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

Ijeh, Nkemdilim Patrick
Popular appeals explored by political advertisers for elections include showing a clear understanding of pressing societal issues and demonstrating the possession of appropriate responses to them as well as emphasis on experience relevant to the position being sought or one's track records in other spheres of human endeavour. In addition to the aforementioned appeals, this study observes that some political advertisers for the April 2011 general elections in Nigeria incorporated cultural
more » ... ted cultural elements such as native languages; cultural dressing; emphasis on candidates' cultural affinities by birth, history, marriage and chieftaincy titles; cultural music and dances; cultural norms, values and ideologies; as well as visits to and endorsements of candidates by traditional rulers. Voters perceived this in good light and majority indicated that they were attracted by these cultural elements to the political advertisements and learnt about the candidates from them. However, a minority of them indicated that these incorporated cultural elements actually influenced their voting decisions. These findings, 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 people what to think about but never what to think.