today, June 3, 2016 is a news day in the philippines. you may not feel it yet but you can certainly read it off at today’s issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
for the first time in this country’s history and history of Philippine journalism, a national newspaper has used the word “fuck” on the title of an article on its front page. no bleeps, no asterisks but good old, plain “fuck” in all it’s four letter glory.
not only was it used on the front page, it was used on the second lead article in the newspaper, right below the lead article for the day.
beyond the initial shock or glee from reading the word on the newspaper, we think there is a deeper reason for its use.
we are describing it as poetic. in simple terms, it can be described as PDI is making a point here.
first the poetry in today’s PDI issue – look at the whole front page. top of the page is a big photo of outgoing president Noynoy Aquino beside the losing LP presidential candidate and Aquino’s cabinet members having wholesome fun on the videoke.
from that giant wholesome picture, right below it is the headline: “Seek to understand Duterte, aides urge” accompanied by a photo of Duterte here he seems to be smirking and close to looking arrogant and below it the magic word “fuck” in the article “Don’t fuck with me, he tells media”. then on the far left is the article explaining the wholesome picture on top of the newspaper “P’noy. Mar lead LP in singing blues away”
next, we think all that was intentional. it was designed and laid out that way with exact purpose. these are the messages :
- draw contrast between the outgoing and incoming presidents of the country
- the outgoing president ad administration is all about fun and wholesome
- the incoming president and administration of Duterte is all about “fucking” (“we are all fucked”?)
- if not that, well at least the incoming president Duterte is not wholesome
- the big irony of it all is that as the headline says, we are supposed to “understand” the incoming president
the contrast that PDI painted is clear, done in words and pictures that we all understand even if we didn’t think about it too much. it is obvious and plain to see.
but none of this is PDI’s fault – they are just giving it to us in words and pictures the thoughts that we have been suspecting specially in the past few days if not thoughts we have known all along and all that based on actual words and actions by Rody Duterte.
PDI’s front page just might be the signs of the times. and the sign starts with the word “fuck”.
This is a journey that started sometime in October 2015. that was a few weeks when Mar Roxas officially announced his candidacy with a big gathering at the historic Club Pilipino in Greenhills, San Juan City. The LP faithful were all there and President Noynoy Aquino was the main speaker who announced to the country that he was endorsing the candidacy of Mar Roxas for the presidency.
Daang Matuwid was the over-all theme of that launch. Aquino had declared that Mar Roxas was the best among the presidentiables who can continue Daang Matuwid. It worked, Mar Roxas ratings in the polls jumped from an anemic single digit to double digits. Around September 2015, Roxas’ ratings were at a number that made him competitive.
At around October, I sat down and did an analysis of what was happening. There were no data available yet at that time but based on my analysis, I thought Daang Matuwid would eventually hurt Roxas.
At around that time, I started to tweet about my thoughts about the Mar Roxas campaign. I did not exprssly say Daang Matuwid was an error, but I was tweeting about problems on the Mar Roxas campaign. I kept the Daang Matuwid as the problem to myself because I thought the Roxas campaign will eventually get it and change their campaign strategy. I thought it was best to keep it a secret, not revealed publicly as I did not want to give clues to Mar Roxas’ competitors,
The qualitative data are those available in the media – survey results from Pulse Asia, SWS and the Laylo Report.
Daang Matuwid is Mar Roxas’ brand positioning, it is what he wants voters to remember him by and in effect the basis for their support for his candidacy. He used Daang Matuwid in most of his TV ads either as a tagline or in the copy. Based on news reports, he also mentioned this during his campaign sorties.
The power of an advertising positioning which in this case is Daang Matuwid is best measured by results. If this was the advertising positioning of a consumer goods brand, the best measure is market share first and box sales next. When market share and box sales go up or the goals are achieved, the advertising positioning is judged as successful. If it gives the opposite result, then it is a failure.
In this case the presidential surveys results is the best measure of how effective Mar Roxas’ Daang Matuwid brand positioning. The results are bad – after 8 months all that it got Roxas is flat ratings and flat ranking at 4th out of a field of 5 candidates.
There is no better quantitative data that proves Daang Matuwid killed the Mar Roxas presidential bid than the poll results.
we did an analysis of Mar Roxas’ Daang Matuwid brand positioning and from that analysis, though still not benefitting from data, the conclusion was it is bound to hurt Mar Roxas in this election.
this was posted here : http://wp.me/pnw03-1Z5 why Mar Roxas’ “Daang Matuwid” ad campaign is failing
Ads that have elements that are polarizing tend to fail / not do well in the market place. The ideal ad among other things is that it should only contain positive elements in it, and no negative elements.
