Sure, the Internet is getting a lot of talk as a fundamental tool in modern political campaigns, but what about the hot air balloon? In the June 4 European Parliament elections, the Dutch Christian Democrats Party (CDA) won five of the Netherlands' 25 seats. Their strategy: advertising with a hot air balloon featuring the face of Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, a member of the CDA. A 10-meter-long banner reading "Vote CDA on June 4" hung from the basket. Though before you run out and buy up your own hot air balloon, note that the CDA suffered a net loss of two seats in the election.

Michael Sijbom, head of communications for the CDA, sent along the above picture and an email:

The Christian Democrats (CDA) in The Netherlands used a new campaign tool during the European elections campaign. The Christian Democrats were literally flying in the last four weeks of the campaign. They did not use the bike to cross the low lands, but a giant hot air balloon featuring the face of Dutch Prime Minister Balkenende, also a Christian Democrat.

The CDA used the hot air balloon as a new medium in attracting voter’s attention. They not only managed to put media attention on the CDA as a party, but at the same time they also showed how beautiful the Netherlands are and it is worth taking a balloon flight to explore this in an environmental sustainable way. The CDA even used the balloon as a price in many contests and campaign actions. List leader mister Wim van de Camp took a few of his Hyves friends (famous Dutch internet social network) on one of his tours.

During the campaign and the take off of each balloon, a 10 meters long banner was hanging below the basket saying “vote CDA June 4” on the one side and a giant picture of list leader Van de Camp on the other side and his name written below.

The balloon is designed by Dick van Straalen. The balloon shows the skyline of the Netherlands, with amongst others the famous Erasmus bridge in Rotterdam, a medieval city gate and a historical Frisian boat. Windmills are also to be seen and the face of the Prime Minister. In big letters is written CDA. The balloon is made by Lindstrand Balloons in England and has a height of more than 25 meters. It has a volume of 5000 m3.


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