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caution: over-confidence and complacency might not get aquino elected

May 6, 2010 2 comments

there is an avalanche of good news for noynoy aquino – all the polls are showing he is still the front runner in this election. not only is he the front runner but his ratings are still increasing and his closest opponent’s ratings are decreasing.

he recently got the endorsement of iglesia ni cristo which can get him a command votes of at least 1M to 2M.

for sure, aquino supporters are ecstatic and energized with these developments. but aquino might not get elected president if his supporters become over-confident and complacent. they might turn lazy and not go out and vote on may 10, thinking that his win is a sure thing. if that  thinking gets into the big numbers, aquino just might end up much less votes than originally hoped for.

now is the time to be even more vigilant and determined, not relaxed and lazy, all supporters of aquino must go out and campaign for aquino and more importantly make sure to go out and vote on may 10. every vote counts!

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noynoy aquino’s “kayo ang aking lakas” tv ad – arguing with success or with boredom?

March 13, 2010 3 comments

who can argue with success? these are all very familiar images for most we have seen them on tv and for some we were there when these things happened but for all we re-experienced it all of it again recently when cory aquino died and we were all out on the streets saying good-bye to cory.

(click here : http://1millionprayers.wordpress.com/)

these images did something to us and we can;t escape the fact that noynoy aquino and his presidential bid sprang it. to a few they were not conscious of it but for most we asked noynoy to run for president.

seeing these images and hearing these words are difficult to argue with. they are already embedded in our hearts and minds and this ad serves to remind us that they exist there.

we have a nasty suspicion that this ad was developed as a direct answer to manny villar’s emotional ads of his brother dieing because they had no money to buy medicine for him. that villar ad in the minds of the admen in the aquino camp must have thought villar’s tv ad was soliciting empathy with the voters. their answer is to “out-empathize” villar by reminding people about two, not one emotional event in noynoy’s life – noynoy’s dad was assassinated and his mom got sick and died in front of us.

that thought this ad being a direct answer to villar’s emotional tv ad  immeditaely came to us after hearing the first sentence noynoy said in this ad –  “Kami rin inapi nang walang kalaban-laban.”. a few bells rang in our mind when he started the sentence with “kami rin”. question – sino yung ibang inapi? answer – villar when his brother died without the benefit of medicines.

that thinking must have brought goose bumps to the creative team who thought about it but we think it’s really amateurish thinking on their part. it is also quite a cheap trick to do. they will not win any award soon on strategic thinking on this one.  we do not think it will even be nominated for “The Strategic Thinking Award Of The Year”.

will it be effective? that is the question that is even more difficult to answer. from the point of view of getting more votes for noynoy, i think it will to some degree but i do not think it will be of much significance.

whether the aquino campaign knows it or not, noynoy’s campaign has moved away from these messages and strategy. if it was not conscious of the move, his competitors, most specially manny villar who is co-front runner made sure of that.

this we think is a very good tactical ad but we do not think this has legs to be the main brandsell advertising for the aquino campaign. putting this as the main brandsell tv ad we think is a major strategic blunder by the aquino campaign.

weak, poor and failed strategic thinking is what we think is the greatest weakness of the aquino presidential campaign. that is most obvious in the waste they allowed to be made when from a high of 60% in preference to the 47% in presidential choice, aquino’s ratings had consistently gone down seeing it now on a statistical tie with manny villar.

that alone tells the weakness in strategic planning for the campaign for squandering such a huge lead over his rivals. the aquino campaign group was given on a silver platter a brilliant and superior product to sell but they did not know what to do with it and lost the leadership.

the ads are creative and well done. the writing is close to crisp and almost memorable and the production values are excellent but the strategic thinking is where they fail. the strategy laid down seems to look at just ads, almost as stand alone ads when they are supposed to be running a campaign with a beginning, a middle and an end. there is no continuity in strategic thinking nor is there any worth in it.

they fall in love with creative executions and get stuck there, completely forgetting that ads and most specially campaigns that succeed are those that begin with a brilliant strategy and heads up thinking.

we do not know what is next to this ad but we hope there will be more . we hope this is just a tactical ad and that we will see the main thematic or brandsell very soon. running tv ads will not make them win, it is running an ad campaign that will.

the key questi0n – who can argue with success or are we arguing with boredom? 

~~  a mindscape landmark – carlo arvisu ~~

 

ps: a note on production values : the director should have seen that noynoy’s brows are forming at the center of his forehead making it look like noynoy is angry while the emotion in this ad should have been serenity,  sincerity and concern.

