Sunday, January 20, 2008

Is this Texas candidate The Biggest Loser?

Fox News reports on a Texas congressional candidate with a big fat PR problem:

Dean Hrbacek appears slimmer than usual in a new campaign brochure because a photo of his head was affixed to the image of a different body.

While the mailer sent to voters this week by the former Sugar Land mayor says "Dean's record speaks for itself," his physique clearly does not.

The picture, presented as a true image of the candidate, is a computerized composite of Hrbacek's face and someone else's slimmer figure, in suit and tie, from neck to kneecaps.


Campaign manager Scott Broschart acknowledged the image is a fake. Hrbacek has been so busy meeting voters that he had no time to take a full-length, genuine photo for the political mailing, Broschart said.

So Hrbacek's campaign put the headless body with the candidate's head.

"He may appreciate that we took a few pounds off him," Broschart said. "I think the voters ... are more concerned with the issues as opposed to pretty photo shoots."

Actually, Scott, they’re concerned with both. An audience will let you get away with best-foot-forward tactics in your advertising, as long as what they’re seeing is somewhat authentic. You can have the photographer adjust the lighting. You can have the candidate shave right before the photo shoot. You even can put him in a suit that hides a few pounds. But use the ol’ head/body switcheroo, and voters are going to start wondering what other tricks you're using to deceive them.

Advertising on its own doesn’t win elections, but advertising that creates PR problems sure doesn’t help. In trying to make Hrbacek look like The Biggest Loser in his brochure, his campaign may have just ensured that he’ll be a big loser in the March primary.

Bonus coverage: the Lone Star Times has a close up of the less-than-stellar PhotoShop work that started the big fat controversy.


Karen Goldner said...

I wish I'd thought of that....


Beth said...

At least we had the foresight to take full-length photos of you, Karen, when we were shooting your head shot. And, if I may say so, they were in no need of doctoring. ;-)