LIMA – Video selfies have become the preferred method for candidates in Peru’s upcoming elections seeking to capture the attention of voters.
Social network platforms such as TikTok have made the method a cheap and easy way for politicians to connect with the public.
The congress elections due to take place on Sunday are unusual because they will not be accompanied by a presidential vote.
Candidates have struggled to position the brand of their parties and their own nomination to take advantage of the preferential vote, which allows citizens to choose candidates over others on the same list.
The electoral scene has been a tide of faces, numbers and party logos, difficult to digest in the two months of campaigning.
For politicians and their advisers every interaction on social media has become important, even more so because electoral law prohibits advertising on television but not online.
Several candidates have used technology to reach more supporters, with around 93 per cent of Peruvians connected to the internet, according to analytics company Comscore.
Sociologist Lucia Alvites and lawyer Julio Arbizu, candidates of the left-wing party Juntos por el Peru, both used TikTok to create a video that went viral a few months ago in Peru.
Lawyer and former congressman Carlos Torres Caro, of right-wing party Vamos Peru, also featured in a video.
One young congress candidate Kevin Cornejo, from Peru Patria Segura, introduced himself to his constituents to the rhythm of Afro-Peruvian music.
Writer Gustavo Rodriguez said footage that aims to go viral and reach a wider audience is a short-term tool specifically produced for the medium that offers “positive sensations such as closeness and freshness” but also negative ones such as “superficiality.”
“The use of this resource can serve to give tactical or sympathetic messages, but I doubt that they are very effective if you want to hold a serious and deep candidacy,” he Told EFE.
Luis Benavente, director of political communication consultancy Vox Populi, was also critical of this type of communication and described the videos as “anti-publicity.”
“They do not reflect a finish or an advertising concept. It is a sample of the total empiricism with which the campaigns are handled, the absolute lack of professionalism that the candidates have,” he added.
He said the message can be a worrying demonstration that the candidate works with improvisation which does not necessarily give a good political image.
Alvites said the videos on social media were based on “joy.”
“We want to change Peru, but we want to do it with joy, with enthusiasm, dancing, laughing because we are professionals, we have serious proposals, but we are also young and we want to have a good time,” she told EFE.
She added that low-cost actions can have a great impact if they jump to conventional media such as television.
“We do not have millions, we do not have much money, the only thing, for example, that we have to distribute is a flyer and donated calendars,” she said.