FAIR PRE-ELECTION EYES
The pre-election campaigning started officially last Wednesday. Parties began an open contest for the thrust of the electorate, to be expressed on June 25. TV and radio stations are already broadcasting pre-election debates. By tradition, the clash of platforms, ideas and economic promises are less interesting to people. They are more impressed by shorter forms of political propaganda such as pre-election slogans, posters and clips. Pre-election addresses are remembered only if the political leader is very charismatic, or if he has made a blunder, or if he has hired a street-wise consultant to provide him with a Ciceron-style speech, fair pre-election eyes, clean past and and convincing bright future. Political headquarters, however, are not willing to admit they have resorted to the services of Western image makers. Perhaps, they are just putting on a modest air because that is quite an expensive service. The remuneration of Western PR agencies is usually 10% of the campaign's worth, but it's quite doubtful that companies of repute would be content with about BGN200,000 in order to make any of the Bulgarian political forces a winner in the elections. Experts in the branch claim that the fees for political PR consultations in Bulgaria are much lower, mostly because Western advisers are inclined to use a more flexible model of negotiating in Southeastern Europe. They are ready to consult parts of the campaign, such as its direction, or the making up of a slogan, or ideas for clips, without undertaking the entire canvassing. Two types of remuneration are possible in such cases - either a percentage of the campaign's cost is negotiated or a fixed amount for the provided service. The percentage in the first case is seldom less than 10%, and the remuneration to the consultant in the second case (hotel and travel expenses excluded) is at least EUR1,000 per day. Rumours say that some of the blue, but mostly the yellow have been consulted by the world-famous Dresner, Wickers Associates, LLC. (DWA), which won the second presidential mandate of Boris Yeltsin in 1996. The merit for electing Hollywood's movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger Governor of California also goes to them. DWA was also responsible for the election of the former Romanian president Emil Constantinescu.The NMSII announced they were relying on Bulgarian PR experts (Elena Vulcheva's Yanev Yanev agency), but they were also using the local representation of the US company Ogilvy Mather which is skilled in working out ads. However, it will remain a secret how much the agency will get for NMSII's clips, to be broadcast by BTV, bTV and Nova Televisia, for the ads in the press, and for the billboards. According to rumours, foreign consultants have secretly participated in the other parties' campaigns, too. Journalists and directors work in the parties' press centres. Media experts discern Stefan Danailov's style in BSP's message One for all, all for one. And the TV director Nidal Algafari can be seen behind the promise to have Goran Bregovic's brass band at the square and the techno versions of one-time musical hits. NMSII intends to use in their pre-election campaign a song from the Bulgarian film Orchestra without a Name. UDF hired D-2 and Dicho in their campaign, while DSB again relies on Stefan Dimitrov and Vasko Krapkata. The hedgehogs from Novoto Vreme are riding bicycles and intend to wear thorns in their party colours. MRF counts on the master clarinettist Ivo Papasov. We are not going to explain Euroroma's show, employing the recently made friendship between the folk star Azis and the rapper nicknamed the Mouth.