Whether the transformation of the prime minister (or in this case, his ideology) into the raw material for advertizing copy is new phenomenon or not, I do not know. My guess this is a fairly new development--verging on the naughty in its disrespectful attitude to the hinkaku of the prime ministerial sash. I do not recall much use of the PM in formal advertizing before Koizumi Jun'ichirō--which is too bad, as Murayama Tomiichi's eyebrows presented a tremendous opportunity for Japan's scissor and lawnmower manufacturers.
That the use of the prime minister as material for advertizing comes as a result from the public's greater familiarity with the prime minister I have no doubt. What I am not sure about is whether the familiarity is the result of the PM's greater prominence within the political order or his downgrading to the level of being just another well-known oyaji.
I suppose it is a little of both--a by-product of a more playful and less-fearful media environment.
Still, the Brutus ad in the subways is remarkably bold and self-confident. Basically, it is telling Prime Minister Abe that his core values are way off-base.
Contrast this prickly attitude with soft, affectionate mockery of Prime Minister Koizumi's face and prominently schnozzola in this subway advertisement for an allergy medicine from earlier this year--one which gleefully borrows graphic elements from both the scandal sheets and political posters.
"Mask--Yes or No? The Mask NG (No Good) Party"
Hilarious. I especially love the phony party logo in the shape of a nose.