Wake Up and Smell the Coffee: A Semi-informed Opinion on the Power of Advertising in the Philippine Elections

I decided to write on my blog tonight after reading a blog entry about a particular Philippine presidential candidate and how this candidate annoyed the blog writer.  I will not mention the name of the candidate and give him more points on name recall.  After all, he already paid his way to get the massive response as shown in the surveys; he certainly does not need my help.  As reference, I’ll just refer to the candidate as Mr.V.

The blog entry I read earlier clearly pointed out that he was fed up with all of the advertising that Mr.V brought out.  If I were a veteran businessman and a freaking billionaire like he is, I will definitely employ the same tactic. Why is that? Obviously, the man he is up against, Mr. A, had too much of a head start.

Mr. A’s started HOT in terms of recall with voters since he is the son of a dead president and a son of a well-loved hero.  After Mr.A’s  mother/president passed away, it was too obvious that he suddenly found himself with an extraordinary opportunity — like, whoa!! He could BE the next Philippine president!  Much to his political party’s delight, the people responded without giving it much thought, except to the name he carried.  The name/ brand on him is a formidable weapon in his arsenal;  it’s strong enough to even make his party mate (now running mate) back out of the presidential race.  Opponents also realized this and constantly try to negate Mr. A’s advantage by saying that he relies too much on his name.  It’s actually useless to attack the name position.  The only way to negate this advantage is if someone makes Mr.A change his name, like, good luck with that.

Now enter Mr.V, the billionaire-senator.   The challenge for him was:  “How the heck do I catch up with Mr.A?”   It’s clear that the guy knows how to peddle his influence, certainly no shit about that.  I can also say that the man is an expert in conditioning the minds of people and in taking advantage of probably any situation — didn’t I say he’s a freakin’ billionaire?  I sincerely think that he would not have been able to rise up from his supposed poor beginnings just by being a nice guy — the guy is devilishly smart.  Luck is for idiots who can’t see success even if it hit them, Mr. V is no idiot.  I love his business smarts.

As much as I don’t like Mr.V to become president, I have to agree with his strategy on becoming one.  Heck, if I had the money, I will definitely use it to my advantage.  Now, what are we seeing?  With the barrage of advertising, he caught up with Mr. A in the surveys.  Whatever negative publicity there thrown at him, he managed to deflect them and even made himself appear as an underdog.  Amazing!

Now Mr.V’s strategy is irritating his opponents.  I am no political campaign expert but I do know that if I want to promote my product, I will only talk about MY product.   Surely, other candidates must have something more compelling to draw attention away from Mr. V.  As a matter of personal opinion, if I were running against him, I will definitely stop using disparagement as an approach.  Why make the man relevant and give him free media time?

Sadly, if one follows the news regularly, one can see that Mr. V’s opponents are clearly falling into that trap.  The stupid thing about it is since his ad barrage was successful, he established a mental imprint onto the minds of the masses, everything else, even the stinkiest scandal,  said about him just solidified his claim. Mr.V’s way was a classic exercise on positioning — bullshitting at its finest.

With his disruptive ads, Mr.V managed to even capture a position in the minds of the masses formerly occupied by an old president/ ex-con.  In my opinion, what he clearly demonstrated was power of (proper) advertising in an election campaign.  If he wins, then my congratulations to the agency that executed for him brilliantly.  If he wins, he’ll probably deserve it;  he wanted it more than the rest — didn’t I mention that he’s a freakin’ billionaire?!


Sidenote: I like Presidential Candidate Richard Gordon’s TV ad that I saw today – the one with the kid talking.  I loved it for its simple message and light narration of Richard Gordon’s accomplishments.  It’s just too bad that team Gordon did not come up with that type of ad before for Richard Gordon.  I think that if one looks closely at the field of candidates, Richard Gordon is the true underdog worthy of a look from voters.  There is nothing flashy or devilishly stinky about Richard Gordon.  If we’re talking experience, then this is the man you are looking for — Richard Gordon!

Sorry for the overkill on Richard Gordon.  How many times did I say Gordon and Richard Gordon?


Another sidenote:  I think I should stop drinking coffee at night.  I should be asleep by now.


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