Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Prime Time

Yesterday I posted the image of an advertisement hanging in the subways which rubbishes the prime minister's favorite turn of phrase.

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.

"Reform cannot be stopped. Pollen can be."

"Mask--Yes or No? The Mask NG (No Good) Party"

Hilarious. I especially love the phony party logo in the shape of a nose.

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