‘Social media was tipping point’

/ 12:04 AM May 16, 2016

CYBERSPACE saw the rise of a new president with social media providing the “tipping point”  for Rodrigo Duterte to win the election,  said Nic Gabunada, the man behind Duterte’s social media campaign.

Gabunada, former vice president for marketing of ABS-CBN,  who also helped the presidential campaign of then Sen.  Benigno Aquino III in 2010, said Duterte’s social media team was formed only after the Davao mayor formally announced his presidential bid.


“We cannot claim social media made him the president. But it provided the tipping point. We had a very good candidate and passionate campaigners in the field,” Gabunada told the Inquirer.

In October 2015, a five-minute music video titled “Takbo” which urged Duterte to run for president was uploaded on YouTube and made the rounds online.


Written by singer-songwriter Jimmy Bondoc, the music video was a collaboration among a dozen OPM artists.

As far back as 2014, Gabunada, a Davao resident, pooled resources from his friends in the city  and produced regional TV ads that were aired in Cebu and Davao to gauge  people’s reaction to a possible Duterte presidency.

It was after Duterte finally announced his run in a private party in Cavite that Gabunada formed a team and put a strategy to work.

In marketing parlance, Gabunada said Duterte was the brand they wanted to popularize. They did  analytics of their target audience—the voters.

He said what he and his team did was to differentiate Duterte from his rivals. “Our brand had a story to tell. Brand Duterte represented a different style of leadership,” Gabunada said.  Niña P. Calleja

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