How did Leni Robredo—a candidate unknown to almost half of the population and with one percent pre-election rating less than a year before elections—win the Vice Presidential race vs. seasoned rivals?
It came down to these magic words: Inaangat [ni Leni]ang nasa laylayan ng lipunan.
Yoly Ong, the head of Robredo’s communications group, noted that Robredo’s consistent messaging of these key words complemented her authentic self, resulting in victory.
“From a marketing standpoint, we have a very good product to start with [in Leni], but the messaging was very consistent: Inaangat [ni Leni]ang nasa laylayan ng lipunan (Leni will pull you up from the fringes of society). That’s picturesque,” Ong said in an interview with the cable channel ANC.
“She actually used those words in her acceptance speech to be the Vice Presidential candidate of the LP (Liberal Party). As a copywriter myself, I thought it was a fresh take and we pulled it out of the speech [to use in the campaign],” Ong added.
Ong, however, admitted that the path to glory wasn’t easy because significant campaign contributions only started to come in when Robredo scored at least 20 percent in pre-election surveys by the end of March.
Also during the early days of the campaign, Robredo was even mistaken for being the wife of LP Presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd in a campaign stop among weavers in Tubigon, Bohol.
There was also an instance of her and Roxas campaigning in a Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur market where Robredo had to introduce herself in her full name to every person, young and old, since they were clearly stumped upon seeing her unfamiliar face as compared with Roxas who is popular among market vendors there being a former Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry who pushed for the use of cheat-free weighing scales.
Still, Ong cited that the voters got convinced of Robredo’s message just in time for the balloting, considering that Robredo has worked as a lawyer for the poor even prior to joining politics in 2013 and serving as the Camarines Sur representative.