Looking at the US elections, even Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders who belong to the same political party as Barack Obama are promising change. This is most obvious with Clinton who is a strong ally of Obama. She has never said she will just continue what Obama has done. In fact Clinton is promising many changes, some of them very major changes.
That is not true with Mar Roxas. Roxas very clearly states, he will just continue Daang Matuwid.
we have heard Mar Roxas very defensive on Daang Matuwid and the achievements of the Aquino administration. this did not help Roxas as it took away from him telling the people what his plans are for the country. also, Daang Matuwid is the work and program of Aquino, not his and yet all its failings is being attributed to him too.
in effect, the more Roxas talked of Daang Matuwid either in its defense or to make a promise of continuing it, it is hurting the presidential bid of Roxas.
After 8 months of Daang Matuwid as Roxas’ brand positioning and spending more than P1 Billion pesos on it and getting only 4th in the ranking at the most, it should have been obvious that changes were needed for the Mar Roxas campaign.
Being stuck at 4th for 8 months, they should have changed their campaign objective to getting switchers from the supporters of the other candidates. And if they thought of that as a campaign objective, then they would have looked at what needs to be changed in their campaign strategy, Getting switchers mean attracting them to change sides. And in attracting them, they would have looked at what are the barriers as to why they have not switched to Roxas and/or what they can say to attract them. In political campaigns removing the negatives is as important as offering the positives. The Roxas campaign did not seem to do this.
This data was released sometime in February 2016. That was the first quantitative data that I saw which confirmed my analysis and conclusion on Daang Matuwid. The core of the points I was raising was that Daang Matuwid was hurting the Mar Roxas campaign. That was purely based on analysis using leanings and principles in marketing, advertising and brand positioning. This quantitative data confirmed my analysis.
And that was what led me to publish in my blog my thoughts on the Mar Roxas campaign, I finally had 2 quantitative data – this one and the trend line that was obvious in the Pulse Asia poll results.
The data speaks of what voters think of Mar Roxas, it tells us specifically why they are not voting Mar Roxas. They were not voting Mar Roxas because he was “masungit”, “elitista” or the allegations of his failures in his previous cabinet member jobs, it was about questions on his leadership qualities, his not having his own views and vision and his relationship with Aquino. They saw Roxas as a puppet of Aquino. And I suppose because of that they saw him unfit to be president.
We think this is the result of Roxas continuously talking about Daang Matuwid, something that everyone knows to be Aquino’s. Aquino per se or his close relationship was not hurting him but it was that he failed to show his own brand of leadership. Contrast that to his opponents, most notable Rody Duterte whose platform was essentially based on bravado and strong leadership. We are sure that if you ask people to compare Roxas to Duterte, they will say Roxas is a wimp compared to Duterte’s super hero status. On the basis of character, Roxas was inferior compared to Duterte.
The second biggest reason they are not voting Roxas is “might just be like Aquino, no change” at 16% directly supports the point I have made – that Daang Matuwid is a platform for the status quo, no change and no improvement.
–more to follow–
sometime mid March, we posted a chart over twitter for the Mar Roxas campaign. at that point there were many data points that were showing the Roxas campaign was not going anywhere. Roxas’ ratings in the polls were not going up.
in many of Mar Roxas supporters’ minds was the question – can Mar Roxas till win the election? and other questions like – what can Roxas still do to win? is it too late for him?
those questions were being asked of me over at twitter since i had taken the view that the Mar Roxas campaign was failing. having a weak campaign was a view i took since November 2o15 when i started tweeting about it. that POV was based just on an analysis of the Mar Roxas ad campaign and the resulting brand positioning that Roxas has taken. it was anchored the ad campaign and brand poisoning of “Daang Matuwid” which is the main weakness.
at that time in November there were still a few quantitative data points to support my analysis and point of view. but that changed by February 2016 when there were already an avalanche of data points that showed the Roxas campaign was failing – poll results showed he was stuck at 4th place in a field of 5 candidates and his ratings were not moving at all, it was flat within the 18% to 20% range.
this will deal with number 3 on the above – “air attack ads vs Binay, Poe and Duterte”. they are Mar Roxas’ opponents who occupy the first 3 positions ahead of his 4th ranking.
at this point, Mar Roxas’ campaign objective need to be : add supporters by gaining from and converting supporters of his opponents to his side.
he is 4th and at best has 20% in the polls. those will not win the election for him. he will obviously need to go up to 1st with at least a 35% rating. that means he needs to take 15% points from his competitors. he needs to convert that many supporters of his opponents to his side,
one of the most effective ways to do that is to air attack ads against his opponents. attack ads are ads that question the credibility, put in doubt the abilities and correct the wrongs said or done by Roxas’ opponents. the target audience are the supporters of his opponents and the goal is to convince them that they are supporting the wrong candidate and instead shift their support for Roxas.