SWS Presidentiable Poll february 2010 shows clear danger of aquino loss in election

March 12, 2010 1 comment

political polls are always tricky. the nature of political polls is one where change can occur often and rapidly. that comes from the design itself – political polls measures the attitude of the respondents, in this case voters at a given point in time.  current events and the latest developments in the country, in the political arena and most specially among the presidentiables themselves influence the attitude of voters. in other words anything and many things can influence the mind of the voter.

that is when you look at one specific poll result. it becomes a slightly different story when you have several of these poll results, the same question being asked across several points in time. from there you can see a trend.

looking at the SWS presidentiable polls across several polls conducted since early december 2009, it clearly shows the steady decline of the poll ratings of noynoy aquino.

while the decline in the first three polls are negligible being within the margin of error or just about there, the last one in end february is a clear red flag as that is statistically a significant drop from the previous.

while that to some degree may not be as worrisome as he continues to enjoy front runner status, the alarm bells come off when we look at the ratings of the other presidentiables, specifically manny villar. there is a clear upward trend on the ratings of  villar to the point that villar has statistically tied aquino as front runner.

the other thing to consider is erap estrada. we were expecting estrada’s ratings will eventually drop as the campaign period went on but his actual ratings on a trend is the opposite. it has not gone down but it has basically remained at the same level and the recent data shows a slight increase (though not statistically significant).

within the context of a contest to which this presidential race is, at the minimum it shows a picture of aquino losing ground while his opponents are gaining ground.

this seems to indicate that aquino’s supporters are vulnerable to poaching by the other presidentiables. that generally indicates aquino is not doing enough to protect his franchise.

his main opponents on the other hand, villar and estrada have been doing many more things than they used to before the campaign period. most notably villar has had dramatic changes in his ad campaign with a slew of new executions and changes in strategy, including huge and aggressive public meetings.

even estrada has changed his tv ads. from the nostalgic ads he had before, he is now into more specific messages and positioning plus aggressive public meetings.

we also think aquino will lose this election by default – he has not done enough and he did not do anything at the time he was supposed to. we wonder if it is over confidence. we think it is really more of a strategic blunder.

can aquino recover and change the outcome to a win in this election? yes he can. but he needs  to do a lot more than what he has been doing and he needs to get his campaign strategies right.  the first one is easy but we think the second one is not. specially for the aquino campaign. we think poor and weak strategic thinking is the aquino campaign’s greatest weakness. unfortunately, we do not think they know that.

~~  a mindscape landmark – carlo arvisu ~~

polls & surveys on presidentiable preference : losing out on the formula to win (part 1)

March 10, 2010 Leave a comment

we are publishing here an email we received from a reader, carlo arvisu who is a marketing and advertising practitioner.

——-

election polls is the rage these days – it is the stuff of newspaper headlines and tv newscasts. presidentiables are asked about them and predictably those in the lead are thankful for the results while those at the bottom or not improving are all against it casting doubt on the results by attacking the research agency, those who commissioned the poll and the methodology.

the irony of it all is that most of the major candidates and even the laggards actually subscribe to the election polls we read in the papers. the election polls conducted by SWS and Pulse Asia are syndicated polls. they run this on their own but they make available to the candidates its results on a subscription basis. not only can candidates subscribe to it, anyone else who has the money can subscribe to them.

the rate of subscription vary on the kind of service a presidentiable wants. the rates differ on how  the presidentiables want the results presented to them or what results they want to have.

the biggest clients of research agencies are mass consumer marketing companies like uni-lever, jollibee and procter & gamble, although they use other research agencies like TNS and AC Nielsen. SWS and Pulse Asia do these types of research but very seldom, their specialization is polls on political and national issues.

the problem with surveys and research both for mass consumer marketing companies  and presidential campaigns is how to answer  two  questi0ns, the last one being   –  what do we do, what steps do we take as a reaction to the research results.

research and polls give a snapshot or a profile of the consumer mind and voters mind at a certain point in time. the consumer and voter mind is a living thing, it is dynamic and can change in whatever direction in no time depending on the stimulus or what the voter or consumer experience.

change in the consumer mind may not happen often and not as quickly but change in the voter mind can happen very often and very quickly.  current events is the stimulus for this change and current can mean something yesterday, today or in a few hours time.

with readily available , evolving news reported and brought to the consciousness of voters, change in the voter mind can occur in a beat. we not only have tv, radio and print now,  there is the internet, the social websites, blogs and even cellphone text.  all of the above can influence the voter mind in an instant. 

