Archive for the ‘General Election 2011’ Category

Candidates …Help Me!

February 21, 2016

Voting in 1943

It’s that time again when we get the chance to shape how our country is run by either running for election or by choosing who we want to represent us in Dail Eireann.

Even though I am quite interested in politics and have been living in my area for many years I can honestly say that I don’t know the first thing about pretty much any of the candidates. All manner of literature has been pushed through the letter box (most of this has been quite generic) and election posters decorate the lamp posts on most routes and in the housing estates.

In less than a week I will be expected to cast my votes so between now and then I must make up my mind who I will give them to.

My wish list..

As a business person I will want a pro-business candidate and I do believe that high taxes are a huge demotivator so I will also look for a sensible reduction in taxes. I personally hate the water charges but I detest even more the cohort who are protesting against them.

I believe that everyone in society should be expected to work but that we should look after the elderly and the vulnerable. Finally we shouldn’t have a fear about getting sick in this fantastic country of ours.

Once the politics align with my core beliefs and I believe in the candidate then they have my vote.

I am interested in my own thought process towards the candidates and I have been observing the factors that are influencing my preferences:

Knowing the candidate – My first big observation as I note the different names appearing on the posters is that unlike other constituencies I know none of them except for one candidate!

I find it is incredible that none of the candidates except for one has interacted with me in any way before the election – all candidates are therefore relying 100% on their posters, flyers, canvassing, advertising and late PR to convince me.

Shirley Griffin 1

Professionalism – My second observation is the obvious professionalism and budget that Renua have with their campaign. This is a pre requisite for any party. Their large posters were the first up in the area and there is a huge quantity of them. This would make me consider them a little but the only problem once again is that I have absolutely no idea who Jason Fitzgerald is.

Fitzgerald - Renua

Mickey Mouse – My third observation is how shocking some of the posters are. In my view poor candidate posters are a reflection of themselves and there is no way on earth you could even consider them as your representative.

Shirley Griffin slogan

Shirley Griffin stands out with her second phase of posters, which look like a bunch of kids did them and even worse was Jerry O’Sullivan who definitely won the first prize for amateur hour. Both of these candidates make it very easy for me to dismiss them totally.


Personal Bias – My fourth observation is the clear bias that I hold against certain parties and for that reason no poster, flyer or face to face canvass would sway my opinion in favour of them. This for me puts a line through any Sinn Fein, Anti Austerity, People Against Profit or Communist Party candidates.


Canvassing – My fifth observation is the power of canvassing. I found myself feeling quite positive towards a candidate I would not have considered beforehand due to the pleasant, coherent and polite manner of the person representing them. This surprised me as I always feel the candidate is the person you should meet.

Like many people I am very slow to open the door these days so I suspect this may not be as effective as it used be.

Party Performance – My sixth observation is the power of the TV debates and all the discussion before and after these. Not only do the media evaluate the performance of the parties in detail but it is also becomes a popular topic with people you deal with on an everyday basis.

A strong TV performance for a Party leader will quite possibly have you looking favorably on the local Party candidate who you have never heard of before and vice versa. While I disagree with the high taxation philosophy of the Social Democrats I believe Stephen Donnelly’s TV performances could sway votes for candidates around the country.

In our constituency there is no candidate so all his hard work is a waste this time round!

Social Media – My seventh observation was how invisible most of the candidates in our constituency were during the campaign and during the last few years. Guys…wake up!!!

This is a lot easier than shoe leather and attending endless funerals and is a very effective way of reaching large numbers of voters.

Nothing Changes – My eight and last observation (phew you say!) is that while everything has changed, in many ways nothing has changed and the job of chasing votes is pretty similar to how it always has been.

When I was a kid, I used live across the road from a school that was one of the polling stations. I remember vividly the excitement around voting day and the build up. We were fascinated by the colourful posters and I even remember bringing one home with me. On the day of the elections we used help the guys to hand out last minute flyers for the candidates – I’m sure we earned the odd chocolate bar for our extreme efforts.

Last week while walking “Honey” (the dog, who has since run away again for the third time!) late at night we came across a bunch of kids on their mid-term break who were marching around with an Aine Collins poster. They even stopped so we could photograph them with their favourite politician!

Nothing has changed..

