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Workers’ Party Advert


Advertising is an essential part of every political campaign. Nowadays, advertising has a broader meaning than selling products.

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“The word (advertising) refers us not only to a type of message but to a type of speech and, beyond that, to a whole communicative function which is associated with a much broader range of signifying materials than just advertisements stricto sensu.” (Wernick 1994, p. 182). In fact, Wernick (1994) suggests that the word promotion should be used instead of advertising because this word encompasses the more generic definition of advertising.

Meijer suggests “ways to look at advertising’s potential as a form of public communication and a setting for the actualisation of haberdashery of contemporary citizenship.” (Meijer 1998, p. 235).

Advertising has evolved through the years. It is not so apparent today as it was in the past i.e., it does not show only the product that is going to be sold, but rather it uses subliminal techniques. “The power of modern advertising is within this growing ubiquity or ‘everywheredness’ of advertising rather than the technology and methodology of advertising. The ultimate power of advertising will be arrived when ads cannot be distinguished from their background environment. When this happens, the environment will become a great continuous ad.” (Fraim 2000, p. 2).

In the present paper, the Workers’ Party advert will be analysed.

Worker’s party advert – description

The slogan of the advert is “Power the people”. It is obvious from the slogan used that the target group of the advert is the general public and more specifically, people that are not privileged, working people.

The sign of the party, which appears on the bottom left of the advert is the hammer, a typical sign of workers. It resembles the sign of ex-communist parties, although it is different, signifying this way that the party shares similar beliefs with the communist parties.

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The colours of the slogan are the same colours with the sign i.e. yellow and red which, as colours are vivid enough and attract the attention.

The picture shows people holding flags of the party, and they seem enthusiastic because they feel “empowered”. The simplicity of the advert is in accordance with the image that the party wants to project i.e. a working people party.

The design as well as the promotional rhetoric of the advert is rather old-fashioned, since they follow the style of political adverts of the past. Modern political adverts are more people oriented and depict situations of daily life. In addition, they depict the leaders of the party in a daily manner.

The present advert wants to show that it has the approval of the majority of people, and that it is a party really liked by people. This is in accordance with what most advertisers do, i.e. “advertisers normally seek to appropriate cultural meanings that they think to have positive value for their target audience” (Goldman & Rapson, p.51.). In this advert, the positive value is that the party wants people to be empowered, and this must be true since a lot of people trust it (the proof is the majority of people shown in the photograph).

Although, the design and rhetoric of the advert are old fashioned, they were very effective since it has a simple image and a simple slogan. “Modern advertising has an almost total obsession with images and feelings and an almost total lack of any concrete claims about the product and why should anyone buy it. “ (Fraim 2000, p. 2). This is also true to this advert, since the only thing that it actually says is the empowerment of people. There is no justification on how this is going to be done, and even the picture itself does not show how people are going to be empowered.


The brand, which in this case is set on the bottom of the page, is in white letters. It is the name of the party “Worker’s Party”.

Marketers cannot satisfy everyone in the market. Not all of us like the same cars, restaurants, food or movie. A company discovers different needs and groups in the market. It targets those groups and needs that it can satisfy in a superior way, and then positions its offering so that the target market recognizes the company’s distinctive offering and image. Therefore, marketers must divide the markets into segments. They divide markets into segments that include people who have the same preferences. They identify and profile distinct groups of buyers who might prefer or require varying products and services by examining demographic, psychographic, and behavioral differences among buyers.

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Then they decide which segment has the greatest opportunity-which is its target market. For every target market, the companies create a market offering, and this offering is positioned in the mind of this target group, offering some benefits. For example, Volvo, position its car as the safest a customer can buy. Carrefour, as the cheapest supermarket. IKEA positions its products as the most innovative designs having low prices and good quality.

Segmentation and positioning are obvious in this advert, although the segment targeted is large one i.e. working-class people.

In the past, it was said that politics did not follow the same rules and such thing as political marketing did not exist. Nowadays, this is out of question. Political marketing and communication follow the same patterns as commercial marketing. Politics is part of human culture but as Wernick argues: “For the rise of commercialised culture, in symbiotic relation with mass media advertising, has itself been intrinsic to a more general process of capitalist development. Not only has culture become a sector of consumer goods production just like any other produced object of human use” (Wernick 1994, p. 185)

Political parties establish their own brands (slogans and symbols) as a way of being differentiated from the other parties. In an article of the Economist regarding brands, it is argued that the brands can be valuable in case the consumer can choose among many brands (The case for brands, 2001) and in the case of political parties the consumer really has a choice. His/her choice may be to choose a different political party.

At this point, let’s see some definitions of the brand:

Brand or branding is defined as follows: “Brand is a name, term, sign, symbol (“symbols with all that represent a brand, a tangible, a character, a visual metaphor, a logo, a color, a gesture, a musical note, a package, or a program. The symbol is a part of brand equity and functions as a” tool for maintenance” (Aker & Joachimsthaler 2000, p. 122) or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors. A brand is thus a product or service designed to satisfy the same need. These differences may be functional, rational, or tangible-related to product performance of the brand. They also are more symbolic, emotional or intangible-related to what the brand represents” (Kotler & Keller 2007, pp. 87-89).