we saw the power of instant communication  during EDSA DOS where  hundreds of thousands of people exchanged cell phone text  to express their disgust on the developments regarding the unopened brown envelope during estrada’s hearings at congress. from disgust, the text content turned into people asking others to converge at EDSA and that led to the eventual ouster of estrada.

having the data gives the political campaign a picture of the current state of mind of the voter. with a picture in front of you, you can now plot your actions to change that picture. 

the problem is very few know how to do it properly. that problem is not limited to political campaigns but it is also true to mass consumer marketing companies.

knowing what to do or not knowing what to do is actually the second of two questions. the first question is this – what is the meaning of the poll results? and the twin question which is more important – what are the insights that we can draw from these results?

research and poll agencies will give the subscriber results, basically statements or answers to the questions asked of the respondents with corresponding numbers or ratings.  these are in essence the statistically analyzed raw data. the poll and research agency will not give them the meanings and more importantly the insights from the data.

the data will need interpretation and that is supposed to be done by the client. and there lie the other problem.  even mass consumer marketing companies are not very good at this, in fact many of these companies do not even have competencies to do this. we do not think political campaigns have these as well.

insights is a very elusive thing for many. in fact the marketing and advertising managers we have encountered do not really know what insights are. many of them think research data and results are already insights. when they are really just raw data that they will need to draw insights from.

the political campaign now has the data from the polls, what will they do with it now? this is next in part 2.

~~  a mindscape landmark ~~
 carlo arvisu

aquino not only lost momentum, he lost the agenda – now set to lose the election

February 17, 2010 Leave a comment

we have seen the poll numbers change and the changes are not good for noynoy aquino. his ratings are falling and villar whose ratings in previous polls were either holding or slightly rising has finally caught up with aquino and now in a statistical tie.

we attribute aquino’s fall on bad advertising decisions and fatal advertising blunders. (click here to read articles on the topic: why aquino will lose the election). we think what happened is that aquino has lost his momentum due to the fatal blunder of not doing anything in advertising after they aired the first ad . he used to be at the top fo the polls, clearly dominant with the 2nd placer, villar very far down the ladder but not anymore. not doing anything new and allowing a gap in the ads allowed villar to build his base and grab the agenda.

villar has grabbed the momentum away from aquino. in marketing and in elections, that is a very dangerous thing to happen, most specially at this time when we are just less than 3 months away. in these things, momentum sometimes matter more than actual numbers.

the aquino campaign has responded with more pointed and focused efforts on the message of corruption. this is a good effort but we do not think this is enough. we also think this latest effort sorely lacks the strategic thinking that was sorely missed in the fatal blunders they have made in advertising.

meanwhile, villar as of today released new ads, at least we heard this on the radio where villar talks about something personal – his brother died because they had money to buy medicines. this is a brilliant ad. 

it has drama, it is personal and it talks very eloquently of a national issue – poverty, high cost of medicines and bad health care system.   what the villar campaign is doing is that they are defining the agenda for this campaign. aquino used to do this at the start but from doing nothing, it has conceded this initiative and allowed villar to take the lead in defining the agenda and the messages.

once again, aquino’s advertising team was caught flat footed. and once again, they were too slow to react and did not have enough strategic thinking skills in doing something about it.

we think the aquino campaign is in trouble.

~~  a mindscape landmark – carlo arvisu ~~

noynoy aquino to lose the election due to advertising blunders

February 16, 2010 9 comments

getting a presidentiable to win an election is really no different from getting a  mass consumer product to succeed  in the market place. the  success of a presidentiable is  measured by the number of votes he/she gets, mass consumer products are measured by market share.  how to get there, political campaigns and brand management teams for mass consumer products use the same principles, apply the same strategies, in many cases execute the same tools and analyze very similar data and research.

the election just like mass consumer marketing is all about two major components – the product and it’s advertising.  in the case of political campaigns, the product is the presidentiable while it may be a shampoo or laundry product for a mass consumer product.

advertising is probably the most potent marketing tool for both. we have seen great tv ads for mass consumer products that were able to push the brands to market leadership. same way we have seen great tv ads launched by the presidentiables that pushed them to being at the top of the polls. this is clearly seen in the manny villar campaign where it is very clear that great advertising done since many months ago has pushed his poll  ratings from nothing to now a statistical tie with the dominant front runner, noynoy aquino.

market research, specifically consumer research is very important to both political campaigns and mass consumer marketing. mass consumer marketing and political campaigns both seek to persuade the target market, voters for presidentiables and consumers for marketers to buy their “products”. understanding the consumers minds, attitudes and sentiments is most key for both.