Aine Collins poster

As it turns out Aine Collins, our Fine Gael TD is my favourite as well and she will be getting my No 1. Vote. She is the one that I have got to know quite well over the years and in my view is an intelligent, straight forward, honest, hard working politician who has made a big difference both locally and nationally on quite a number of issues.

She will be the first to admit that things aren’t perfect but I do trust her when she tells me she will try her best to improve them.

I sincerely believe that campaigning is a very tough, expensive and exhausting job and I would genuinely congratulate and thank all of the candidates for putting themselves forward and letting us judge them on the 26th February.

Before we give out about our politicians we must remember that we are the ones that vote for them and if we are not happy with the calibre of who is in front of us then we all have the option of running ourselves (next time!)

What factors are swaying you this time round?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork




The Candidates – Deirdre Clune, Fine Gael (Cork South Central)

February 21, 2011
Deirdre Clune - Fine Gael

Impressive Deirdre - no generic flyer here!

As part of the election process I am going to do a “Ronseal” (what does their tin say about them) review of the political candidates literature that comes in through our letterbox and score them accordingly!!

Candidate: Deirdre Clune, Fine Gael (Cork South Central)

Deirdre was quite progressive in getting her literature to me to review – well done !

Design and Layout (5)
I must admit I wouldn’t be blown away by the design and layout of the literature but to be fair it is comprehensive and allows plenty of space to build the arguments and convince the reader of Deirdre’s merits – score 4

Photo (10)
The main photo of Deirdre is ok – she is wearing a light coloured smart business style jacket (against the standard Fine Gael “sky” background!) but she looks quite stern in the picture. The inside picture is much more relaxed and shows a warmer person – I have never met Deirdre so I have no idea what she is like. I like the person on the inside much more – score 7.5

Contact Details (5)
In terms of the contact details the full deal is here except .. a land line instead of a mobile number, which seems to be standard practice for all the other candidates. Deirdre has listed her website, her email address as well as her Facebook and twitter pages listed .. ok, in that respect Deirdre is very progressive allowing everyone an opportunity to really find out more about her, what she is like and what she is up to – score 5

Background (10)
Deirdre tells us about her background (she is obviously quite intelligent and very qualified), her education and profession, her family life and what she has been doing in the political arena – the flyer lists her different political posts but I am disappointed she has not listed her achievements during the course of this work – score 8

Sales Pitch (10)
The sales pitch in the flyer is quite strong – it covers the Fine Gael big items, it covers local issues that Deirdre wants to address and it also builds convincing arguments and a sense of a Fine Gael “team” – there is a good balance between Deirdre and the party message – score 8

Big Picture (10)
The big picture arguments are well made without over-promising, I liked the Fine Gael “business team” profile, which is reassuring and I just hope that these specific promises can be delivered on – score 9

Overall Score
This is not a generic Fine Gael flyer, which I love. Deirdre has put together her own literature and builds a strong argument unlike many of the other Fine Gael candidates. It shows how much you respect your voters – Well done Deirdre!! – overall score 41.5 out of 50.

Best of luck in the elections Deirdre I suspect you will do well ..

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications

The Candidates – David McCarthy, Independent (Cork South Central)

February 13, 2011
David McCarthy, Independent Candidate, Cork

David McCarthy - A Fresh approach?

As part of the election process I am going to do a “Ronseal” (what does their tin say about them) review of the political candidates literature that comes in through our letterbox and score them accordingly!!

Candidate: David McCarthy, Independent for Reform (Cork South Central)

David’s literature didn’t actually come through my letter box but he came across my activity on-line and asked me to review his material – I must say, I like this positive approach – well done David!

Design and Layout (5)
David has opted for a 3 panel DL format, which allows him plenty of space to build his arguments and allow the reader a chance to properly assess what he is all about. The flyer is well designed and has taken quite a fresh approach – score 5

Photo (10)
This is a really good photo of David – he looks smart but also looks friendly and open. The photo captures a young man and it conveys to me a candidate that would have fresh ideas and energy as well as warmth. He is wearing a dark pin stripe suit (personally I think he is a little bit young for the “regulation” suit)  with a white shirt and plain red tie – maybe he wants to balance youth with seriousness: I would have dressed a little younger David. Would you trust this man? I think definitely, the photo screams of youth and freshness. Well done! – score 9

