With the Federal election coming up, I pass by a ton of candidate signs to and from work in Markham (and two candidate offices). I noticed that the Conservative, Liberal, and NDP candidates have signs that say their name only, while the Green Party sign has the name and the picture of the candidate on their sign. This perks my curiosity – why do candidates decide to put (or not put) their image on signs? I can think of a couple of reasons why you would want to:

  • You’re a new candidate and want to be recognized
  • You look awesome/trustworthy/superior human being™ and want to subliminally convince voters to vote for you
  • You want to build an emotional connection with voters

For a parallel – take a look at advertisements from Real Estate brokers. The ones that I remember all have the Real Estate broker’s face on them (although I can’t specifically recall what they look like). That seems to indicate to me that having your face on the sign is beneficial.

Then, why would candidates choose to only advertise their name? Here’s what I think:

  • You are already recognized visually by the community
  • Your name is recognized (because you’re the incumbent etc) and much more stronger than your face
  • The impact of the party colours are more important
  • They expect people to glance quickly at the sign and thus not remember the details in a face
  • Given the limited budget, it’s cheaper to print out (and spam) simple signs
  • They are really ugly

Any other ideas?