polls that SWS and Pulse Asia conduct are very similar to what mass consumer marketers use – they also have market share data, the equivalent of polls.   polls is very much like the product tracking research done by mass consumer products.

the aquino campaign we think has committed major blunders in it’s advertising campaign. they are so major that we think it will cost noynoy aquino to lose this election.  are they reversible? yes, they are reversible but that very much depends on the aquino advertising team knowing what went wrong and more importantly what to do about it. and equally important, do they have the smarts and the energy to something about it.

these are the advertising blunders of the aquino campaign:

  • losing the election by advertising default –  that is the bottom line. the aquino campaign’s biggest advertising blunder was what the they did not do, not what they did. aquino had 2 very good tv ads but they needed more ads between those two. they had a huge gap of not airing any new tv ad from the first to the second. in the meantime, villar continued to air new ads and at heavy media weights during the gap of silence  the aquino campaign had. villar eventually converted aquino supporters.

    aquino's first tv ad

  • Naivete and ignorance on what to do on the recognition that  aquino’s popularity was the halo effect of cory’s death.   even the most inexperienced advertising student or the armchair advertising expert know that the dominant ratings aquino got in the polls at the start were mostly due to the “cory effect”, his popularity surging to an astronomical 60% and 47% . they aired their first tv ad (“hindi ka nag-iisa” ) and it was a success. that ad was well done and it very wisely exploited the sentiments of the people.  but as in all things “halo effect”, the true advertising expert  should know it will fade over time. at that extremely high start point in the polls, fading is inevitable but you do not want is for it to fade at levels too low that you give your opponent the opportunity to rise. not doing anything new at that crucial time seemed to have lulled aquino’s advertising team to over self confidence and probably stunned into inaction coming from the euphoria of tremendous poll results for aquino. what aquino’s advertising team failed to see was that the dominant position aquino had in the polls were not the result of advertising, not the handiwork of the admen of aquino but cory’s. on the other hand, not doing any new ads and aquino’s ad team sleeping on their jobs caused aquino’s decline in the polls.
  • aquino was an excellent and easy product to sell, it’s the advertising that failed. at the start, we did say the two most important components in the success  in mass consumer marketing are product and advertising. there is no question, aquino is an excellent product that is very easy to  sell. aquino’s ad team was lucky that they were being given a product to advertise that already had superior qualities that all the voters wanted.  aquino also did not have apparent weaknesses. while his credentials may not exactly match those of his more senior opponents like villar and gordon, the important thing is that aquino had in his pocket this huge built-in superior advantage called “cory magic” and he did not have any obvious or glaring negatives. aquino had the momentum no other candidate had then but his ad team for sleeping on the job failed to exploit it  or make something out of it. 

    aquino's 2nd tv ad

    aquino's 2nd tv ad

  • aquino’s advertising team did not know what to do with “cory magic” and was clueless on  it’s implications.  there are three fatal errors here. first, i think the ad team of aquino’s most fundamental weakness was they did not know what to do with “cory magic”. secondly, they did not know how to use it. and third, because of the two points above, they probably dismissed it as something they really cannot use much. we think aquino’s advertising team took “cory magic” as too literal and they did not bother to draw consumer (voter) insights from it for use in their efforts. they did use “cory magic” in their ads, but they were used incorrectly and too plainly used.
  • failure to exploit and make something out of an excellent and superior product in noynoy aquino.  in our view, aquino’s advertising team was simply too linear in their approach to advertising. they concentrated too much on too few components that they were unable to see the nuances of the product that they were selling and failed to look at the competitive horizon.  on the last point, we doubt if the aquino advertising team has even made a meaningful assessment of competitive advertising.
  • total failure on reading and tracking target audience (voters) sentiments. we do not think the aquino campaign used enough consumer or voter research, otherwise they would have been able to know what was happening to their political base. we think it would have been very plain for them to see that voter sentiments were shifting and that aquino’s voter base was  being eroded and pirated by villar. the most basic research would have made them see this evolving development.

where is the weakness of the aquino advertising team?

we think aquino’s advertising agency is very creative but we think this same ad agency and most specially aquino’s advertising team are very weak in strategic thinking.  any advertising and marketing person will tell you that strategic thinking is at the heart and the engine of any successful advertising campaign. you can have the most creative copywriters but having a poor advertising strategist will make you fail. you need both to succeed. in fact ask any creative team and they will tell you for them to succeed, they need to have good strategic thinkers.

aquino’s ad team is behaving like amateur admen. you can see that very plainly when you contrast aquino’s team efforts versus the villar advertising team.

what is the aquino campaign to do? first order of the day is for the campaign to fire the ad agency and replace its advertising team. aquino will not lose this election because of him, he will lose the election because of bad advertising.

