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How campaign ads catapulted Grace Poe

/ 12:57 AM May 25, 2013

Grace Poe. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—After Grace Poe topped the 2013 senatorial race, many Filipinos suddenly turned political analysts overnight to share their views on the factors behind her phenomenal rise.

Among a confluence of factors, her “Tao Poe” ad can be singled out as one that played a key role in introducing the neophyte candidate to the most number of Filipinos, said a veteran advertising man.

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“Baduy” or corny was how most people would describe the ad where pun was made of her surname and the ‘po’ and ‘opo’ words that Filipinos use to show respect for elders. The ad opens with “Tao poe! … Sino poe sila?… Si Grace Poe… Kayo poe ang anak ni FPJ? … Opoe.”

It was trending on Twitter, Facebook and SMS almost right after it was shown on television in late February.  It also spawned various parodies on Youtube. Even in text messages and plain conversations, people would say “OK, poe,” “Sige poe,” “Bakit poe,” and “’Musta poe.”

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Louie Morales, touted as one of the advertising mavericks in his prime, explained that Poe’s ad was the perfect one to launch a new political candidate. It is strategic in the awareness and name recall department, and it brings out Poe’s respectful and humble character, he said.

“Filipinos are known to vote in terms of persona. They have to feel that they know you…and the stuff you’re made of. Thus, the candidate has to be likable and relatable. In Grace Poe’s case, this worked perfectly well because, aside from being the daughter of a Filipino movie hero, she also has excellent core values and a very charming demeanor that Filipinos definitely like in their candidate,” Morales said.

The TV ad, shot on location at the Moraleses’ ancestral house in Quezon City, incorporated the FPJ factor. People took note of FPJ’s Panday movie poster hanging on the wall of the house. The ad ended with the tag line, “Tatak FPJ.”

But some people faulted the ad for its lack of highfalutin or meatier messages or copy.

Even Grace Poe admitted that she became the butt of jokes because of the ad.

Notwithstanding, Poe recognized the fact that the same ad was responsible for all kinds of people knowing her. Children in the streets would ask her, “Kayo poe ba si Grace Poe?” There was instant recognition and name recall that most new candidates would die for to have.

Morales, who did the ad, also did her dad’s (Fernando Poe Jr.) TV commercials in the ’80s such as San Miguel Beer ads.

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Morales said during this year’s election campaign, the political campaign ads that became successful were those that Filipinos found believable, having captured the real personas of the candidates.

“At the end of the day, the magic is not about grandiose concepts or strategies, but in finding out what makes your candidate real and relevant to the ordinary Filipino,” he said.

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TAGS: 2013 elections, advertising, Election Highlights, Grace Poe, Political Advertising
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