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Spanish Political Party Puts Twist on Boring Electoral Catalogs

Grant Whittington headshotWords by Grant Whittington
New Activism
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Reading an almost 200-page political advertisement may not sound like the most entertaining way to spend your time, but Podemos, a Spanish left-wing political party, brought a fresh spin to the otherwise daunting task. In its unique marketing approach, Podemos developed a 192-page Ikea-esque catalog that presents its candidates next to colorful furniture.

By making the program simplified and less intimidating, the party hopes to inspire those who aren’t as politically-savvy. The brightly-colored catalog humanizes its candidates and party supporters by photographing them performing everyday tasks like feeding their fish, playing with their dog, playing chess or reading a book. The photos are complemented with short blurbs and bullets, concisely explaining the party’s stance.

And the party’s stance is catching fire in Spain. Podemos, which is Spanish for “we can,” came into the political sphere in 2014 amid the anti-austerity movement. Spain’s unemployment rate sits at an abysmal 21 percent, but it's actually down from 25 percent when the political party burst onto the scene. With unemployment so high and the government facing threat of a Catalonia secession — a Spanish region which includes Barcelona and accounts for 20 percent of the country’s GDP — Podemos gained loads of support for a freshman party. In Spain’s 2015 general election, it managed 20.6 percent of the vote and 69 seats in the Congress of Deputies, good for third place behind the People’s Party (28.7 percent, 123 seats) and the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (22 percent, 90 seats).

The program can be purchased for just over $2 plus shipping. The catalog is split into two sections: The first exemplifying traditional Ikea sections featuring kitchen, bathroom and living room furniture and the second showing the readers cut-and-dry information in a non-spectacular fashion.

“If we want to pursue different objectives, we need to take different measures,” Carolina Bescansa, cofounder of Podemos, said at the program’s presentation.  

Photo courtesy of Podemos

Grant Whittington headshotGrant Whittington

Based in Washington, DC, Grant works as a program assistant at SEEP Network, an international development nonprofit. A proud graduate of the University of Maryland, Grant spent four months post-grad living in Armenia where he worked for Habitat for Humanity and the World Food Programme. Grant is passionate about humanitarianism and finding sustainable approaches to international development. He enjoys playing trivia with friends but is still seeking his first victory - he ceaselessly blames his friends lack of preparation.

Read more stories by Grant Whittington