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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Social Advertising Gone Bad

To double the compensation of military personnel.
The social initiatives of President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko.

15,000 hryvnias ($3,000) on the birth of a second child.
The social initiatives of President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko.

Consider these post-parliamentary election ads as harbingers of the 2009 presidential campaign climate. They aim to make the best case for President Yushchenko’s policies, and — conceivably — to put the best face on his grand coalition designs involving the Party of Regions.

In case the political climate gets that hot, as some scenarios indicate, the presidential election may shift to 2008. Therefore, all players should be prepared.

These sociopolitical slice-of-life ads target specific voter segments. As Yushchenko wrestles with his arch-rival Tymoshenko, he makes amends for torpedoing her key campaign promise: to abolish the draft as early as 2008.

Unfortunately, the biggest reform in the Ukrainian army so far has been the recent phase out of puttees and the introduction of socks, as romanticized in the first ad. The second ad tries to pull the rug from under the Party of Regions’ welfare teasers.

Still, there’s hardly an aspirant to the Ukrainian Dream to whom this campaign does not look and sound like a public relations Chornobyl.

First, the voiceover can be identified as the voice of the corrupt official in a creative NUNS ad.

Second, a young serviceman who makes $400 a month instead of $200 still won’t make much "romance" out of this much "finance."

Third, $3,000 can buy 1 square meter of middle-class housing in Kyiv.

As President of Ukraine and as a former banker, Viktor Yushchenko should employ communications that build credibility and reflect the cost of living.
Otherwise, he will subject himself to self-sabotage and will further erode his brand equity.

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