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Monday, May 19, 2008

Kyiv City Election Ads: Meet the Mannequins!

This year’s high-stakes battle for the capital features some of the most creative stuf in the history of Ukrainian political advertising. Well, creative often means copycat.

Watch this.

And this.

Apparently, the Free Hugs Campaign has touched the heart of the PRU mayoral candidate, MP Vasyl Horbal. A shrewd and articulate person, Horbal reportedly controls UkrGasBank and claims to speak German and English. Also starring in that video, in order of appearance, are rescue raider Nestor Shufrych, Tymobuster Inna Bohoslovska, boyscout Volodymyr Filipov, Ukrainophobe Dmytro Tabachnyk. Exit line: “There is still hope.”

More on the "Hug Me" video:

Narrator: Regionalists presented a commercial in which mayoral candidate Vasyl Horbal hugs with everyone eager to respond to his HUGS sign. Also hugging with passersby in that footage are Nestor Shufrych, Inna Bohoslovska and Dmytro Tabachnyk.

PRU mayoral candidate Vasyl Horbal: Naturally, this idea has already started in various countries of the world and we decided to pick up the baton, because indeed in our lives we lack a little bit of warmth, candor, sincerity.

Narrator: Following the presentation, the leitmotif of which is “There is still hope,” Horbal and his associates proceeded to hugging Kyivites amidst Khreshchatyk. Horbal maintains that he has no enemies among his opponents. He is ready to hug every one of them.

Unlike “I Got a Crush…On Medved,” this is not a spoof. So no hugs from me, guys.
Or how about this “vox populi” ad?

Сivil. Sincere. Tolerant. Wise. Honest. Literate. Stable. Kind. Smart. Strong. Knowledgeable. Consistent. Candid. Straightforward. Loyal. Responsible.

The 16 words that will change the lives of Kyivites. Party of Regions, No. 16.

Witness the plight of stabilnist and the sudden change. The copy uses a Ukrainian cover version of “All the Same” by Sick Puppies to set the tone and electrify the audience. Sharpened by the masses’ hypnotic recital of the Party of Regions’ virtues, the exit line aims to plow a “change” plank into the voter mindset.

Well-choreographed? Yes. Consistent? No. When an oath of silence befalls the siren calls for stabilnist, we have different strokes for different folks. Besides, epithets like literate, knowledgeable, and responsible sound sarcastic when applied to the Party leader.

Dual objective: Grab the stabilnist/pro-Russian electorate, but do target Kyiv’s change-oriented youthful electorate.

Here’s another Horbal commercial. In this one, the man parodies his competitors, trying to pull their masks off them.

The strong mayor. [Klychko] The smart mayor. [Turchynov] The honest mayor. [Chernovetsky?] The “not ashamed” mayor. [Katerynchuk] The “Kyivites first” mayor. [Pylypyshyn] Vasyl Horbal, the new mayor.

His message: “Here I am, the guy with no mask. Don’t you just love the way I touch my chin?”

Finally, the man produces a confession:

Vasyl Horbal: I’ve always been the first. Having graduated from Kyiv Institute of International Relations, I worked and studied in Germany. At age 25, I already was running one of Ukraine’s banks. At 31, I became an MP. Why am I running for mayor? I want Kyiv to be the first.

Narrator: Vasyl Horbal. Always first.

Moving along, don’t miss this slicing-and-dicing ad from the UNP, cast in an imperial Russia setting.

Party host: Cake!
Narrator: Stop the greedy powers-that-be! Ukrainian People’s Party.

Meanwhile, the Omelchenko Bloc has churned out a few slice-of-life commercials Omelchenko eroticizing the idea of the former mayor’s comeback and his know-how.

Lady 1: What, prices are up again, but where’s quality of service?
Lady 2: Look at the water bills, but there’s no water!
Lady 1: We have to bring Omelchenko back. When we had Omelchenko, we had order.
Narrator: Oleksander Omelchenko Bloc. We know how.

Narrator: Who will save Kyiv?
Driver: It’s impossible to drive. Enough of these traffic jams!
Narrator: Who will free our roads from congestion? Oleksander Omelchenko Bloc. We know how.

Eager to retain its power, Chernoco banks on public transportation improvements and pension increments as vote getters.

The first bell at School No. 191 rang in 1968. And from day one Valentyna Ivanivna [patronymic] has taught at this school. 50 years of work experience. Thousands of students. Today, thanks to an initiative of the Chernovetsky Bloc, they receive monthly increments to their modest pensions. They deserve our respect and gratitude. Kyiv is the only municipality in Ukraine where seniors receive increments.

Transportation is the lifeblood of any city. Where in Ukraine is the most state-of-the-art public transportation? Kharkiv’s bus fleet, 33 buses. Lviv, 12 buses. Only in Kyiv is there a full-fledged public transportation system developing rapidly to fit European standards. We guarantee the fastest and the most convenient transportation for Kyivites. Leonid Chernovetsky Bloc.

NUNS no longer talks about “one law for all.” Nor does it talk about lifting parliamentary immunity. They don’t speak of hope in the house of a man who has been hanged.

We’re running for the Kyiv City Council. Our objective: to free Kyiv from corrupt government. Our number on the ballot: 36. Yuriy Lutsenko, Nasha Ukrayina-Narodna Samooboroba.

BYuT commercials stress forward-looking financials and caution against betting on a losing horse, which, given Turchynov’s uphill battle, sounds like bluffing.

PM Yulia Tymoshenko: During the last five months, we have considerably increased budget revenue, overcoming corruption and the shadowy economy. That is why, starting September 2008, we will introduce a unified pay scale for all public employees: educators, scientists, medics. It means that starting September 1 and by year-end their salaries will rise 30 percent. No political intrigues will stop us. Make no mistake: Things will be fine as we move on.

PM Yulia Tymoshenko: In the three and a half years since Maidan, we’ve only seen hollow speeches. Instead of the corruption busting, we’ve had corruption boosting. Instead of justice, we’ve had newfangled injustice, all over Ukraine as well as in Kyiv. With this in mind, our team, through great effort, has contrived new elections of Kyiv mayor. And for this job, we offer Kyivites the best we've got: Oleksandr Turchynov. Now it’s up to Kyiv. Don’t be a loser.

Tymoshenko, who heads the BYuT city council ticket, speaks with a soft voice and exudes her brand-name Joan of Arc aura. Scapegoated for rampant inflation, she needs a healthpack to mobilize support in her final 2009 showdown.

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