In my book, product ads are different from brand ads such as political brands and country brands. Product ads sell. Political brands and country/nation brands (all under the umbrella term “place branding”) are all about reputation.
Is there a difference between selling and branding? Of course there are differences. The most important difference is that electoral choice and consumer choice are not equivalent activities. Purchasing a particular brand of soap or cereal is one thing, selecting the next president or senator quite another. The fact that voting is a “serious” task tends to undermine the legitimacy of “non-serious” forms of political communication.
Whether it is a product or politics, options sell everywhere. At the product side, companies do not do negative advertising and compare their product with the rival firms. You will not find negative advertisement between Coke and Pepsi. Whereas political marketing campaign usually go with comparative and/or contrasting techniques.
Let me now go to 2016. Those who hoisted to us the priming of then Sen. Noynoy Aquino and the framing using Cory should stop calling the President a bad manager. How could you when you were part of the machinery that peddled the son? How could you when, you set aside country, and to you winning is the only thing that matters? The campaign managers and strategists of 2010 knew the lack of the necessary values. But it was just winning a horserace and having then Sen. Aquino was the “easiest way to secure it.” Win, lets just surround him with a good cabinet and with luck and prayers, we can wing it.
Now we know it does not mean that if you have heroes as parents, it would mean a better deal for voters. It is the best deal in town for financial donors. A group headed by the so-called “sharpest political strategist” of the country is again planning the same strategy for the daughter of Panday. The template is there, easy to just follow it. Yes, continuity is at issue come 2016 but that continuity would need an experienced and stable hand to steer the ship of state. Not another borrowed shadow.
Continuity can only be had with a leader who has management skill, advanced education, well-rounded experience and a caring persona. Just these four criteria would remove anyone below 55 years of age. We do not need a young president; we need a president who has prepared to be one. Much as I would want a young blood, we just can’t afford it, for 2016 to 2022 are crucial years for the country. If the Aquino administration allowed more Filipino billionaires on the Forbes list, we need a statesperson who can tell the oligarchs let’s play it forward and extend hands to the rest so that rising tides will be a reality as we gain from the sweet spot of the country.
Just being a legislator is not enough. We need a candidate who had experience at the local level, at the private sector level, in appointed and elected positions. We need someone not tainted by Napoles but knew the system well so that the cabal won’t give the run around and that illegal transactions and commissions stopped, if we are to move forward. We need someone who can command his cabinet to soar the heights and go down to the peripheries to care for the margins. After all, government is for those who have less in life.
The road to 2016 is rocky with the Napoles’ canvass. It creates a defining scenario where no one is clean and only one is not dirtied. The problem with that scenario is direct association in almost all operations and defending the very same group that allowed things to unravel: a fast break impeachment, the bending of rules to suit the Corona impeachment, PDAF and DAP, the Yolanda mismanagement and slow mo, the alleged non-existence of pork in GAA 2014, Napoles’ twists and turns and the worsening basic service delivery or non-delivery.
We are in search of the antithesis. Continuity needs stable hands and only those with wisdom can make it.