Maass/Catalano targets women with new ad

The ad features a silhouette of a woman in a seductive pose.

Spencer Maass and Shelby Catalano, one of three presidential/vice presidential Missouri Students Association slates, published an advertisement Tuesday on Facebook in an effort to appeal to women voters on campus.

The ad featured a pink background, a silhouetted woman figure and the phrase “Victoria’s real secret is that she’s voting Maass/Catalano for MSA President. Are you?”

David Wettroth, the slate’s campaign manager, said he designed the advertisement to catch the attention of voters, especially the attention of women voters. He said while people generally reacted positively to the advertisement, there was some concern about the seductive pose of the silhouetted woman. He said someone brought the advertisement to the attention of the Women’s Center adviser Suzy Day.

Wettroth said the slate temporarily removed the advertisement from Facebook until they could get her feedback on it. They reposted the advertisement Thursday, because Day told them in an email she was not concerned with it.

“I discussed it with Shelby, and we thought it would be a good way to connect to the women voters because we were going with more of a play on society, Victoria’s Secret thing,” Wettroth said. “We weren’t going towards a sexualizing women thing. She’s the only female running, and this was a thing that would get people’s attention. Girls shop there a lot.”

Wettroth said he modeled the advertisement after old-style iTunes commercials that showed silhouetted figures dancing in front of solid-colored backgrounds. He said he chose pink as the background color because pink is usually associated with women.

“It was a different campaign move that we thought would get people’s attention,” Wettroth said. “We asked around. We didn’t ever think this would be something that would be taken negatively. We wanted to make sure we didn’t do that negatively. It’s just a funny way to get our name out there.”

Wettroth said the slate’s main advertisements that will hang around campus are more traditional. He said this advertisement was meant to be more fun, to help the slate relate to students and to allow students to share it with friends.

“Especially at this level, it’s nice to actually try to not take it too seriously,” Maass said. “I mean, it is a serious matter, but there still needs to be some fun in it.”

Maass and Wettroth said there was no intent of profanity with the ad.

“Even my grandma saw it and liked it on Facebook,” Maass said.

Although there is not much concern over the advertisement, Tyler Ricketts, the Board of Elections Commissioners Chairman, said they will discuss it at the BEC meeting held each Friday. According to the MSA website, the BEC oversees the MSA Presidential elections, MSA Senate elections and any other referendums that come to a student vote.

According to Ricketts, slates must submit paperwork and newly released campaign materials to the BEC each Friday, which are then reviewed at their weekly meeting.

“Our role, if anything comes up that is a challenge to the validity of a website or is profane, libelous or slanderous, is to get on and investigate it,” he said. “While we don’t approve campaign materials, we oversee content and have the right to investigate as we see fit.”

The BEC has the ability to issue sanctions or expulsions to slates that violate the BEC handbook, but Ricketts said he doesn’t personally believe the advertisement is an overt example of profanity or a violation of election law. However, he said an official BEC decision will be made at the Friday meeting.

“Everything someone does, especially with such a spotlight on us, is going to be taken in different ways,” Wettroth said.

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