Sun, Dec 27, 2015 - Page 3 News List

FEATURE: Candidates court voters with merchandise

ATTENTION-GRABBING:One election hopeful is handing out condoms and sanitary pads bearing puns on their packages to make sure that voters remember her name

By Chung Hung-liang, Hsieh Chia-chun, Yeh Kuan-yu and Jona  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

People First Party legislative candidate Vivian Huang holds up a promotional bag during a campaign event in Taipei on Dec. 12.

Photo: Liang Pei-chi, Taipei Times

In the run-up to next month’s legislative elections, candidates in Taipei are frantically distributing campaign memorabilia — from crackers to condoms — in an attempt to build name recognition.

In many contested districts, “third force” and independent candidates, as well as candidates from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), are seeking to advertize their campaigns, particularly to young voters, with novelty merchandise and memorabilia items.

Miao Po-ya (苗博雅), the Green Party-Social Democratic Party Alliance’s legislative candidate for Taipei’s eighth electoral district, tapped into social outrage by printing stickers supporting a boycott of Ting Hsin International Group, in addition to stickers supporting marriage equality.

To emphasize Miao’s support for food safety, campaign staffers distributed I-Mei Foods soda crackers — a corporation perceived as a socially conscious and a safe alternative to Ting Hsin.

Freddy Lim, the New Power Party’s (NPP) legislative candidate in Taipei’s fifth electoral district, has been issuing a single-page journal titled Newsflash Bulletin (關鍵快報), featuring articles concerning his voter base.

Lim also sells T-shirts with his name written on them in Chinese, which his campaign staffers and supporters refer to as the “Master Roshi” shirt, due to the similarity of its design to the iconic attire of a character from the Japanese anime series Dragon Ball Z.

Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安), the KMT’s legislative candidate for Taipei’s third district, is promoting his campaign with a functional item. The so-called “multifunctional” cloths distributed by Chiang’s campaign staffers have a Taipei MRT map on one side and can also be used to wipe prescription glasses or flat-panel screens.

To encourage donations to his campaign, Chiang offers a free USB flash drive in exchange of small contributions.

Independent candidate Yang Shi-chiu (楊實秋) for the city’s seventh district added another technological twist to the electoral race by introducing QR codes that direct people to Yang’s campaign Web site.

Lee Yen-jong (李晏榕), the Green Party-Social Democratic Party Alliance’s legislative candidate for Taipei’s third district, has been handing out condoms to promote her campaign. The condoms, which are called baoxiantao (保險套) in Mandarin, come in wrappers bearing the slogan: “[Lee] has the moves.”

Lee has also been distributing sanitary pads, with the slogan: “We have padding/chemistry.”

Lee’s campaign Web site allows visitors to purchase clothing items, mugs and cellphone accessories featuring anime-style portraits of the candidate.

Rosalia Wu (吳思瑤), the DPP’s legislative candidate for Taipei’s first district, has collaborated with a professional illustrator to design promotional folders.

Chen Shang-chih (陳尚志), the Green Party-Social Democratic Party Alliance’s candidate for the city’s fourth district, worked with artists to illustrate pamphlets for his campaign.

Several KMT legislators have also been distributing novelty merchandise items to appeal to voters.

KMT Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) for Taipei’s fifth electoral district has been handing out copies of “certificate of legislative adviser,” while KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) for the city’s eighth electoral district distributed masks to raise awareness about air pollution, winning the praise of motorcyclists and elderly people.

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