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Voters’ Perception of Cultural Elements in Political Advertising for the April 2011 General Elections in Nigeria

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Author(s): Patrick Nkemdilim Ijeh

Journal: Acta Universitatis Danubius : Communicatio
ISSN 1844-7562

Volume: 6;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 15;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: electioneering campaign | cult ure | candidate

ABSTRACT
Popular appeals explored by political advertisers for elections include showing a clearunderstanding ofpressing societal issues and demonstrating the possession of appropriate responsesto them as well as emphasis on experience relevant to the position being sought or one’s track recordsin other spheres of human endeavour. In addition to the aforementionedappeals, this study observesthat some political advertisers for the April 2011general elections in Nigeria incorporated culturalelements such as native languages; cultural dressing; emphasis on candidates’ cultural affinities bybirth, history, marriage and chieftaincy titles; cultural music and dances; cultural norms, values andideologies; as well as visits to and endorsements of candidates by traditional rulers. Voters perceivedthis in good light and majority indicated that they were attracted by these cultural elements to thepolitical advertisements and learnt about the candidates from them. However, a minority of themindicated that these incorporated cultural elements actually influenced their voting decisions. Thesefindings, emanating from a content analysis of selected political advertisements for the elections,tally with the notion of agenda setting theory of mass communication that the media can tell peoplewhat to think about but never what to think.
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