Bored by the never-ending French presidential campaign? Can’t wait for the end of it all? Follow the next three steps:
Step 1: Click here.
Step 2: On you keyboard, type the following sequence: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA
Step 3: Enjoy.
For those of you who weren’t teenagers in the late 1980s and early 1990s and/or have no video game experience whatsoever, you have just unlocked an easter egg on the French Socialist party’s website by using the Konami code, a popular code sequence used in many video games to unlock bonuses and cheats. Unsurprisingly, very few media outlets reported on the hidden timer, even though a few geeky-minded journalists on Twitter noticed it:
Vivien Vergnaud (@Vivien_Vergnaud) April 11, 2012
Clearly slick graphics aren’t the only tool the Socialist party is using to promote its candidate, François Hollande. The only problem is that only a tiny minority of voters actually know what the Konami Code is and what it does. It is nothing more than an amusing gimmick, similar to the Google bombs I wrote about previously: funny for the small number of people who are in the know, but useless as a campaigning tactic to reach the masses. Of course, the web-designers at avenue de Ségur (the campaign HQ) know this, and the easter egg is just a bonus to an otherwise well-designed interactive graphic aimed at criticizing Nicolas Sarkozy.
The following videos, however, have a much stronger potential for reaching out towards voters, especially young ones. Just like Hollande’s recent incursion into the realms of rap was an attempt to connect with the banlieue youth, the following clips are short, succinct and loaded with pop culture references (video games for the first, Internet memes for the second) to reach out towards young voters bored with traditional politics.
“Mot à Mot” (Word for Word) is a clever web-series the Socialists have been rolling out for the past few weeks. It gives short, fun updates on the campaign, each based on a theme (movies, TV shows, music, etc.). The heavy parodying of movie and video game titles is slightly distracting, but the real goal of the clips isn’t to get across a specific message; just to look cool and young.