Style And Imagery On The UGBC Campaign Trail
Published: Thursday, February 20, 2014
Updated: Thursday, February 27, 2014 10:02
How much is in a t-shirt, a logo, a slogan? As UGBC election season wraps up, little is left of the campaign—a few odd banners hanging from windows, a decorative cloth hanging from a car, a campaign pamphlet covered in mud on the floor of the Walsh lobby. The material surrounding these candidates disappears in days, and for Nanci Fiore-Chettiar and Chris Marchese, both A&S ‘15, the campaign slogans will likely be forgotten soon as the work starts. But what does it all mean?
For one, there’s a clear formula for drafting the materials for these campaigns. The logos for both the Fiore-Chettiar-Marchese and Levine-Vergara teams featured an eagle and kept to a minimalist design. The Levine-Vergara campaign included an outline of a globe in its logo, while Fiore-Chettiar-Marchese kept to just the bird.
As expected, the teams picked opposite colors—red and light blue—to give the visual presence of the teams around campus an adversarial look. Frequently, the campaigns would set up tables alongside each other, and if it weren’t for the colors, it would be difficult to distinguish the campaigns from body language alone.
This year, however, the color warfare was taken to a new extreme as Fiore-Chettiar-Marchese campaigners colored snow red with spray bottles full of food coloring, and Levine-Vergara supporters did the same with blue. Although not quite Machiavellian tactics, the politicking done on campus has a sure power dynamic to it—for these moves to be effective, the teams have to bank on the fact that voters are easily manipulated by imagery, and while it’s impossible to gauge how much a 30-foot wide “L + V” etch in the snow in O’Neill Plaza impacted the election, it makes sense that candidates turn to unusual spaces to get their messages across, as the Elections Committee limits other avenues of expression.
Turning to the slogans, Fiore-Chettiar-Marchese stuck with the expression “Together We Will,” while Levine-Vergara settled on “Bring UGBC Down to Earth.” These expressions reflected the teams’ respective insider-outsider dynamics, and both had in them something of a populist flair.
How much is in a t-shirt, a logo, a slogan? However much can fit, and as more and more elements of these campaigns get transferred to online mediums, it’s imaginable that in years to come, teams will be able to get by without these visual and rhetorical necessities of student government campaigns. For now, however, little changes from year to year when it comes to this aspect of the campaign trail—the visual tactics of the two teams remain essentially similar to each other.
"Together we will became the mantra for the Fiore-Chettiar-Marchese campaign, as Nanci and Chris made their experiences as reformers in UGBC the basis of their platform.
The Levine-Vergara team's "Bringing UGBC Down To Earth" slogan served as an affirmation of the pair's outsider status, building on the imagery of the eagle with an outline of the Earth.
Candidates toed the line between formal and casual, balancing the desire to come across as professional and the need to come across as having the common touch.
It was baby blue warfare for candidates Lucas Levine and Vance Vergara (left) as they took to the dining halls to make the presence of their supporters known to student passersby, as did the other team with red.
The teams looked for creative spaces on campus to show their colors, as the Elections Committee tightened restrictions on campaign tactics.
By late Wednesday afternoon, the shades of red and white faded from campus, and the only signs of the election were a few leftover campaign materials and signs.