Free Lessons on Messaging for the Clueless Amateur Handlers of Leni


I really wonder how you can sleep at night knowing that you’re doing a sloppy job while getting big bucks for it. Very big bucks – a great portion of it in US dollars.

I’m talking about YOU – Ms/Mr Handler of Leni Robredo.

How do you do your work?

Do you sit around a table and talk about strengths and weaknesses of your principal?

Or, do you track the reactions of people on stuff you churn out on social media?

Or, do you measure – even informally, amongst your relatives and kasambahays – the key messages that resonate with the greatest number of Filipinos? Either coming from your saintly client or the evil DU30?

Or, do you merely let your collective imagination run wild (in front of a white board in some hotel function room) in the hopes of stumbling onto an Aldub-type “instant” hit.

Your latest work shows your utter lack of knowledge in the basic basic crafting of messages.

You’re messing up on TONE OF VOICE.

I personally define “tone of voice” as the sum total of how people and the world see you and think of you. It is the image they form in their minds based on how you behave in public, how you talk and write, how you handle answers when questioned, how you react in a crisis… a mental picture of you – formed effortlessly by your actions and words.

For example, my tone of voice would be: irreverent, unpredictable, non-conformist, whiner, kinda rude.

If, one day, I suddenly started talking about religion, salvation and the end of the world, this would totally confuse people because it is NOT my tone of voice.

Which brings me to my dilemma with Ms. Robredo’s tone of voice.

In the beginning, her tone of voice was that of a down-to-earth, low profile probinsyana lawyer who detested socializing with powerful people… and would rather wait in some darkly-lit highway for the provincial bus that will take her home to Naga.

“Country road… take me home…”

This was great until it was busted as a “set-up”

So her team decided to move on.

Someone in the group probably had the idea of heightening how “unpresidentiable” the sitting President was – with his cussing and his probinsyano wardrobe and manners – so the big idea was: change their VP’s “tone of voice” to that of one who is authoritative, knowledgeable, sympathetic, respectable, decent, ready to lead.

For good measure, the mandate was to always situate her behind a rostrum and in front of a microphone.

Then feed her with some great sounding… cliches.

“Democracy demands dissent.”

“This government is obsessed with monopolizing power.”

“I want to be remembered as someone who did the best she could given a very difficult situation.”

Etc. Etc.


The problem with the “Leni quotes” was… they stayed quotes. She couldn’t expand or expound on the ideas she was mouthing. Or, if she tried… she did it with lopsided logic. Un-vice presidentiable.

Apparently, the lady has not been gifted with the ability to summon original thought. Or think on her feet.

And so the team brought out the magic word: simplify.

Latching on a monumental hit video campaign by a burger company, the group set out to fashion a tone of voice that says: approachable, warm, human, caring.

What better way than with free burgers carrying cute one-liners on post-it notes.



And this is when… I gave up on this group and all their moronic efforts.

I think it is easier to teach a monkey to sing “Spain” than to fine-tune the brains of these “communicators”.

Their benefactors must be bleeding… and complaining.

Sorry. Tried my best.

Let’s have Warren Buffet end this piece.


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