A Political Campaign Like No Other
by Charles Lemos, Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 06:57:41 PM EDT
I've never quite seen a campaign like this one. Even as much as Obama's campaign broke new ground in citizen participation, the Mockus campaign in Colombia is simply setting a new standard. Today the Green Party turned down funds from the Grupo Santodomingo, one of Colombia's largest industrial groups, saying that it had enough funds for the rest of the campaign. This have after having returned over half of the public funds to which the campaign was entitled.
Like in the Obama campaign the people powered iconography is spreading like wild fire so much so that Mockus campaign decided to let go its ad agency and will instead use print images created by its volunteers. I've just never seen anything like it. The images now number in the hundreds and some of them are quite good and need no translation. Here are some of the political ads that Mockus campaign has decided to employ.
El tablero (the blackboard)
This ad really works for me. No copy at all, just a child, and a Guambina Indian child at that, drawing the image of Antanas Mockus on a blackboard. The ad brings home the message that education is the fundamental motor of social progress and that Colombia is a multi-ethnic society. One of my favorite ads.
Perro Verde (the Green Dog)
This is, after all, a Green Party and the campaign does touch on ecological themes. Colombia is the world's third most bio-diverse country after Brazil and Indonesia. This ad places a dog in the Colombian Andes with the tag line "For the natural preservation of our Colombia." The ad has the sunflower that is the branded image of the Green party.
This poster plays off the well-known Darwin ascent of man image. The last two stages are the critical ones. The soldier represents the never-ending war that has consumed the country since 1948 and the bicyclist a way forward. The ad touches on one of the central themes of the Mockus campaign: if Colombia is to progress then Colombians need to change. And of course, biking is very green. Bogotá has the largest network of bike routes of any city in the Americas and over 400,000 bogotanos commute to work daily by bicycle. The dedicated bike paths were begun during the administration of Mayor Enrique Peñalosa, one of the leaders of the Green party.
Mockus + Fajardo as Simpsons Characters
Many of the ads are whimsical and play off well-known motifs. In this case, Antanas Mockus and his running mate Sergio Fajardo, the former independent mayor of Medellín, appear as Simpsons characters. There are various tag lines for this ad. This one reads "Mockus + Fajardo = we all win." Another tag line is "Mockus + Fajardo = more education." The education theme is one the bigger focuses of the campaign. Both Mockus and Fajardo have doctorates in mathematics. Both were mayors of their respective cities and both are non-traditional political actors, really citizens who became fed up with the political machines that ran their cities and so traded the academy for city hall. Fajardo had been mounting an independent campaign for the presidency but his lists faltered in Congressional elections. After the poor showing, Mockus tapped Fajardo as his running mate. The move solidified the anti-Uribe center behind one candidacy.
It is important to note that while green parties worldwide generally occupy a space on the left of the political spectrum, in Colombia the Greens are considered a centrist party. In part, that's due to the fact that in Colombia there is a hard left and a hard right so by comparison the Greens can comfortably claim the center. In addition, the Greens have positioned themselves as a non-ideological force willing to listen to ideas from across the political spectrum.