Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Billboards are driving them up the wall

The real thing? one of the DUP posters which uses American models from a supplier of stock photographs
The Tory-UUP mocked-up reply to the DUP
The TUV poster which features a genuine supporter

Poster wars have broken out among rival unionists — and this time the TUV is getting involved.

Tory-UUP supporters have been having more fun at the expense of DUP billboards, producing their won mock-up version.

At the heart of the propaganda battle is the fact that ‘voters’ pictured in DUP posters are models from the other side of the Atlantic.

Their images can be purchased online from a north American ‘stock photo’ website company.

The Tory-UUP camp has done just that, creating its own just-for-fun versions to turn DUP messages on their heads.

The TUV has also mocked up its own poster, saying: “We've got real voters to appear on our election posters. I'm voting TUV.”

The woman featured on the TUV effort is Claire Dickinson, a party supporter from Larne.

The DUP ‘voter’ images came from the website, istockphoto. The company has stated that it is investigating the use of the pictures, to ensure terms and conditions for purchase were met.

Its conditions prohibit customers from using the images to imply a personal endorsement.

The latest Tory-UUP spoof relates to a DUP poster saying: “Unionism can't afford to be split”.

The mock-up response features the same man asking: “So why did the DUP do it?”

The DUP has also used a female model on a poster, saying she was voting for the party. Her image was then purchased online by the Tory-UUP camp, who produced a spoof saying: “Actually on second thoughts I'm voting Conservatives and Unionists.”

This week, DUP MLA Simon Hamilton made light of the issue.

As well as hailing the extra publicity, he joked: “Everyday we are picking up support not just locally but internationally!”

There is obviously no suggestion that the models in questions have even heard of Northern Ireland's political parties, let alone given their personal endorsement.

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