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Politics

Vote for a face you can trust

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Candidates Javier Trujillo, Joanna Kishner and Janiece Marshall want you to trust their faces.
Photo: Ryan Olbrysh

In late 2009, Massimo Tartaglia hit Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on the head with a souvenir statuette of the Milan Cathedral. It fractured Berlusconi’s nose, and cracked his teeth and gums. Lots of blood. So what did Berluscone do? He put a photo of his bloody face on his party’s campaign posters. On Election Day the party picked up power in four regions.

We’ve got an election coming up in Las Vegas, too. And while we don’t see much blood on the candidates’ faces, we do see the candidates’ faces popping up on campaign posters at every corner. These face posters aren’t cheap. On RunAndWin.com, the Full-Color Sealed Political Signs (the ones that can accommodate face graphics) cost more than twice as much as the Two-Color Sealed political signs (that only accommodate text).

Is it worth the extra cost? The science says yes. Researchers Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir sent 43,000 South Africans letters from a consumer lender. Some of the letters had smiling faces printed on them, others didn’t. For certain consumer groups, the added faces generated an increase in loan applications equal to a 4.5 percent drop in interest rate.

So this November, vote for a face you can trust. Name recognition is so 1990s.

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