Here at the end of the campaign, it is time for Frozen Garlic’s Second Annual Best Campaign Flags Award Post. This year has been a fairly miserable year for campaign flags. On the one hand, the campaigns cut down drastically on the number of flags they produced. On the other hand, this year has seen some of the ugliest flags in memory.
The color of the year is undoubtedly pink. Traditional party colors took a beating this year, and many candidates tried to soften their look with pink. Personally, I like pink. It’s one of my favorite colors, and I have several pink shirts. However, I don’t like the specific pink and yellow combination that Tsai Ing-wen and many other DPP candidates used this year. It seemed harsh and grating to my eyes.
A few who fought against the pink tide but didn’t want to go to the traditional blue or green went instead for yellow. (The fact that yellow is now a public color, available to everyone, is an indication that the New Party is quite sincerely dead.”
Here is a smattering of pink and yellow. Quick, without looking at the names, can you tell which party these people are from?
There were a few more traditional looking flags. At first glance, these flags scream “KMT” or “DPP.”
Interestingly, it was the KMT that tended to go with the traditional blue look. Far fewer DPP candidates went with a traditional party look. This is something new. Over the past two decades, numerous observers have pointed out that KMT candidates “ran away” from their party label, not wishing to put the party symbols on their flags. DPP candidates, in contrast, have traditionally put the party logo in a prominent place. Not this year. This year, DPP candidates were more likely to produce pink or yellow flags instead of something instantly recognizable as a DPP party flag.
I have argued in the past that KMT supporters should be happy that their candidates didn’t sport the party colors too prominently. That meant that their candidates were appealing to votes beyond the core party supporters. DPP candidates, on the other hand, were generally just trying to consolidate the party’s existing support. Now, it seems the roles have been somewhat reversed.
I did see a couple of new things this year. In this flag, the handwritten characters say “My grandmother was born here.” There were about half a dozen of these flags on that street. I’ve never seen flags customized like that for a particular street or neighborhood. I wonder if she put up similar flags in other neighborhoods.
This morning, I saw this guy standing out in the rain with a signboard. Apparently, the politicians are taking a cue from the real estate developers with these sorts of signboards.
This is not new this year, but I think it might be unique to Huang Shan-shan. There are posters in business windows all over this district, and they stay up all year round. Business owners generally hate to advertise their political leanings, so these posters are a sign of real support. You occasionally see similar posters for other politicians, but I think the density of these posters is unique to Huang.
This looks like a classic DPP ad. Lee Chun-ting poses with Tsai Ing-wen and claims to be the next generation of the DPP. There is just one problem. He is not a DPP nominee. This is from Taipei 7, the district in which the DPP didn’t nominate anyone and is instead supporting the Green Party candidate. I guess Lee decided he would try to win the DPP voters that didn’t want to support the Green Party, which would be a fine strategy if there were 10 seats, not one.
If the Tsai campaign had been planning to promote the Grand Coalition idea all along, this should have been their national logo. Note the color combination and the characters (sunlight, tolerance, gentle). This would have been an excellent logo. I only saw it once.
How about this one: The box on the bottom says that this banner for a DPP candidate was paid for by the Three Piggies.
The first award: Frozen Garlic’s Worst Ad of the Year goes to local candidate Li Chien-chang. I thought this was an ad for a new movie. You have to look really hard to even see his name. I still have no idea what it means or why I should want to vote for him. Awful.
Runner up: The KMT’s Taiwan Go campaign. What the hell does this mean? I think we are all in favor of Taiwan. This is about as useless as the ubiquitous “Taiwan must win” line in many KMT ads. What does it mean for Taiwan to win? Is there some game that I don’t know about? I know what it means for a candidate to win (which is probably what they really want), but not for a whole society. Shallow.
Finally, it is time to award the prestigious Best Campaign Flag of the Election Cycle award. Here are Frozen Garlic’s nominees:
In the year of pink, the bottom two are my two favorite pink flags. I suppose I like pink and white much better than pink and yellow. In the upper left, there are two pink flags from Chien Yu-yan, one with her picture and one with her as a Japanese cartoon character (note the same part in her hair and the same bow on her blouse). The upper right flag is from Lo Fu-chu. He wins a nomination because (a) his flag looks good, and (b) I’m terrified of him. My favorite part of this flag is that it has streaks of black running through the red, just in case you forgot about his background. Finally, Lee Chien-lung wins a nomination for one of the best traditional looking flags. If you read the fine print, he even slams his opponent for being an interloper.
And the winner is: cartoon Chien Yu-yan! Congratulations on having the best flag in the year of pink! Now all she has to do is beat her opponent Lo Shu-lei, whose flags are (of course!) pink.