today, we saw over at twitter memes on Grace Poe based on her performance during the last second presidential debate. these are “fact check” memes – these memes are correcting the wrong things that Poe said during the debate. these to us is a form of attack ads.
there were many more “fact check” violations committed by Grace Poe during the debate. and even much more committed by the other candidates, Rody Duterte and Jejomar Binay.
over at Twitter, i suggested to the mar Roxas campaign and Mar Roxas supporters to do more fact check memes on Poe and specially the other opponents of Roxas.
memes are cheap to make but we think if done well and in good numbers, it can be effective specially if traditional media picks them up.
attack ads are what Mar Roxas needs. they are not a WAWAM!
Mar Roxas’ presidential campaign is unique – it is the only campaign that has single-mindedly stayed on one platform and advertising campaign since it launched in end July, 2015 with the formal endorsement of President Noynoy Aquino at Club Filipino. Roxas has stayed on “Daang Matuwid” since that formal endorsement. In the words of Aquino, Mar Roxas will “continue Daang Matuwid”.
With that announcement, Roxas got a huge bump in the polls, surging from a single digit rating to a double digit rating. That was in September 2015 where his rating at Pulse Asia stood at 18% making him a legitimate contender among the presidentiables. The surge placed Roxas at 3rd and very close to Jejomar Binay who was at 2nd, That was the first time that Roxas placed strongly in the polls.
But that surge in September 2015 was the last good news Roxas has gotten in the polls. For seven (7) months since September 2015 that Roxas has stayed on “Daang Matuwid” , Roxas has not gotten any good news in the polls.
After seven (7) months, Roxas is still 4th out of 5 candidates and his ratings has remained flat, just moving within the range of 17% to 20%, close to being within the margin of error. Being within the margin of error means the differences in his ratings are not significant, his numbers have not really changed.
This means “Daang Matuwid” is associated with failure, the most that it has given Roxas in the last seven (7) months of being single-minded on it is 4th place that is not moving at all. fourth place in an election will not win it.
In marketing and advertising an ad campaign or a brand positioning that is not delivering the results, like a rise in market share or an uptick in volume sales, is immediately dropped and changed into something else.
This action of dropping and changing ad campaigns and brand positioning is even more dire in a political campaign. A political campaign is short, lasting just months and has a definite deadline – election day. Not getting it right by election time means losing the election.
Mar Roxas’ “Daang Matuwid” for sure is a WAWAM!
Read also :
why Mar Roxas’ “Daang Matuwid” ad campaign is failing http://wp.me/pnw03-1Z5
Mar Roxas’ “Daang Matuwid” ad campaign is failing him – the numbers show it http://wp.me/pnw03-1YE
this is a lethal combination for any campaign or brand – when your own ad campaign is doing badly while at the same time your competition’s ad campaigns are doing very well. you have nowhere to go for strength.
the Mar Roxas ad campaign fails in its advertising strategy. no amount of creative advertising or media spending can make an ad campaign work for you when the strategy is all wrong.
brand positioning is the most important and most powerful component of the advertising strategy. get the brand positioning wrong and everything else is wrong and weak.
the Mar Roxas campaign is so entrenched and totally defined by “Daang Matuwid” that any negative, any comment or any problem with it by extension is put on Mar Roxas. never mind that Roxas has no direct hand on them. voters are not seeing that. the take away of voters is that with Daang Matuwid as failing or having problems, Mar Roxas is failing and having problems.
elections are about the future, the things that will happen for us in the future. that is the reason why elections are about promises that the candidates are making now and will do in the future. Daang Matuwid is about the current and the past. a candidate promising the current and the past will not be going anywhere in an election that is about the future.
with Roxas placing 4th out of 5 presidentiables, his marketing and campaign objective is clear and obvious – he needs to convert supporters of his competitors into his camp. his goal is to look for switchers from his competitors, he needs to convert them to his camp.
“Daang Matuwid” does not do that. in fact the reason supporters of his competitors are supporting others is because they are promising something other than “Daang Matuwid”. promising “Daang Matuwid” is not giving them reason to switch. all that it will do is sustain his current power base which based on the surveys is a small minority.
dropping “Daang Matuwid” is a very major and serious change that the Mar Roxas campaign needs to do. it is necessary. keeping it in the campaign as a brand positioning will not move up Roxas’ standing in the surveys and not move him to win in the election.
there should be some consumer research that the Mar Roxas campaign can do to confirm my views on Daang Matuwid. regardless of the consumer research , the numbers that we have now supports my view – Roxas’ ratings are flat and he ranks 4th out of 5 candidates.
Mar Roxas’ “Daang Matuwid” ad campaign is a WAWAM!