Friday, November 11, 2011

President Michael D. Higgins - an election poster perspective

So today our new president of Ireland is inaugurated and I truly wish him well.

We are all quite aware of course that there were very many factors involved in the great success of Michael D. Higgins in the election. In this short article I just wanted to share my impressions from a marketing perspective on the interesting design features of the Michael D. Higgins promotional posters on display around the country during the campaign.

I was struck by some very subtle but clever aspects of what seems quite a simple poster...


1. The word "President" in the caption is very large and prominently placed across Michael D. Higgins' chest. Great visual psychology - the viewer synchronises the title with the man - it's as if he is already the president...we visualise it strongly.

2. His body is in a full facing position, his hands and eyes are reaching out to you and he has a trusting open smile. He looks stately and somebody who just might do us proud.

3. The photo is taken from a lower position and he comes across more imposingly, as if he is talking from a presidential platform. We are looking up to him physically and in spirit, he looks like our leader. You could argue that they are falsely making him taller looking but I think the podium impression is strong and honest.

4. The "Michael D" part of the name is larger than the "Higgins" - a play on how he is affectionately known to many - and it's a warmer, friendlier presentation of the man exuding a familiar first name trust.

5. The caption itself is beautifully simple and to the point of what most of us want from the role... "The President who will do us proud". Note also the "will" word...not "can". Very strong indeed - again we are visualising him as already the president.

6. As a facial photo of Michael D it is honest. He looks like he does on TV, a warm elderly grey haired balding man. This helps to disarm the viewer and opens them to absorb even more the subtle messages hitting home in 1-5 above.

Posters are not everything of course, but they are important and I do compliment whoever designed this one. Those responsible for the posters of some of the other losing candidates could do well to learn something in hindsight from his clever piece of work.

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