 (click here to read articles on the topic: why aquino will lose the election)

~~  a mindscape landmark~~
 carlo arvisu

bad advertising decisions will cause noynoy aquino to lose this election

February 13, 2010 3 comments

if noynoy aquino loses this election, it will be because of the bad advertising decisions the aquino campaign has made. if  aquino loses, villar will win who on the other hand would be winning the election because of excellent advertising decisions.

first, we have been a fan of aquino’s tv ads. (read here: https://2010presidentiables.wordpress.com/category/noynoy-aquino-tv-ads/). we think the first ad, hindi ka nag-iisa as the first aquino ad was perfect in setting the tone and direction of the aquino campaign. there was a lull after that first ad, then they released a new ad “Hindi ako magnanakaw” which on its own as well we thought was a very good ad. this ad defined aquino in a more specific manner, something very appropriate coming from the first ad.

as individual ads, they were very good ads. but from a campaign stand point and most specially from a political campaign point of view, what they did may have been big failures. it is this sentence in the paragraph, above that spells the failure in the aquino campaign – “there was a lull after that first ad”.

noynoy aquino will not lose this election due to the ads he has released, he will lose it due to the ads the campaign did not release at those times when it mattered. we think the failure of the ad campaign of aquino was on the error of “not doing anything” or abstention.

aquino at the polls from the very start was very impressive. in the first SWS poll where respondents were asked the top three people who will be good enough to be replace arroyo, aquino got a very impressive 60%, september 2009.

other polls that followed from SWS and pulse asia that asked specifically for presidential preferences (as opposed to 3 who can best replace arroyo) placed aquino as the dominant front runner at 44% to 47% with villar a  very far  2nd spot in some cases not even half of aquino’s ratings.  recent polls from SWS and Pulse Asia, however puts villar now at a statistical tie with aquino. villar’s kept going up while aquino softened and finally broke down in the latest poll.

what happened during that period from the start to that time that villar caught up with aquino? villar sustained his high spending in media and in fact at some point even increased spending  and he kept changing his ads to talk about various issues and messages. aquino on the other stayed put and did not move an inch. aquino continued to air nothing but  his initial “hindi ka nag-iisa” ad through those weeks when villar kept changing his messages. all that aquino did was he edited down the 2 minute ad into 30 second spots. he did not change his message on the air.

and that is what we think had hurt aquino – his ad campaign’s decision not to evolve and not to do anything versus an aggressive opponent in villar who not only outspent aquino by a mile, villar kept changing his messages or brand positioning.

a good description – nakatulog sa pansitan ang ad agency ni aquino.

while the ad agencies may apply mass consumer marketing principles in their advertising of the candidates, one principle that does not work in political ads is not changing messages. most mass consumer products will not change their ads and strategies for a time. that does not apply to political ads.

what the aquino campaign did not understand is that politics is a very different kind to that mass consumer products advertising.  in the arena of politics, issues and therefor thinking change rapidly and they can change often. consumer habits and attitudes may not change for mass consumer products for quite sometime (you shampoo your hair the same way for years), but not in politics.

national and political issues pop up very often, possible even in just a few days time. timely response to that change is of utmost importance to candidates who want to win an election, specially those running for president, a national position.

also, ad campaigns have a build up effect in politics. political ads more than mass consumer advertising shape the political minds of voters. with many national issues being put into the table, new ones introduced, old ones die out, the whole is always a composite of what has been put there.

that is what villar was able to achieve and something aquino failed at. villar with his changing messages was successful at implanting various messages on many issues in the minds of the voters that eventually formed into a strong composite whole. aquino with his sparse media weights (compared to villar) and few messages was unable to form any meaningful mass in the minds of the voters.  

the net effect of that is that villar was slowly converting aquino supporters. without a meaningful fight from aquino, they were easy target for villar’s messages, thus the conversion.

we think it is very clear – if aquino loses the election, it will be the fault of his advertising campaign that never was. aquino will lose this election by default in advertising.

~~  a mindscape landmark – carlo arvisu ~~

(click here to read articles on the topic: why aquino will lose the election)

please read the latest: noynoy aquino to lose the election due to advertising blunders

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