Poster boy and poster girl

By Atty. Antonio P. Pekas

“Perhaps the Philippine government’s information drives should graduate from being boring and ineffective.”

It was good I did not have a court hearing so I was able to attend the presscon of the DOH with Mayor Benjie Magalong about the nCoV which is scaring everybody.
When I entered, the panelists of doctors were seated in front, all females, with DOH Regional Director Dr. Amelita M. Pangilinan in the middle. Towering over her co-panelists, she was beautiful, confident (composed) and articulate. Just by looking at her, one felt there was no nCoV scare around the region and around the country.
A good poster of her in right pose, environment (including the lighting), with the proper attire to get across her authority on the subject matter and saying our headliner, NCoV? No problem!, would have delivered the message more than any composed article.
She could even have said it in her Bontokis way, or in her native tongue (or translated into several dialects): NCoV? Cha, ma-id man problema sa!
Towards the latter part of the event, Mayor Benie Magalong came in. He confidently explained the reasons and process why the opening parade of the Panagbenga was cancelled. As he elaborated, the decision came only after an extensive consultations with stakeholders, even soliciting counter-arguments so the right decision would emerge.
He also explained how he and other officials worked for the cancellation of the PMA Alumni Homecoming. In all that process, he was confident or composed, he looked good with such a confidence, even his balding head sort of contributed to his authority to deliver the assurance that there was nothing to worry about. In short, he was really a general, cool under pressure.
These were what came across. A proper picture of him to deliver the assurance would have been more effective than all the words one could conjure.
These two people have the charisma and could have been the poster girl and the poster boy in the drive against the nCoV scare. With the proper handling of marketing or advertising people, their posters could have delivered the message or messages more effectively than the verbal diarrhea being engaged in by anybody who thinks he has the right to. And they include journalists.
The practice though in government is for officials to have their pictures taken and parroting all sorts of things which are often ineffective. Firstly, often times those officials have faces like mine, the kind that only a mother could love. They often don’t have the charisma to move people.
This had been my point in so many articles about the campaign for autonomy or the IEC for it. What should have been done was to hire advertising and marketing people to come up with techniques to make people identify with and support autonomy. As of now what is being used for the drive are statements of politicians and officials. The people don’t even trust them. Are the people attracted byf their looks? Forget it.
Just to give two examples of statements that endured after dcades and decades, are two advertisements for cars. The Corvette, which is still considered the American sports car to dream of, used to have this ad—THE HEARBEAT OF AMERICA. That ignited the nationalism of Americans and their sense of being powerful. The effect of that ad still endures.
There was also the ad for the British sports car MG which everybody was saying it was too small being just a two seater, and indeed it was small. The answer was an ad that went this way—YOU CAN DO IT IN AN MG. It is considered a classic ad.
Perhaps the Philippine government’s information drives should graduate from being boring and ineffective.

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