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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Not All Brands Are Created Equal: Witness the Evolution of Yanuk!

Agreed, it’s a small world, but who would have believed?

If Blue Concept ever needs a celebrity endorser for the Ukrainian market, they should know their options. Well, maybe our guy should make the first move, by aggressively cross-bundling himself with the jeans brand to better reach the youth voting market.

“Witness the evolution of Yanuk” reads like a public relations doppelgänger that rivals the sales pitch crafted by Yanukovych spin doctors.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Ukrainian flag makes its way to the floor of the Verkhovna Rada. Interestingly, it then “cohabited” for several days with the Ukrainian Socialist Republic’s blue-red banner until completely replacing it.

З Днем Незалежності, Україно! Happy Independence Day, Ukraine!

Today, Ukraine celebrates her Sweet Sixteen, still full of adolescent insecurity as she reaches adulthood.

I’m proud to recall that on August 24, 1991 — the day our country declared her independence — my dad and I were rallying outside the Verkhovna Rada,
among thousands of other Ukrainians young and old.

We saw history in the making. We consigned the USSR to the dustbin of history, finalizing Ukraine’s centuries-long struggle for independence.

Great links:

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Parliamentary Campaign Gains Momentum

In the close race of the 2007 campaign, the main contenders claim credit and assign blame as they see fit.

The Party of Regions touts economic growth (but not the underlying income distribution) and exploits its self-styled notion of stabilnist, or political stability, as the vote-getter. On closer examination, one can detect paternalistic, if not cronyist, undercurrents in that value proposition.

PM Yanukovych will strive to atone for the broken promise of “better living today” with modest last-minute wage increases. Fearing a damning referendum on its "regionomic" policies, the Blue camp will frame the Orange camp for “putting spokes in its wheels.”

Note the extensive use of fear appeals early in the PRU campaign — a defection prevention program targeted at its core electorate. Later on, however, tub-thumping and attack advertising was phased out in favor of soft-sell and contrast techniques that appeal to undecideds, the most coveted prize.

BYuT and NUNS are vying for a bigger slice of the Orange pie, boastful of their Promethean role in bringing about the elections.

NUNS markets the image of a born-again, gutsy President Yushchenko and the movement to lift parliamentary immunity to end the practice of sheltering lawbreakers. In a me-too manner, the PRU has rolled out its own beggar-thy-MP program to slash the MPs’ overblown salaries and perks.

But experts caution that procedural intricacies and the expected makeup of the next Verkhovna Rada make this noble cause appear more inspirational than operational.

BYuT, energized by its victory in the Constitutional Court that restores public employee benefits, will expand on its leader’s feminine mystique.

Nothing works better for her than the charismatic notion of girlpower: the heart-in-hand icon of a justice-seeking amazon that Tymoshenko has cultivated over the years. It perfectly sets her apart from the rest of the Orange camp, largely a boys’ club.

And by the way, her emotionally charged Joan of Arc ethos has found a new creative outlet. Few have failed to notice cryptic ads featuring handpicked “endorsements” from Michelle Nostradamus, the 16th-century French apothecary whose writings are widely interpreted as prophetic. Many viewers might be intrigued by the idea that this source, well-known in Ukraine, has something important to say about her.

Even more politically provocative were some of her other ads. Ukrainian television channels unanimously refused to air an ad that lumped together Yushchenko, Moroz, and Kuchma until it was edited for “political correctness.” The publicity this story generated on the Web more than offset any losses due to censorship. The Ukrainian Breakthrough, Tymoshenko’s can-do white paper, caused a commotion in cognoscenti circles.

The campaign will climax in September, as vacation season draws to a close and people pour back into their daily lives.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Yushchenko Issues Fourth Election Decree

Today’s presidential decree covers all legal bases, ensuring that the Sept. 30 parliamentary election will not be sabotaged on a technicality.