Katre Väli
University of Tartu, Department of Semiotics


The empirical material on which this article is based is limited with the campaigns for the Estonian elections for the members of the European Parliament. The web pages, articles and other marketing materials used are limited with the period of January until July of the year 2009. The central figure in the case study is a solitary candidate Indrek Tarand, who was not a member of any party, and whose campagin was successfully aimed against the political culture and ‘immorality’ of the biggest Estonian parties (mainly Keskerakond (Central Party) and Reformierakond (Reform Party) ). Indrek Tarand used a lot of efficient rhetorics, created a certain brand image of himself, had one of the most playful web pages and also celebrated a successful ‘cheap’ campaign, spending only a sum of his own personal money, not millions of kroons from sponsors on huge outside posters or TV commercials (although the publicised sum seems questionable). A case study on his campaign shows how one can use the general self-descriptive model of crisis in politics, economy and social sphere for building a case against all of the competitors and finally acquiring a lot of ‘protest votes’ as it was stated – he was favoured by all those, who wanted to protest against the current situation in Estonia, not necessarily support his statements or program for the European Parliament work.

Keywords: branding, crisis, European Parliament Elections, Indrek Tarand, self-presentation, spectacle