Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


School of Journalism and Mass Communications

First Advisor

John Besley

Second Advisor

Erik Collins


Most political advertising studies focus on the U.S. or other western democracies like the U.K. and other European countries. In general, political advertising studies focused on the content of political advertising especially on the subject of issues vs. images in advertising. In addition, many studies of political advertising content focus on the topic of negative advertising. The practice of political advertising has been found to vary depending on the political and media structure within a country as well as cultural and legal elements. Therefore, the gap in the literature about the practice of political advertising in the Middle-East is worth examining as it is reasonable to expect different in the use of issue vs. image appeals and in terms of the use of negative advertising.

This dissertation focuses on political advertisement content in Kuwait as one of the developing democracies in the Middle-East. One of the important cultural and political elements of Kuwaiti politics is the non-secular nature of the country according to the Kuwaiti constitution. The interest of the study is to explore the content appeals used in political advertising in Kuwait and compare it to relevant literature that examines advertising in the U.S and other parts of the world. In addition, comparisons of advertisements' content between winners and losers in elections will be made to explore possible differences.

Because of lack of previous studies about Kuwait, interviews with parliament members, candidates, campaign managers and advertising practitioners were done to give context and better understanding of the ads. Findings of both the qualitative and the quantitative parts of the study indicate unique practice of political advertising in Kuwait including lack of negative advertisements, which is a significant characteristic of political advertisement world wide. In addition, contrary to experts' suggestions in the interviews, political advertisements in Kuwait uses more character based discourse than policy based discourse.