Thursday, July 18, 2019

Buying a President

Elections 2010 is seven months away and presidential candidates have not become official yet. At least, candidates won’t be formally filing their certificates of candidacy until November 20, the official indication of their intention to run for the highest position of the land.

However, if you keep up with current events, you would realize that noted presidentiables are already marketing themselves.

A few months back, when Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II implied that he wants to be future president, even shopped for a first lady in broadcaster Korina Sanchez, he marketed himself as a lowly trisikad driver.

Others fell for it, while others just thought it was tacky. It was marketing. Whether it was a positive or negative feedback, people talked about the advertisement. It was a productive marketing ploy.

Sanchez, a veteran and awarded broadcaster, also proved to be a marketing tool. Getting engaged to Roxas assured more media mileage for one of the biggest names on television in Sanchez and the 2004 number one senator in Roxas.

How about Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay’s buses? Those big blue mini-buses that travel all around the country with Binay’s face. Maybe a bus would not necessarily make a president, but Binay certainly made himself known to more people than before.

But of course, both former presidential aspirants have already sled down to vice presidential aspirants. That’s because marketing does not always mean spending to plaster one’s face on a vehicle or on television.

Take deposed president Joseph “Erap” Estrada. He was convicted, albeit pardoned, yet he continues to matter to a lot of people. In fact, he continues to make it to the top five presidential aspirants in a number of surveys. Estrada’s marketing strategy--stomp on the administration.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has been mobbed with controversy. From the alleged rigging of the 2004 presidential elections, the national broadband network deal with ZTE corporation and flailing economy, Arroyo’s approval ratings have sunk. Estrada just loves to flaunt that…his marketing statement.

However, this marketing ideal is not unique to Estrada. Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero is doing exactly the same thing. Gloating about the opposition, putting down the administration, highlighting the latter’s flaws.

Escudero though has another marketing strategy under his belt--his youth and looks.

Escudero has been packaged just like US President Barack Obama, a candidate for change, banking on the youth who needs to lead the change.

Then there is of course the marketing brought about by tragedy.

Unfortunately, or fortunately for Defense Sec. Gilbert Teodoro Jr., shortly after he was proclaimed standard bearer of the administration party Lakas, tragedy struck the country--Typhoon Ondoy flooded most of Metro Manila. Teodoro was named head of the National Disaster Coordinating Council.

Teodoro was looked up as a sturdy leader, a stalwart, a rock amidst the storm. It also helps that the ladies just scream for him.

However, of course, the opposition is riding on the fact that Teodoro is allied with Arroyo. Some even called Arroyo’s endorsement of Teodoro as the “kiss of death.” It’s reverse marketing.

Another tragedy that became a positive campaign for the most popular presidentiable thus far is the death of former president Corazon “Cory” Aquino.

Aquino was a staunch critic of Arroyo and when she died last August 1, thousands of people thought they have lost their hope of ever combating the Arroyo administration. And so they called on the next best thing to save them, the heroine’s son, Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

The biggest marketing products of Noynoy are his parents. Even in death, Cory and Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. are remembered for being heroes. By default, people have considered Noynoy as what remains of the Aquino heroism.

However, the best marketing campaign of the Noynoy-Mar tandem that was borne out of the Cory magic is turning the television network into a political party.

Because Sanchez is from ABS-CBN and Noynoy’s popular sister Kris Aquino stars in a number of shows in the same network, it cannot be helped that the Noynoy-Mar partnership is heating the ABS-CBN airwaves.

Whether a carefully hatched plan or the stars just aligned for Noynoy and Mar, surveys have them on top of the game because of their marketing strategies.