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Sex in Political Advertising - Differences Between the USA and Europe (contains brief nudity)

by nanne Thu Oct 26th, 2006 at 02:28:22 PM EST

Sex sells, that much is clear. But what can we learn from the selling of sex?

For today's session, please give your opinion on how the television advertisements below reflect upon:

  • The role of sex in public life in the USA and Europe
  • The difference between conservative parties with Christian roots in Europe and with secular roots in the USA
  • The perceived and real level of sophistication in the public spheres of the USA and Europe


Supporting questions:

How is sex framed in the Austrian ad? Is it possible to run a similar advertisement anywhere in the United States?

How is sex framed in the American ad? Is it possible to run a similar advertisement anywhere in the European Union?

Display:
Can you explain to me the first ad?  What is it for and what was on that piece of paper?

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Oct 26th, 2006 at 06:29:18 PM EST
The first ad was from the Austrian elections. It's a negative ad against the social democrats (SPÖ), run by the conservative ruling party (ÖVP). On the piece of paper is a declaration of membership to the SPÖ, for the woman (I think, as the first name on the paper is Marie and the 'gender' is w for 'Weiblich'). The message at the end says 'Güsenbauer's SPÖ costs trust'.

So the basic message of the ad is 'try to get your gf to join the SPÖ and you'll find an empty bed'. The meta-message is that all the sexy girls are at the ÖVP, and SPÖ voters are untrustworthy looooosers.

(The SPÖ went on to win the elections, mainly because the ÖVP vote stayed at home)

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Oct 27th, 2006 at 05:12:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course the ÖVP vote stayed at home, they were all having fun with their partners!

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 27th, 2006 at 05:14:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I might ad that running a negative campaign (as the ÖVP did) doesn't necessarily motivate 'the base'.

In Europe, at least...

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Oct 27th, 2006 at 05:46:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't realise the membership form was for the gilfriend, BTW, I thought she was just disappointed that her lover was a Socialist.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 27th, 2006 at 05:57:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The role of sex in public life in the USA and Europe:

No surprise there.  We were a nation founded by Puritans who have had us in their nasty grip ever since.  I think there was a brief respite in the 60s and 70s but there has been a major conservative backlash since then.  Sex is simply not addressed in any healthy way in the public sphere.

The difference between conservative parties with Christian roots in Europe and with secular roots in the USA:

Actually, it the US conservative party is anything but secular.  

The perceived and real level of sophistication in the public spheres of the USA and Europe:

Well, please don't lump all of America in with Tennessee.  We're talking a pretty rural state.  And if you are looking for a level of sophistication, do not expect to find it in our campaign ads.  These are designed specifically to get racist idiots to the polls.

How is sex framed in the Austrian ad? Is it possible to run a similar advertisement anywhere in the United States?:

I think you could do it in NYC, San Fransisco, LA, Miami, maybe Chicago...  The big problem is with advertisers who might threaten to pull their business if someone airs something too "liberal."

How is sex framed in the American ad? Is it possible to run a similar advertisement anywhere in the European Union?

God, I hope not.  For the record, the ad has been pulled after charged as racist, so you could argue it is not even possible to run it here.  I don't think this ad says as much about America as it does about the Republican Party.  They are just that disgusting.

Also worth noting: the Austrian ad appears to target the youth?  (I might be wrong.)  The GOP ad is targetting older people.  They vote the most and are most conservative.  And are from a different era.  FWIW, pre-marital sex of the type in the Austrain add is just a common here as it is anywhere.  


Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Thu Oct 26th, 2006 at 06:44:23 PM EST
I think you could do it in NYC, San Fransisco, LA, Miami, maybe Chicago...  The big problem is with advertisers who might threaten to pull their business if someone airs something too "liberal."
Yes. I think the difference is also that the USA is more integrated politically. What the ÖVP does in its ads doesn't concern the rest of Europe. But if something similar was run on the east or west coast of the USA, it could start a firestorm in, say, Alabama.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Oct 27th, 2006 at 05:38:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting you should put it like that. A wise American I used to know once said pretty much the same thing: "This country was founded by Puritans and we have been paying for it ever since."

Sophisticated is a fun word:
"[...] anything from the ridiculous to the obscene, or - as they say in New York - sophisticated."
-Tom Lehrer.

-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Fri Oct 27th, 2006 at 06:30:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Austrian ad looks to me like it's not so much about sex as about lifestyle choices - and that's lifestyle in the glossy magazine sense. There's a hint that it's values-based, but it doesn't really labour (sorry...) the point.

The US ad just radiates sleaze. It even looks cheap and low budget - but in a squalid rather than a 'Let's look vox pop' kind of a way.

It's hard to imagine either playing in the UK. The Austrian ad would disappear under a wave of outraged complaints. The US ad wouldn't get made in the first place - not for fear of offending someone, but because our elections are party-based, and TV attacks on individual MPs aren't part of the political scenery.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Oct 26th, 2006 at 07:27:13 PM EST
Actually, the Austrian ad kind of reminded me of this UK ad from the previous elections...

Of course, that was a spoof. But it's actually not bad at all.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Oct 27th, 2006 at 05:43:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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