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"Don'd do ads now"--campaign strategist tells presidential aspirants

Written by Carmela Fonbuena

"Save your money and do your homework first."

This is the advice of campaign strategist Marilou Tiquia to 2010 presidential aspirants who have recently come out with ads. If they think these ads are boosting their chances in 2010, they’re wrong, she said.

"Among the senators who endorsed a product or appeared in an ad advocating an issue, no one earned a percentage increase from the tracking done by the Social Weather Stations or Pulse Asia," she said in a commentary posted on the Web site of Publicus Co. Ltd., a lobbying firm that she founded.

Among the rumored presidential aspirants who started appearing in ads lately are Vice President Noli De Castro (Pag-ibig housing), Senators Manuel Villar (OFW advocacy), Roxas (laundry detergent), Loren Legarda (skin whitening product), Panfilo Lacson (facial care clinic), and Francisco Escudero (herb capsule).

"All that they stood for now will be immaterial when it really matters—the last 30 days of a campaign period," she added. Tiquia, who earned a degree on political management from George Washington University, was the campaign manager of 2004 top senatorial candidate Manuel Roxas II.

Study voters
"Candidates are therefore warned this early to do your homework, instead of putting together ads or endorsing products," she said. "To a certain extent, the ads were the talk of the town, but that’s about it."

Tiquia also cautioned presidential aspirants from believing that ads alone can make them win in 2010. "Elections are all about having the numbers to win and the ads are mere tools to increase awareness. They do not win elections."

Before they even come out with ads, presidential aspirants should be asking their campaign managers to study the voters, she said. Among the information that campaign managers should have are the following: voters’ core values that drive their views about politics; psychographics of voter base; and what to say to voters, how, and why?

"Doing one’s homework ensures each peso spent on the campaign returns the maximum value in votes on Election Day," she said.

Tiquia added that presidential aspirants should choose their vice presidential candidates and senatorial slates well.

Erap: good as candidate and endorser?
Tiqua also noted that the possibility of ousted President Joseph Estrada running for president should not be taken for granted. Estrada, she said, holds a "daunting lead" against survey frontrunner De Castro in terms of base support. "He stands on the average around 28 to 30 percent." It’s higher than De Castro’s at 20-23 percent.

"If he runs in 2010, that measured capacity is a daunting lead," Tiquia said.

If Estrada will not run for president, this support base "can be translated to an endorsement factor and that makes the former president the most appealing shadow for the opposition’s presidential candidate in 2010," she said. (


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