Controversial poster campaign of the Lower Saxon Pirates

Controversial poster campaign of the Lower Saxon Pirates

At a press conference today at 11:00 CET the Pirate Party Lower Saxony released their election program, their election video spot as well as their poster campaign to the participants of the press conference. It was held at Kulturzentrum Faust e.V., and had about 60 guests in attendance, among them a lot of press representatives.

McDonalds ad - CC-BY by Piratenpartei Niedersachsen

I”‘m voting it- CC-BY by Piratenpartei Niedersachsen

After the election victories of the state parliamental elections in Berlin 2011 and in the state parliaments of Saarland, Schleswig-Holstein and North-Rhine Westfalia 2012 the Lower Saxon election 2013 will show how the public reacts to the previous work of the pirate deputies and how they presented themselves in parliament and in the focus of media. Pirate party poll results declined in the second half of this year, indicating that the Pirates may have problems getting over the 5% hurdle to make it into parliament both in Lower Saxony in January 2013 and in the German federal elections in autumn next year. The Pirates of Lower Saxony however are confident that they will make it into parliament.

IKEA poster - CC-BY by Piratenpartei Niedersachsen

discover your polling station – CC-BY by Piratenpartei Niedersachsen

After provoking a storm of exasperation, also called “shitstorm” regarding the poor quality of a previously leaked poster concept under the hashtag #plakatgate on Twitter at the end of last week, the new hashtag #ideenkopierer was introduced on Saturday to show that the leaked posters were a hoax, and that the actual campaign, and especially the posters, are considered extremely powerful by most Lower Saxon pirates. Most of them actually had the chance to see them at numerous events during the build-up of the campaign, and the fact that nobody leaked them speaks of a unified party determined to work together and make the 5%, despite of earlier problems. On there was a countdown to Monday, 11:00 CET,  the time at which the press conference starts. On the one hand there is a traditional line of posters in orange, the color of the German pirate party, prompting the voters not to trust posters but to inform themselves by reading and discussing election programmes.

More controversial, however, is the second line of posters, which remixes well known national and international brands with a Pirate twist.

The posters are described in the official press release as follows:

“The Pirate Party’s poster campaign is supposed to prompt reflection [2]. The orange posters of the so-called ‘Trust Line’ emphasize the message: “Read Programmes, everything else is just advertisement”. Pirate Party Lower Saxony does not want to sell illusions, but wants to prompt a discussion about the content of their vast program. “We do not want to offer holow elections messages and campaign promises,” says Torben Friedrich, a Pirate Party candidate for the State Parliament. “Our focus is on the content, the topics were born out of dealing with the citizens’ needs which we will include in our work in parliament. We promise no gifts, we advertise for reading election programs, to obtain information and to vote.”

Greenpeace poster - CC-BY by Piratenpartei Niedersachsen

safe the votes (Wal = Whale) – CC-BY by Piratenpartei Niedersachsen

We will be sure to report on how the companies whose campaigns have been remixed will react to the provocation these posters will undoubtly be seen as. It carricatures the effects of poster campaigns before elections as well as the workings of advertisement in general. Additionally, it puts a renewed focus on things like trademarks and copyright, which have been at the core of Pirate politics since the beginning. This is a new and innovative approach to putting core pirate issues at the center of a campaign, but having a programme of 96 pages covering a broad range of political issues. In the programme, the Lower Saxon Pirates put an emphasis on accessability and freedom, education, the strengthening of democracy, as well as a humane social policy.

Telekom poster - CC-BY by Piratenpartei Niedersachsen

vote what connects – CC-BY by Piratenpartei Niedersachsen

Their campaign’s trailer can be watched here, even though it should be noted that it aims at the general public and a TV audience, contrary to the new video spot the Pirate Party of Catalunya released last week for their ongoing campaign, which became a big success on Youtube, but is unlikely to generate attention in traditional media.

The Pirates in Lower Saxony will campaign the next two months until the 20th of January, when the members of Landtag, as state parliaments is called, will be elected anew. It will culminate in an election party, again at Kulturzentrum Faust e.V., where the campaign kicked off today.

Main picture of the article: CC-BY-SA 3.0 Aljoscha Rittner