Why Mar was No. 1 in 2004…

Having been a part of the creative team that helped Mar Roxas garner 19 million votes in the 2004 Senatorial elections, a part of me desperately wants to revisit the reasons for his resounding victory (the highest number of votes ever garnered by a national candidate in any Philippine election).


Mar is a good guy… so it’s painful to see him now… struggling… shifting and adjusting messages and strategies by the week.


I shudder at the amateurish efforts being churned out by his “experts”… so, as my personal contribution to his campaign, I’d like to point out some things he did right in the past that he might have forgotten to do in his current fight.

Be around simple folks – but don’t act like you’re one of them. In Mar’s successful campaign materials in 2004, he was always around “real people” – not showbiz types – listening to them and talking to them about matters that really affect their lives (lower food prices, cheaper medicine, new skills-driven employment opportunities, etc). Nowhere did he try to “ape” their jobs – no padjak, padjak… no “kargador” moments… no traffic enforcing in the kanto…

There is a 1967 song called “Onie” by the Electric Prunes that aptly captures a sound advice for Mar, “Onie, I like you a lot… but don’t be something you’re not…”


Speaking of songs…

Lighten up – especially with the choice of music. Mar is not Nelson Mandela. He is asking for votes, not a nationwide moral/mental transformation. He doesn’t need a “We are the world” clone.

Mar’s “Hoy… hoy.. hoy” music in 2004 was fun, immediately hummable and unbeatably memorable. It was a priceless workhorse on radio.

It was also perfect for Mar’s happy-go-lucky personality.

But, simple is the hardest thing to do.

His current FAST FORWARD “anthem” has a complex melody (quick, whistle the melody now… right now… and win a free Hotdog CD)… and convoluted lyrics that do not attempt to explain – even in the most feeble way – how fast forwarding tuwid na daan will make our lives more comfortable and less stressful.

Station ID’s – when you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Station ID videos are as memorable as wallpaper – put them side by side, end to end… they all look the same – predictable, boring, invisible, rubbish.


Sorry but I need to say that Mar’s new music video looks, feels, walks, talks like a station ID – most probably crafted by some network’s merchandising team or influenced by some network big shot.

The whole 240-second spot is populated by popular celebrities. Sensya na… but no amount of explaining will convince people that all these Division 1 VIPs did it pro bono.

(Especially, with most of the talents bragging how big their purse was to anyone who’d listen.)

So just keep quiet na about the TF matter.

The whole look and feel of this Fast Forward video is directly opposite Mar’s “Hoy… hoy… hoy” visuals.

The setting is “rich” – manicured grounds, tall buildings, clean streets.

(No public markets. No sweaty tinderas. No fat nanays.)

No aspins – even the dogs are all imported.

Everything is “art directed” (translation: much of what you see is yellow in color).

No attempt was made to let go of what has been dividing the country for almost 6 years – the “color-coding” of its people.

Yellow = Friends.  Not Yellow = Not Friends.

It’s no wonder that the video is getting more “dislikes” than “likes”.

A clear case of viral rejection.

It’s not too late to resonate.

With around 5 more months to go until the elections, Mar can still play catch up.

Mar’s winning asset in 2004?

He listened.

To intelligent creative people with breakthrough ideas.

Today, he desperately needs to find time to listen to well-meaning friends – not “get-rich-quick” mercenaries – who bring sound advice.

Unless he has grown as stubborn and bullheaded as the person he wants to succeed.

Good luck… all the best, pare.



4 thoughts on “Why Mar was No. 1 in 2004…”

  1. I will get myself several coloured T-s and have it painted with these.

    Kahit (pula, verde, bughaw etc) and suot ko
    Kay Roxas at Robredo pa rin ako.

    Sen Lacson is right, let’s make this campaign inclusive and fun but solidly together in the objective of ridding government of corruption.

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