General Election 2020: Game of Masks
This pandemic election has given parties a new accessory to brand - masks. Sure, most politicians would prefer to wear a smile, but politics has always been about adaptability and compromise. Let us look at some notable examples.
The Workers’ Party
The Workers’ Party arguably has it easiest. Disposable surgical masks are already blue, and close to the shade of their baby blue party shirts. An added bonus is that these masks are way easier to breathe in than cloth masks, which are perfect for a physically-intensive campaign.
Marine Parade GRC candidate Yee Jenn Jong personalised his mask by pinning on the WP badge. Simple but significant.
Singapore Democratic Alliance
SDA’s specially printed masks feature Singapore’s silhouette, the party logo and ‘Singapore My Land’ in Impact font (the meme font). These masks were not created with visibility in mind, as it would be difficult to read the slogan from a distance. The silhouette and gradient distracts from the message too.
Impressively, SDA also printed the slogan in Malay and Tamil. I could not find a picture of a mask with the Chinese slogan, but it should be safe to say that it was printed as well.
Props to them for trying something different, but unless your message is something specific to your party (literally every other party can say that ‘Singapore is our land’), it is better not to overdesign. After all, less is more.
Progress Singapore Party
PSP’s no-frills mask is in stark contrast to SDA’s. All candidates and volunteers are donned in party colours, with party chief Tan Cheng Bock going a step further by wearing the party cap. A red PSP mask completes the look, which shows that the party wastes no opportunity to showcase their brand (they even have branded tissue packets).
For a party running for the first time, they truly know how to present themselves in a professional and serious manner.
One notable exception is PSP’s most famous supporter Lee Hsien Yang. He does not sport the mask, probably to remind voters that he is not on the ballot, but is there as a party member and volunteer.
People’s Action Party
If you thought the PSP’s masks were good, you have not seen the PAP’s masks. The incumbents have the cleanest and most personalised masks. Featuring the party logo and names in bold letters is both effective (you know the candidate’s name) and authoritative (logo presence).
My favorite mask comes from the team at Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC. Not only does the mask design match the shirt collar, it shows how confident the party is at brand recognition by colours. Besides, the lightning logo is ubiquitous - surely there is room for brand asset exploration.
Some voters volunteer their time while others show their support in unconventional ways. Thoughtful Singaporeans presented candidates with personalised masks, which heartwarmingly demonstrates how invested some citizens are in the electoral process.
A WP supporter gave Marine Parade GRC candidates dark blue masks with hand-stitched candidate names on one side and ‘WP’ on the other.
Potong Pasir candidate Jose Raymond of the Singapore People’s Party came across a supporter who drew the SPP logo on his disposable mask. Perhaps Chaim See Tong is still fondly remembered by residents who lived under his leadership.
Masks are this election’s rally banners
This is truly an election like no other. With no physical rallies, Singaporeans cannot show their support through proudly handmade paraphernalia unlike in pervious elections. Masks have become the new banners, at least this voter.