Negative advertising

Media coverage of the state election in Queensland and discussion of campaign advertising has been dominated by public outrage over Bob Katter’s ‘anti-gay’ advertisement.

It seems that negative political advertising is as prevalent as ever.

Get Up responded quickly with this video of Katter’s brother denouncing the ad and its message of hate –  “Qld don’t vote for hate”.

An interesting analysis of the way the ‘Katter ad’ negatively depicts a gay couple can be found at

Some extracts from the commentary:

This advertisement distastefully draws on offensive stereotypes to negatively portray homosexual couples, campaigns for minority groups to be challenged, reinforces restrictive notions of family and gender and implies gay marriage is a threat to family values.

Let’s put aside Campbell Newman’s position on gay marriage, the fact that gay marriage is a federal issue, not a state issue – and the fact that Mr. Newman’s party does not support Queensland’s civil union legislation – these issues steer conversation away from the hateful and homophobic content of the advertisement.

The language used to suggest that Australia needs a leader to “stand up to other minority groups” is hostile and inappropriate. Australia is home to a diverse range of minority groups whose contributions enrich the socio-cultural fabric of our society. This advertisement implies that minority groups should not be treated with respect, or granted equal rights. While this may be the un-informed belief of some Australians, it is a damaging attitude to promote as Australia struggles with racism, sexism, homophobia and discrimination against individuals for unjust reasons.

The images of the two men in the advertisement:
• Feature an older man with a younger man
• Are censored to suggest their activity and/or bodies are too disgusting for depiction on television (and to distort the original context of the photograph, available here)
• represent pale, thin, men who appear solemn – achieved via the selection of a stock photo featuring earnest facial expressions and faded colours

These production choices are drawing on old-fashioned and dangerous beliefs that the gay community:
• Is dominated by/comprised only of men
• Corrupts young men
• Only engages in activities of a sexual nature
• Is unhealthy and disease ridden
• Is a threat to heterosexual people and families
• Should be ashamed

These connotations differ greatly from those conjured by the colourful, joyous photograph of the heteronormative, three-generation-strong family that’s also pictured in the ad. This juxtaposition aims to alienate gays (ignoring their ability to successfully raise children and maintain loving families) while celebrating one representation of a privileged Australian family.

from Nathan Stoneham blog



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