Battle of the Jingles Begins With Brazil’s Elections Approaching

(Bloomberg) -- As Brazil’s elections near, some of the presidential candidates chasing the pack in the opinion polls are turning to song to boost their chances.

Pop star Latino sings the praises of billionaire businessman candidate Flavio Rocha in his latest clip. "It’s money in your pocket, it’s work the whole year round. Flavio Rocha is the voice of the people," he declares. Meanwhile former finance minister Henrique Meirelles hopes the refrain in his ditty "no one knows more about the economy than this guy" gets stuck in the electorate’s head. Both currently trail on around one percent of vote intentions.

Jingles are a prominent feature of Brazilian election campaigns, with candidates investing serious amounts of money and effort in professional recordings in the hope that a catchy tune will help spread the news of their candidacy. Composers negotiate directly with candidates or with ad agencies offering to produce custom-made songs for radio or sound trucks within a couple of days. Some of the most famous, such as "Lula, la!" the jingle first composed for Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s unsuccessful 1989 presidential run, are recycled repeatedly in election after election.

As the Lula example demonstrates, the song’s success does not necessarily determine the outcome of the election. But in 2018’s wildly unpredictable election, with the increasing importance of social media, a viral hit could make a big difference.

Lula is the frontrunner this year, but he is currently in jail for corruption and likely to be barred from running. Still, that hasn’t stopped the former president from releasing another jingle. "My darling Brazil, what have they done to you?" it begins, before surging to a triumphant, hopeful finale. "No one can imprison an idea," the song concludes.

Read more of Bloomberg’s Brazil election coverage here

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