Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Big Brother Croatia Update: Panem et circensem

Producers of Big Brother Croatia take their inspiration from Roman emperors who had realised one important fact about entertainment industry. The most popular entertainment always depends on the active participation of the audience. Just like the crowds used their thumbs to determine the fate of gladiators, modern crowds use their phones to determine whether housemates would enjoy the glory of final four or the dishonour of eviction.

But Big Brother Croatia went even further in using the audience to create the show. Partly because of the publicity and partly because its own creative crisis, Big Brother used Jutarnji list to organise the contest for the most imaginative weekly and daily task. One of the winners suggested mock presidential election in the House. With the actual start of presidential campaign in real life, Tuesday was a good day for housemates to stage mini-election of their own. Successful completion of the task brought them reward in the form of a Jutarnji list copy. However, the copy is a special edition with some real and some imagined news. The housemates have a new task and must determine which is which.

In the meantime, housemates' friends, families and relatives are slowly switching into full PR campaign mode. All four candidates have their own campaigns and the campaign strategies are very different.

Campaign of Saša Tkalčević (Sasa Tkalcevic) is currently on the defensive. Saša's wife Nataša has to tackle the accusation of his husband as "irresponsible", "childish" and "immature". The latest batch of accusations stemmed from Saturday's birthday party – his alleged "infidelity" – is dealt with stating the obvious. Nataša Tkalčević observes the surprising physical resemblance between her and Playboy model and claims that she didn't see anything wrong in her husband's actions. If someone else did, it could be easily explained with 85 days of isolation combined with alcohol.

Campaign of Alen Macinić (Alen Macinic) became surprisingly negative and even more surprising is the object of that negativity. Instead of going against their son's biggest competitors – Saša and Zdravko – Macinić fired broadsides against the candidate that appeared least likely to win. Both of Alen's parents channelled Antonija's mother Jagoda Miliša (Jagoda Milisa) from the last week and called Marina "hypocritical and perfidious". This could be less result of their own antipathy towards Marina and more an attempt of post-contest damage limitation. While Alen's simplicity and sincerity gained him some sympathies, other segments of Croatian audience see him as a disgrace; some may give him pity, but few are going to give him votes.

Campaign of Zdravko Lamot seems to be more positive. With Lamots utterly convinced that Zdravko has victory in sight thanks to the small army of teenybopper voters, they can afford to be seen as true gentlemen. Martin Lamot, Zdravko's brother, said that, in absence of his brother, he would probably give his vote to Marina as most favoured of all housemates.

Bajlos, just like their daughter in House, prefer quiet, methodical approach instead of spectacle. Their PR campaign is very quiet and subtle. Marina's family members are keeping their mouth shut about any other housemate, apparently in belief that they won't alienate other housemates' fans and undecided voters that way. This strategy seems to be working – Bajlos were applauded by many for the courteous way in which they responded to the accusations against their daughter. They are nevertheless going to stage a PR event of their own – great pro-Marina party in their Kukuriku bar in Pula where all ex-housemates are going to be invited.


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