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THEY are avowed representatives of the poor and the marginalized, but in the May 10, 2010 elections, 12 party-list groups allied with two candidates for president, one for vice president, and one for senator splurged a staggering P426.16 million on television ads that aired in the last two weeks of the campaign period.

PR EXPERT Jonas Campos observes that one reason that political ads failed to work for some party-list groups is because they used the wrong “channel.” Campos is not trying to spark yet another network war. Rather, he is referring to party-list group ads that did not carry the organization’s message or advocacy and instead showed the faces of mainstream politicians or carried a major party’s slogan.

BY ALL ACCOUNTS, the May 10, 2010 polls was the costliest ever in Philippine electoral history. The top candidates for president and vice president alone spent P4.3 billion on political ads during the official 90-day campaign period, and another billion 90 days before the campaign commenced, according to Nielsen Media’s monitoring of tens of thousands of political ad clips.

IN A move that bewildered political analysts, 66 party-list groups went the way of mainstream political organizations during the three-month campaign period for the recently concluded polls and placed tri-media ads worth a total of P597.54 million, based on data from the media monitoring agency Nielsen.

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