Posters, posters everywhere, where’s the politics? April 24, 2007Posted by franklittle in Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Irish Election 2007, Irish Labour Party, Irish Politics, media, Progressive Democrats, Sinn Féin.
As part of a vaguely pointless bit of experimentation, I decided to keep track of the election posters, by which I mean the commercial posters on walls and bus shelters, on the bus into work from Inchicore to the City Centre yesterday. I was later obliged to take the bus out to Marino in the afternoon and did the same.
Starting right on the road my flat complex is located, we have a massive Fine Gael billboard promising 2,300 new hospital beds. As I come onto the main road, there’s a Fianna Fáil ‘Next Step’ billboard and a small Ad space for local Labour candidate Eric Byrne. Onto the bus and there’s Mary Upton smiling at me from behind the bus driver’s compartment.
On the way into work, we pass a Catherine Byrne/Anne Marie Martin of Fine Gael bus shelter, and another Fianna Fáil billboard. There might have been more but it was morning rush hour and vision of anything other than commuters was fairly restricted. And into the City Centre where we pass another Fianna Fáil billboard.
Off to Marino in the afternoon and we pass a small size, Cyprian Brady ad in Five Lamps, same size and shape as the Eric Byrne one in Inchicore, and then a massive North Koreanesque Cyprian banner hanging off the scaffolding at a construction site on the North Strand. Into Fairview, and Ivor Callely appears at a bus shelter with sleeves rolled up and tie loosened. And then, back to Fine Gael, with a bus shelter ad promising free health insurance for children under the age of 16.
We pass a disused commercial unit with Derek McDowell posters on it, which I presume is going to be an office and so probably doesn’t count, and then, the final poster of the day, a Fine Gael bus shelter ad promising 2,000 new Gardaí.
Not counting the McDowell posters, this is 12 commercial outdoor advertisements, none of which the political parties in question have to report at the end of the election. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael predominated, with a couple of Labour contributions. Nothing from Sinn Féin, Greens or the PDs, though in the last case they’re not really PD target seats, and I have seen Sinn Féin bus ads. I should add at this point that there’s a brand new Frank McNamara of the PDs poster on the LUAS line in from Inchicore I saw this morning where he looks like an eccentric child molester. Hardly what they were going for.
So how much is this going to cost? Well, Medialive provide outdoor advertising rates here. To be honest, they could have made it easier to follow, but a good ball-park estimate is a fortnight, minimum of 150 for the whole country, with Adshel, will set you back 73,500 Euros, not counting the cost of printing the posters. The big massive billboards, rates with JCDecaux, have you into multiple tens of thousands very, very quickly.
I’m concentrating on outdoor advertising here, but anyone picking up a copy of the Northside People, or any other local paper, will be familiar with the amount of advertising in them from candidates. Full rate cards are available on medialive, same link as above, but to give people a ballpark figure to work from, a full page in the Southside People will cost you 4,320 Euros, not counting VAT, and a colour half-page in a paid for paper, like the Fingal Independent for example, will set you back 1,650 Euros. Obviously, for big spenders there would be bulk discounts, but it gives people an idea of the amount of money being spent before the election.
Vincent Browne has some good points on it here , though I don’t necessarily agree with the notion that all parties should be state-funded and only state-funded. A contrary viewpoint is put forward by this chap at the Semper Idem blog , which I link to for the sake of debate. I think he woefully underestimates the impact of money in elections and on political parties.
And finally, worth noting that except for the Fine Gael posters, which outline specific commitments, there’s not an ounce of politics in any of the posters.