Contact Details (5)
He includes both his email address and his personal phone number on his flyer, as well his facebook and twitter pages and a link to his website. That puts David is a very progressive box and gives everyone an opportunity to really find out more about what he is like and what he is up to – score 5

Background (10)
David tells us plenty about himself here and you do get a sense of his personality. He has a lot of work done in the political arena supporting other candidates, which shows he does understand the process. He works in Communications but personally I would like to know what he is qualified at – if he were to get our vote what expertise would he bring to the party? It is clear that David is good at “making things happen” – he demonstrates this with the work he has done on his dads projects. I can see energy and commitment and someone who would work hard for things he believes in – score 8

Sales Pitch (10)
David explains why he is running, that it is not a time for sitting on the fence and he wants to offer an alternative voice – he outlines some clear ideas and policies and then asks the reader to empathise with the difficulty of being an “independent” candidate. His closing pitch is to give him a chance but he reminded me too much of the difficulty of being an independent – score 7

Big Picture (10)
The big picture arguments are well documented. David outlines point by point his policies and ideas and has clearly put a lot of time and thought into this – the other candidates could well take a leaf from his book, instead of the “vote for us because FF have made a bags of it” approach. I’m not sure if all of this would work in practice but it does demonstrate someone who works with solutions instead of pointing out problems – score 9

Overall Score
I really like what David has done here. In summary he promises the reader a fresh approach, someone who understands the system and is solutions focused. My only real negative is that he points out too well how difficult it may be for an Independent candidate, maybe to the point that one might feel there is no point giving him their No.1 vote.

However, I’m sorry David is not in my constituency ..  overall score 43 out of 50.

Best of luck in the elections David – for some reason I feel we will be hearing more from you !

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications

The Candidates – Jerry Buttimer, Fine Gael (Cork South Central)

February 13, 2011
Jerry Buttimer, Fine Gael

Jerry Buttimer, Fine Gael - tell us more Jerry

As part of the election process I am going to do a “Ronseal” (what does their tin say about them) review of the political candidates literature that comes in through our letterbox and score them accordingly!!

Candidate: Jerry Buttimer, Fine Gael (Cork South Central)

This review is quite easy for me as it follows a standard format that some of the Fine Gael candidates are using – I have other candidates reviewed already so my job is easy – check out Derry Canty!

Design and Layout (5)
Jerry and his FG team opted for a really small flyer, A6 size, it’s tiny but it is printed on heavier paper than the other candidates so far. For some reason there is no mention of which constituency Jerry is running in prominently on the flyer  – score 3

Photo (10)
There is a only a fair photo of Jerry, looking just ok, giving no hint of his personality and with a slightly vacant look in his eyes. He is wearing a dark suit with a light blue shirt and red and blue striped blue tie – standard attire for a politician I guess! Would you trust this man? The photo doesn’t engage with me so I will give a neutral score here – score 5

Contact Details (5)
He includes both his email address and his personal phone number on his flyer, a nice “open” approach. As well as this he has his Facebook and twitter pages listed .. ok, that puts him in the progressive box and gives everyone an opportunity to really find out more about what he is like and what he is up to – score 5

Background (10)
There is absolutely nothing on the flyer about Jerry. When I say nothing I really mean nothing.. how can I be expected to vote for you if I know nothing about you, what you believe in, what you are qualified at, what you have achieved – score 0

Sales Pitch (10)
The sales pitch on the flyer is a generic Fine Gael pitch and not why we should vote for Jerry. To be fair it does give a point by point review of what they would do. It is a little generic though using terms such as “radical stimulus plan” and “radical reforms” , tell me more, I’d love to hear more about these radical changes .. – score 5

Big Picture (10)
The big picture argument was the same as the sales pitch and did attempt to explain how FG would make a difference. At least there is an attempt at explaining how the “big picture” might be different if we voted for them – score 8

Overall Score
This is a Fine Gael flyer with Jerry’s picture and contact details on it. As I suspected we will see exactly the same across the length and breadth of the country with other candidate’s names and pictures.

Jerry (or Derry as the case will be), people vote for people and you know this – your flyer is a wasted opportunity to get your message across to your voters. Lots of pressing the flesh is needed to show them you – check out Aine Collin’s (Fine Gael) flyer who goes some way to showing what she is like and why we should vote for  “her” – overall score 26 out of 50.

Best of luck in the elections Jerry or was it Derry!?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications