How to Strike the Visual Tone to Win the French Election
April 23, 2017
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Striking the right visual tone is especially crucial in France, capital of the cosmetic and fashion industries, and whose Parisian salons have set global style trends for centuries. As the republic votes in the 2017 Presidential French Election of 2017, PicScout took to measuring the visual presence and impact of the leading French election candidates across the political spectrum. One’s online presence both across editorial sites and social media platforms is crucial in today’s visual-dominant world, where we more often judge a book by its cover, than by its contents.
Marine Le Pen had dominated the visual chatter in the lead-up to today’s vote. She is by far the most divisive politician in the race but arguably the most popular. Her political personality and pedigree regularly attracts the attention of the French media. Interestingly, Le Pen favors navy blue, which is called “bleu marine” in French — the name of her political movement, a wordplay on her first name and the colour long associated with conservatives in France. Le Pen is the only female candidate among the 11 running: since announcing her candidacy, she has cut her blond hair and donned dark menswear-style suits. That contrasts with the only other woman to be a top presidential contender in France, Ségolenè Royal, who wore bright feminine colours in her 2007 campaign.
The telegenic Emmanuel Macron has made much of his presentational style. The centrist presidential candidate for the French election is coming a close second in the visual presence stakes, and has recently picked up a key alley in former USA president Barack Obama. His increasing popularity across social media may also be reflected in the voting booths, as he’s seen as France’s last, best chance of keeping far-right leader Marine Le Pen from becoming the country’s next president. With frustration at France’s political class running high, Macron has tapped into a desire for wholesale change that has also propelled far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon.
Speaking of Melenchon, the far-left candidate’s popularity and visual presence has surged in the closing days of the campaign. His responsive social media campaign, together with his use of hologram projections during political rallies across France has enamored him as a tech-savvy protector of France’s socialist future. This is clever branding, as Melenchon is the oldest candidate in the running.
Based on the visual presence and chatter alone, we believe the French election will be close call between Le Pen and Macron. While Le Pen was already very popular from the start of her campaign, media coverage of Macron has ballooned in the industry’s last-minute efforts in keeping Le Pen away. Only time will tell.