KOCHI: The clumsy-looking politician in drab attire gleefully waving at you from election posters is a thing of the past. Today, he wants to be seen modish and chic, in tune with the changing times. Well, having realised that looks do matter a lot in politics, politicians are making a beeline for beauty parlours for a session or two. And the results are there for all to see.
“In an election where both the UDF and the LDF offer just one politics, appearance is a huge influencing factor,” says Sreekumar Menon, CEO, Push Integrated Communications, which was in charge of UDF’s election campaign in the 2016 Assembly elections. “I’ve seen Shashi Tharoor’s campaign posters, where he looks at least 10 years younger,” he says, adding the strategy of appearing better and projecting good looks seem to have caught on with other candidates.
Another senior advertising professional says he has witnessed a special photo shoot of AM Ariff, CPM candidate in the Alappuzha constituency, for his campaign posters. “Ariff is a good-looking guy anyway. Still, he wants to appear himself better before the voters,” he says.
Even the posters and hoardings have become stylish, a departure from the run-of-the-mill election posters of the past. The posters of UDF’s Ernakulam candidate Hibi Eden has been noticed and appreciated for its change in design and the catchline.
“Our challenge was to make the poster different from the normal election posters, which people are used to. We decided to go for the horizontal layout and avoid the tri-colour.
We also decided to give different shades to the candidate’s shirt to give a different and better look,” says Zainul Abid of Kochi-based agency D-Zain, who handled Hibi’s first-look poster. “This work was done purely due to the friendship with Hibi. There were no commercial aspects,” he clarifies. The tagline ‘Hrudayathil Hibi’ (Hibi in our heart) was coined by another party worker and friend. Incidentally, D-Zain is also involved in the posters and campaign slogans for the Kerala unit of the Congress. ‘Nammal Indiaye Veendedukkum’ (We will restore India) was coined by the agency.
Raju Menon, MD of Maithri Advertising Works, which is doing the hoardings and posters for the LDF, says the biggest challenge this election is to manage huge hoardings using only cloth materials. “Due to green protocol, we have to use not just any cloth but eco-friendly materials,” he says. Maithri is using the catchline ‘Vargiyatha Vizhum, Vikasanam Vazhum, Ithu Keralamanu’ (Communalism will fail, development will flourish; this is Kerala). Maitri was behind the LDF’s successful catchline in 2016 Assembly election ‘LDF varum ellam sheriyakum’