PODCAST: Greg Garcia: VP candidates need a tandem
MANILA, Philippines – Candidates will be filing their certificates of candidacy starting Monday, October 12, until Friday, October 16. But vice presidential candidates without a running mate are bound to lose.
This is the “fearless forecast” of political consultant and advertising expert Greg Garcia, who has among his clients, vice presidential candidate Senator Alan Peter Cayetano.
Cayetano himself went ahead and declared his vice presidential bid, saying only that he was hopeful he would be running alongside Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who has yet to formally declare if he is indeed seeking the presidency.
To date, there are more declared vice presidential candidates than presidential candidates – 5 (excluding Senator Gregorio Honasan who was a no-show in the Cebu event of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance) as against 3 (Senator Grace Poe, Vice President Jejomar Binay, and former interior secretary Mar Roxas).
Any vice presidential candidate who wants to win must “never, never run alone.” Garcia explains during a podcast interview, saying, “How can you promise any reform when you're not the president? You cannot do anything. There is an integrity issue there, for you to be promising so much when you are just a spare tire. So you have to be part of a love team.”
Drawing parallelisms with the phenomenal AlDub and YayaDub, he says, “Kung YayaDub alone ka, medyo kulang di ba? Kailangan talaga pairing.” (If it’s YayaDub alone, it’s not enough. You really need a pair.)
By this time, the campaign messages and imaging of candidates who are out to woo voters must already be well-defined.
TV as medium of choice
In every presidential election, candidates should strive to present themselves as the opposite of the incumbent they are seeking to replace or displace. The “enemy” is not so much other contenders but the incumbent, Garcia says.
Social media, according to him, is also bound to be used as an outlet for negative news because what comes out on social media tends to be picked up by “main media”. One recent example of this was the “twerking” and “dry humping” video and posts by Netizens on the “Playgirls”. This resulted in the withdrawal from the administration Senate line-up of Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino, who also offered the President his resignation.
Besides social media, television will continue to be the primary medium that candidates will use to communicate their messages to voters, as survey data indicate that roughly 80% get their information about candidates from TV.
“Put another way, sabi nila pag lumabas ka sa TV, kahit wala ka sa radio, ok ka. Pag lumabas ka sa radio saka sa print, pero wala sa TV, hindi ka ok (They say that even if you’re not on radio but you come out on TV, you’re ok. When you come out on radio and print, but not on TV, you’re not ok),” Garcia says.
Even in the provinces, TV is the preferred medium as it has a 97%-98% penetration rate, Garcia says. In the rural areas, folks end up watching television in the homes of neighbors who own TV sets. “The cost of watching TV has gone down to practically nothing,” he adds.
Drawing from his advertising background (Garcia was chair and chief creative officer of Hemisphere-Leo Burnett when he retired in 2000 and was founding chair of the Advertising Board of the Philippines), he also says that elections are about narratives and storytelling.
“It’s always been storytelling. Issues can be storytelling but you cannot go there and just enumerate them. You’ve got to look at them as a story,” he says, making reference to Poe’s 20-point agenda which she announced during her declaration.
“How many people remember the 20-point agenda? All they remember is, ‘Ah, anak ni [Fernando] Poe.’” (Ah, the daughter of [actor Fernando] Poe.)
In a tight race, Garcia says, the ultimate winning factor is a story that resonates with the voters. “It never fails.” – Rappler.com
You may want to listen to a related podcast interview with Karina David, who oversees the non-conventional campaign of Liberal Party presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas: PODCAST: Karina David on harnessing 'people power' for Roxas campaign