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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Rapping for Tassos Papadopoulos ]

Rapping for Tassos Papadopoulos

IF YOU thought a night out at the movies was one way to escape the onslaught of election politics, then you’d better think again, as movie theatres become the latest battleground in an increasingly desperate campaign.

You may have paid to see Rambo, but you’ll need all the mindless violence you can get to bludgeon you into political oblivion after being bombarded by political advertisements from the three main candidates.

It’s no secret that young people are by far the biggest consumers of multiplex fare, and with polls predicting a nail-biting three way race, spin doctors for the three main candidates are zooming in on first-time voters.

Approximately 15,000 of those registered to vote in the elections will be first-time voters, and polls have shown President Tassos Papadopoulos consistently lagging behind his two main rivals among young voters.

It’s therefore no surprise that his cinema ad is the most striking, featuring youngsters in a night club dancing away to rap music.

Soon the star of the show appears – a man in his mid-20s sporting a baseball cap and goatee.

“Yeah? There’s a lot of noise in here,” he says as he answers his mobile phone.
He briefly makes an attempt to block the noise, but clearly endowed with phenomenal hearing to make any X-man mutant jealous, he talks to his mate with music blaring in deafening surroundings.

In rap staccato, he unleashes a volley of adjectives: “I saw him: impeccable, strong, excellent...”

The audience is left guessing who the clubber is referring to, but few would imagine it is our 75-year-old president.

The scene then shows the star dancing with a fit girl to a rap song that echoes the preceding phone call: “good, very strong, even with that voice” – the first bizarre hint that the lyrics might be referring to our hoarse-voiced President.

The ad then takes a rather macho turn.

“All he says speaks to my heart,” the song continues, prompting our star to beat his chest in mimicry.

“I like to dance to my own rhythm, no one else will beat this drum” is the last rap lyric we have the privilege to hear before the rainbow coloured logo of the Papadopoulos campaign cues up against a blue background.

A ray of sunlight then glistens over the logo with the slogan “A choice of trust” to the soundtrack of the rap artist singing the word “trust”.

The now familiar signature of our President scrolls underneath.

As if for an encore, our star reappears to address the viewers with renewed confidence (whether because he has ‘pulled’ or because he is thinking of Tassos, we can only guess).

“I vote for Tassos because I dig it!”

The ad is titled “I dig it!” (goustaro) and can be found under the ‘TV spots’ link on the candidate’s website

The Papadopoulos ad is the only one that comes on twice before the main feature at the cinema, a sign of how seriously the president’s advisers see the youth vote.
Noverna polls published in Politis have shown that both Kasoulides and Christofias are far more popular with the 18-24 age group of voters than Papadopoulos.

But industry insiders are not convinced the Tassos rap will do the trick.

“The ad fails to appeal to its targeted population group and will probably end up discouraging young voters from choosing Papadopoulos,” said creative expert Sakis Manganis.

“The soundtrack is too aggressive and the actor is not the best choice they could have made.

“Further, the production is unrealistic and contains a lot of static filming.

“What appeals to young people are impressive graphics and energy-oozing advertising,” said Manganis.

Brand strategist Andreas Mesarites told the Mail that the “production is facetious, only the sound effects being well-worked.”

“It reminds me of EDEK’s advert a few years ago when they tried to approach the young by saying that it is ‘cool’ to vote EDEK.

“Like EDEK, Papadopoulos is trying to address the young by trying to speak for them...

“However, we are not told why the star of the ad ‘digs’ Papadopoulos,” Mesarites pointed out.

While the Tassos ad goes clubbing, his main rival Demetris Christofias is decidedly old fashioned, with the longest and probably the most kitsch ad of the three.

If we had to guess where its inspiration came from, it must be the Cyprus Airways spot that passengers are shown on landing in Cyprus. Unlike the airline’s ad, however, there is no video.

Instead, we see prepared photographic material sliding across the screen.
For 44 seconds, the viewers are ‘entertained’ by light background music and a powerpoint presentation of pictures while a broadcaster reads Christofias’ campaign positions.

The Cypriot flag covers the background throughout in this ‘what you see is what you get’ type ad.

His attitude to the Cyprus problem, to Turkish Cypriots, to the people and how he promotes both labour and entrepreneurship are all listed by the announcer.

The pictures shown have one thing in common: the candidate.

Christofias is shown with world leaders such as the Pope, as well as with the common people, altering between smiles and serious looks according to the situation he is in.
It ends with the assertion that Christofias “will rule by consensus” as various images of Christofias and company are thrown up against the Cypriot flag in tandem until they fill up the screen – probably the most riveting part of the ad.

Finally, the name of the candidate appears in red (as one might expect from the communist candidate), before the slogan “a policy of unity and humanitarianism” appears underneath in light blue to throw the viewers off.

Soon we are reassured that these elections have less to do with ideology and more to do with catch-all approaches, as the whole thing is underlined by a rainbow coloured line.

“This is a more populist but less expensive ad than Papadopoulos’ one,” said Manganis.

“There is a lot of content in it and it tries to get the message across simply.”
“Production-wise it is terrible, however, amateurish and obviously low budget.”
Mesarites agreed, pointing out that, “no particular effort to address the young is made in this advert.”

“Instead, Christofias focuses on the reasons why he would make a good president, something that Papadopoulos does not need to do because he is the incumbent.”
Insomniacs can find the ad – entitled ‘Demetris Christofias Unites’ – on the candidate’s website, under the ‘View all videos’ link at the bottom left of the page, by clicking on the light blue image showing Christofias with the words ‘TV SPOT’.

Ioannis Kasoulides’ ad in contrast has no words, just a procession of images and quips to the background of a catchy, soft rock tune.

By the end of the 36-second advert, the viewer will be excused if he is feeling nauseous, not because of the content, but because of the constant speedy zooming into the successive images.

These are accompanied by words such as ‘joy’, sadness’, love that unites’, ‘knowledge that creates’, ‘co-operation’ and ‘join us’.

The images range from a newborn child to a robot in front of a concert orchestra and from football players exchanging shirts at the end of a game to surfers holding hands on a beach.

The spot ends with a rather plastic countryside image: the words “Kasoulides: a Cyprus that wins” superimposed in white just above a graphic of green grass and blue sky.

“It is obvious that a lot of money has been put into the Kasoulides ad,” Manganis said.
“It starts off badly with the unsubtle picture of the newborn and goes on to become quite corny.

“The effort is clearly there, however, and it is a fresh approach when compared to the other two,” Manganis added.

“The ad tries to win you over via its rhythm,” said Mesarites.

“It is more youthful than the others because its music and its speed gives you the sense that it was made by young people”

The ad is available on the Kypros 21 website under the ‘Spots’ link on the right hand side: just scroll down to find the blue sky and green grass image.
We asked our advertising experts for the final word on the ads as a whole.

“All three leave much to be desired, but if I had to choose one which gets its message across to cinema-goers, I’d have to say that the Kasoulides one is the best,” said Manganis.

“The Papadopoulos one misses the target and the Christofias one is too old-fashioned.”

Mesarites cautioned about the effectiveness of the ads: “Before elections, the young voter becomes suspicious and raises his defences against such communication efforts.”



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