MONEY CAN’T buy you love — or votes, as some politicians who spent big on ads have found out.
Indeed, only four of the 12 biggest spenders on ads for the recently concluded midterm elections have made it so far in the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) ‘Magic 12’ for the Senate. Two more from the list of those with deep pockets (as drawn up by the market research, information, and analysis company AC Nielsen) still have slim chances of sneaking into the Upper House at the last minute, but that means they spent a total of P242.9 million just to get to the bottom of the winners’ list.
THEY’RE BIG and bold, but Metro Manila’s billboards aren’t exactly beautiful, at least not to everyone. These days one billboard has caught the city’s attention, and few have had nice words for it just yet. One irate motorist even called up a radio station to ask, “Can I do anything about the fact that when you’re going south on Edsa on the Guadalupe Bridge, there’s a big moving screen, and it’s glaring, even distracting, and might cause traffic accidents?” The radio host’s reply: “Well, I think it’s owned by the city of Makati.”
THE QUEUES in mall bathrooms attest to our national vanity. With all the women putting on lipstick, powdering their noses, and whipping their dangerously long, buhaghag-free hair between vigorous brushstrokes, it is nearly impossible to get to the sink to wash hands. Whether the vanity is cause or effect, I’m not sure. Probably a little of both.
AT LEAST Panfilo Lacson tells it like it is — or how it could be. Elect him as president and we could probably expect someone like Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew, Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad, or Thailand’s Thaksin Shinawatra at the helm. All three are known for being, as the TV ad says, “buo ang loob, walang takot (determined, without fear),” traits that supposedly enabled them to steer their countries into becoming economic powerhouses. According to the ad, Lacson has the same traits as well, and its logic argues that these would enable him to do wonders for the Philippine economy, too.
CAN ELECTIONS really be an even battleground?
That is a question that campaign strategists and media organizations have to grapple with, given the caps on election spending and the limits set by the Fair Elections Act on campaign advertising and media exposure.
THE MEDIA have always been a major player in Philippine elections, more so now with the pervasiveness of television. But there is a twist in this year’s elections: the increasing influence of the entertainment media and of showbiz celebrities in the campaign. And that, of course, comes with a price tag.
ADVERTISING guru Reli German tells the story of the time he was tapped to produce commercials and jingles for then candidate Ferdinand Marcos’s 1965 presidential bid. The campaign was more of a family venture with no less than Marcos’s wife Imelda herself directing the troops. She would drop by German’s office to look over campaign materials and listen to the jingles being prepared for her husband’s campaign. “It was more of Imelda that we were dealing with directly for the campaign in 1965,” German recalls.