Election billboards get author’s spin

When you’ve written a book about subversively influencing the masses, what better way to promote it than to hijack election billboards?

That’s what Nick McFarlane, designer by day and author of the so-called propaganda manual Spinfluence has done, sneakily adding prints to a handful of signs in central Auckland recently. Arrows point to prints on the back of the billboards that carry the slogan “Learn the secrets behind spin”.

“It was simply too good an opportunity to miss, with election campaigning being notorious for cheesy smiles, over-promising, hyperbole – and spin,” McFarlane said.

A couple of friends helped add the laser prints to about six billboards at Victoria Park, says McFarlane, adding he plans to modify more election signs in other locations.

He said he hadn’t consulted any rules before modifying the signs – the council bylaw that took effect on 12 August says materials mustn’t be attached to election signs other than material securely within the surface area of the sign panel under the authority of the person responsible for the sign.

It’s not the first stunt McFarlane’s used to promote the book. Earlier this year he and some friends set up a fake campaign demonstrating against a visit by Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.

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