Friday, June 15, 2007

Just shows money isn't everything

Watch out for the June issue of the PJR Reports, which is going to be available this week. The issue focuses on how TV stations covered this year's elections -- including one which, in a very strange move, had comics as segment hosts and reporters and psychics as guest panelists on its elections day coverage. The June issue -- which also looks at the online coverage of the elections, media quick counts -- is also going to be available during the Jaime V. Ongpin Awards for Excellence in Journalism on June 28. So guys, please grab a copy.

Speaking of elections, if senatorial bets like Prospero Pichay Jr., Ralph Recto, and Michael Defensor are still wondering why they lost despite pouring in millions of pesos for political advertisements, here's an interesting piece from the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism explaining why:

Missing the Massage

(Or why some big ad spenders lost)
by Jaileen Jimeno

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.

Political and advertising experts say that’s because most of these candidates — or more accurately, their handlers — simply failed to come up with an effective campaign that would capture the imagination of voters. They forgot that the message, not money, is key to any campaign.

“You will see that many candidates did not study or plan their ads,” says Malou Tiquia, co-founder of Publicus, the only lobbying and political management firm in the country. “There was disconnect in communication framework and the product.” Tiquia handled the campaign of then senatorial candidate Mar Roxas in 2004. Roxas, who marketed himself via the popular ‘Mr. Palengke’ ads, topped the race.

Advertising producer Toto Espartero, who directed the ads of presidential candidate Eddie Villanueva in 2004, is more scathing in his review of the more recent batch of commercials for the 2007 candidates. He says of the ads, “Parang karnabal, walang laman, walang usapan tungkol sa mga isyu (They were carnivalesque. There was no content, no issues were discussed).”

Mercedes Abad, one of Pulse Asia’s analysts and head of TNS Global, a market information firm, says resonance, believability, and relevance should be the guiding principles in a political campaign. But these were not the only factors absent in most of the big spenders’ commercials. So, too, were, sound planning, accurate reading of voters’ aspirations, and respect for the intellect of the public at large, say experts.

Tiquia says that the lack of planning in particular was why several candidates dumped ads and changed slogans in the middle of the campaign. Tags and taglines that seemingly had no leg to stand on in terms of history and identification with the candidate were used liberally — and, it turns out, disastrously.

Read more here.

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