Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Manny Villar Playlist

Play. If there is a competition for the best campaign jingle for this year's elections, the people behind the Naging Mahirap campaign would be the obvious winners. Easy on the ears; easy on the throat; easy on the brain. That's the way a campaign jingle should sound like. There is no need for professional singers and celebrities to grace the plug; unknown children sang (although a few of my friends have noticed that the song the kids mouthed has different lyrics from that which is heard on the television).  A catchy tune nonetheless.

Senator Villar certainly knows which buttons to press. It's so obvious, with his improved popularity based on the nightly surveys news broadcasts highlight on the television. This song tugged at the hearts of the masses. The song portrays that this candidate is one of them. He wants them to believe that he is the man to emulate because he got himself an education, he was able to rise from the challenges of an impoverished life, and he became a businessman and a high-ranking political figure. All this he did with Sipag at Tiyaga. With his success, he should be able to lead everyone else into a better life. 

Rewind. Other less memorable campaign ads (many were shown before the campaign period) highlighted what he did: he supported students through scholarships; he assisted overseas Filipino workers; he encouraged entrepreneurship through livelihood programs; he made the Filipino dream home a reality for many families; he donated a lot of relief goods in the wake of natural calamities. Also, I haven't seen a political advertisement of his that criticised any of the country's administrations. He concentrates on leaving a positive vibe in the audience, just like the light-hearted and happy Akala Mo campaign that I think catered to the younger voters.

Continuing with the happy mood, he enlisted Michael V. and Dolphy, two famous comedians, to help him convey his message to the public. People easily identify with Dolphy, being the image of a doting father living on a Home Along da Riles, or in close proximity with the ever-critical mother-in-law. His grandfatherly nature endears those voters who weren't born yet during the John en Marsha days. Michael V., on the other hand, "interviewed" Senator Villar based on the issues raised by ordinary people, a sure way of getting his proposals across to the masses without being boring.

Students and practitioners of marketing and advertising could certainly rip a track or two off the Manny Villar playlist and benefit from it.

Fast Forward. It seems to me that his campaign strategy was to highlight his strengths and position himself as someone with the abilities to lead the country forward. This is certainly a good move for him, now that he is hounded by negative publicity. In the past few days, the media focused on alleged overcharging in the C-5 road extension project, and that Senator Villar apparently benefited from it. The topic obviously polarised the Senate, and the resulting squabble was very unbecoming of legislators. A smear campaign, it seems because of the timing - it is projected that he's going to gain the lead in surveys as Election Day approaches. 

The question is, will he win mainly because of name-recall, or will he win because people believe in his track record? If he does get enough votes to get that coveted Malacanang Palace seat, does it even matter how he won?

Click on the link to see Manny Villar's website.