Cacareco, a rhinoceros adopted by the São Paulo zoo, was elected city councilor in 1958 with amazing 100,000 votes. Thirty years later, chimpanzee Macaco Tião repeated the feat in Rio. He received 400,000 votes and came close to becoming the city mayor.
Bizarre candidates are not foreign to Brazilian voters. But every new election they seem to reach an extra level of surrealism. The freak stars of this year’s campaign are a clown, a fashion designer, the so called “Pear Woman” and a couple of candidates that shout non-stop during their TV spots.
Facing their performances is quite inevitable. During the last 45 days, every broadcast radio or TV channel offered two daily blocks of propaganda, shared by those in the dispute for the Presidency, State governments, Senate and both State and Federal Congresses.
The highlight of this year’s campaign is brought to you by Tiririca, a singer/clown who claims to ignore what a Congressman is supposed to do, but promises: “if you vote for me, I will find out and tell you!”. His motto: “Vote for me – It cannot get worse!”. In his campaign material, it is stated that “senior citizens, who worked so much for the country, won’t be forgotten by Tiririca”. The text is followed by an image of the candidate hugging a couple of elders. In a cartoon speech balloon you can read: “”Essa véia ainda dá um caldo“. (literally, “you can still make a broth out of this old lady flesh”. You guessed: it is not a culinary tip, but a sexual innuendo).
Tiririca is expected to get – believe it or not – almost 1 million votes. So, just relax and check here the musical talents of the future congressman.
Now, if you dig mixing corsets and politics, you might want to vote for the “Pear Woman”. Displaying a phenomenal cleavage, she states that “young people vote for young people” and that “you should forget all the other Fruit-Women. I am different”.
My own favorite is Ronaldo Ésper, a fashion designer and TV host specialized in high-society wedding dresses. Sort of Brazil’s Vera Wang (but I am not so sure if she would like the comparison). He is notorious for two recent episodes: being caught stealing vases in a traditional cemetery of São Paulo and performing a full strip-tease at Trash 80 (a deliciously decadent paulista nightclub).
Screaming is another resource quite popular among candidates this year.
The technique was successfully introduced by Enéas Carneiro, a bald and bearded cardiologist that run for President in 1989. In his 15 seconds of airtime, he would shout non-stop “My name is Enéas!” It worked. His celebrity grew considerably. In the following elections, with longer propaganda spots, he began to defend an ultra-nationalistic platform and the construction of a Brazilian atomic bomb. Finally, in 2002, he was elected federal deputy, with a record number of votes. He passed away three years ago, but his legacy remains.
The following videos show this year’s campaign best-of and also one of the first propaganda spots ever aired on Brazilian TV, in 1960 – it’s basic message: “elect Jânio Quadros President, the only hope for the country”. He was elected by a landslide.