything. It seems that the Sarkozy campaign purchased a background image for its campaign poster, "La France Forte," showing Sarko posed against an azure sky. But an alert viewer checked out the digital version posted by Le Figaro and discovered that the sea in the background is the Aegean. Since the whole theme of Sarkozy's campaign is to present himself as the one man tough enough to administer the dose of austerity allegedly capable of saving France from becoming Greece, the selection of this particular background is indeed unfortunate.


Mitch Guthman said...

My not being French may be significant here but I don’t understand the meaning of the backdrop and why it would convey a meaning of strength to the French voters. I would have thought it better for Sarkozy to associate himself with backdrops that are associated with France’s role as a world power or that illustrate French achievements or traditions. Maybe being seen boarding the TGV or at an airplane trade show (French engineering) or walking along the Champs-Élysées or with Mont-Saint-Michel as the backdrop would be more meaningful to people and would at least suggest some connection with France’s heritage. I don’t understand how the open sea and the sky (regardless of whose sea and sky) are making the point of “La France Forte”.

(As an aside, I really wish that Hollande would begin to associate himself with such symbols. For example, why can’t he take the TGV when he travels around France and use it in his advertisements? He should have photo opps at markets, at schools, at cultural landmarks to show his understanding that these are important to the French.)

(Another slightly off topic aside: The business of people using inappropriate stock photos in political ads or on their campaign websites seem like a totally avoidable mistake. Really, how much would it costs to have a good photographer create a photograph to order with the actual people, places, etc that are being evoked? A trivial expense and probably a better result with less risk of embarrassment)

Robert said...

@Mitch: Well, perhaps all these gaffes show the campaign is in complete disarray and no one, including the Chef de l'Etat, believes he's going to pull it off. From his discussing the "what if I lose" scenario; to his statement during the news conference with David Cameron to the effect that «dans la période actuelle, qu'il y ait plus de gens qui disent du bien de moi que du mal ça ne me gène pas»,"-- you just get the sense that consciously or not, he's given up, something that has very likely rubbed off on his campaign team.

gregory brown said...

My sense upon originally viewing the image was that it was a sort of inversion of the rhetoric of "La Force tranquille". Whereas the Mitterand poster directly addressed the perception of socialism and the left as too radical a break (which had led particularly rural voters in historically left-leaning areas to abandon the left in the 1978 legislatives) by reassuring voters with an icon of traditional social cohesion (the country church) and a claim of serenity and tranquility, Sarkozy in 2012 needs to reassure middle-class urban and suburban voters that he's not, as he appears, a totally impulsive waif -- hence the image of calm and the slogan claiming strength.

Either that or he just wanted everyone to know he's already contemplating the Mediterranean cruise he'll be taking after the election.

Anonymous said...

Between the slogan, widely derided as being Giscard's (a 70s one-term president who seems to be the synonym for "ridiculous old schmuck"), to the poster, which has been used for parodies absolutely everywhere. The young socialists created an app that allows you to play with the poster and even non political people had fun with it. It's never good when everyone ridicules a candidate.

Showing the panic at UMP headquarters: the Twitter accounts that parody Sarkozy are being censored. Nicolas Princen explained that only accounts that pretended to be Sarkozy were removed, but how can you confuse Sarkoçasuffit with the real Nicolas Sarkozy? I think 6 of them have been suspended! This censorship betrays how desperate Sarkozy's side is and I wouldn't be surprised if it boomeranged.

@Mitch: Hollande does take the TGV everywhere he goes. This better to contrast with Sarkozy taking planes everywhere for a cost of $30,000 an hour. Hollande has been shown getting off a 2nd class coach, although I think it's a pretense. I don't think anyone would think less of him if he travelled 1st-class on the train (it's a mere €25 extra).

Anonymous said...