Advertising is an essential component of brand establishment. “Advertising proposes consumption as the cure to personal insecurity, anxiety of people about their professional and personal status or their ability as parents to nurture their children.”(Meijer 1998, p. 237). It could be said that the Worker’s party advert covers the personal insecurity of people i.e. by giving them the power needed to control their lives. Nowadays, marketers do not just want to sell a product, but they want to appeal to human emotions, and they want to build a brand that addresses to these emotions. (The case for brands, 2001). The present political advert appeals to emotions since it addresses to a human feeling which is “empowerment”.

In addition, brands will not only represent a product, but they will also represent a company, so they will be crucial for the company’s positive image. (The case for brands 2001). In the case of the Worker’s party, the brand “Worker’s party” and the slogan it currently uses have to really prove that they are a Worker’s party and that the party really cares for the people. “The next big thing in brands is social responsibility” (The case for brands 2001, p. 28). This is more crucial for political parties since they have to prove that they really follow their principles and are interested in people, otherwise they will lose their credibility.

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The advert depicts common people, people that everybody can be associated with, so there is no psychological distance. In addition, these people look enthusiastic, so the Burrell principle of the positive image is being followed (Meijer 1998).

Furthermore, although the image is powerful and dominates the picture, it is not that powerful to distract people’s attention. A seeming conflict arising from war of signage is the shadowing by the image of the product that it should promote (Goldman & Papson 1998). Thus, the danger that the consumer will buy the sign rather than the product exists (Goldman & Papson 1998). This scenario opens further the pursuit by competing companies to create hot signs. Ultimately, there is a proliferation of ad campaigns “that self-consciously address the semiotics of style as a means of articulating a sign that stands out from the crowd- the sign of the savvy lay semiotician” (Goldman & Papson 1998, p. 54).

We do not believe that a political party will not face a sign war but a slogan war and this is what is actually seen in modern political campaigns.

“Advertising works by appropriating the dreams of the consumer and re-articulating their emotions” (Back & Quaade 1993, p. 65). This may be the solution for the sign war, the political party has to be continually innovative and always address to people’s emotions. This way will always be differentiated in its communication policy and strategy from the others.

The Worker’s party followed an integrated marketing communications campaign i.e., it integrated all parts of the promotion mix. We notice that in all parts of the promotion mix, the design and the message of the advert were the same. Part of the promotion mix is promotion through websites, which is a modern advertising vehicle. Opinion leaders such as politicians, the media etc support that telecommunications and personal computers and the convergence among them will have an important effect on how people live (Nixon 1997), and we would add to the way promotion and communications will appear and the role that will play in the future.


In general, the above advert was successful. Although it was not creative, and it was old fashioned, it was simple, it contained the right message, and its positioning and targeting were well selected.

“The encoded messages need to be decoded by the receiver so that the advert becomes a meaningful form of discourse. For this process to be completed, there needs to be a recognition of the codes that are present at the point of source. This is what Hall calls an achieved equivalence. If there is a lack of equivalence in the process of decoding, then a variety of meaning effects result.” (Back & Quaade 1993, pp.71-72).

The Worker’s party advert has successfully transferred its message, and it was correctly decoded by the recipients. This was done due to its simple message that was based on a short, easily understood slogan and by a simple picture. Though, there is a need for continuous change since times change and citizens become more cynical, and the presentation of simple slogans and images is not enough. East follows West. As Henry Kissinger said: “We should not kid ourselves that there isn’t a crisis of democracy in the West. In most Western countries, politicians are almost abjectly giving the public what they want, and the public has contempt for them.” (McIntype 1997, p. 44).

The Worker party should know that and get prepared accordingly.


Aker A. D. & Joachimsthaler E. (2000). Brand Leadership. New York Free Press.

Back, I. & Quaade, V.(1993). Dream Utopias, Nightmare Realities. Third Text, Vol.22, pp.65-80.

Fraim, J. (2000) Friendly persuasion: the growing ubiquity of advertising, or what happens when everyone becomes an ad?. M/C A Journal of Media Culture. Vol 3, No.1.

Goldman, R. & Papson, S. (1998). Sign wars, New York: The Guilford Press, pp. 48-54.

Kotler, P. & Keller, K.L. (2007). Marketing Management, Prentice Hall.

McIntype, P. (1997). Faith no more. The Bulletin. pp.44-45.

Meijer, I.C.(1998). Advertising citizenship: an essay on the performative power of consumer culture. Media, Culture & Society, Vol.20, No.2, pp. 235-249.

Nixon, H. (1997). Fun and games are serious business. In J. Sefton-Green (Eds), Digital diversions: Youth culture in the age of multimedia. London: University College London Press..

Na., (2001). The Case for Brands: Special Report – Brands. The Economist. pp.9, 26-28.

Wernick, A. (1994). Promotional Culture. London: Sage, pp.181-192.

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