More than 61 million citizens will cast their ballots in May, half of them described as young voters, ages 18 to 40. Are these young Filipinos any different from the older ones?
More importantly, aren’t the presidential, vice presidential, and senatorial candidates curious about how the young voters think, what they say, why they do the things that they do, etc.? Not only because such a huge bloc of voters, 30 million of them, will determine the outcome of the elections but also because they’re already shaping the mood and tone, perhaps even the content, of the campaign without the campaigners caring to find out whom they are playing up to.
Luckily for the majority who are not involved except as spectators, whether rabidly partisan or boringly disinterested, we can sit back and enjoy the show, free of charge, free to grade the candidates according to their message and image, for that is all the ground that nonparticipants can cover. We may not be professional critics but it’s our right to pick the winners and losers according to how they project, as a film director would put it.
If performing before a youthful audience is the goal, then the BBM television commercial showing him at his wind farm with its windmills is a winner. Playful and friendly, without the heavy undertones of what’s wrong and what’s missing in the lives of citizens – as if voters need to be hammered on the head to be reminded! – the ad hides an environmental message in plain sight, appeals to a multigenerational audience (as in passing the torch, in this case a pinwheel) and evokes sunshine, clear blue skies, a smiling future linking yesterday and today.
In contrast, a spate of politically hard-core ads is seemingly weighing down the screen. For want of a better phrase, they’re so 20th-century.
In the words of a pillar of the entertainment industry, “I wish our candidates’ advisers would wake up to their audiences’ tastes and preferences.” Making a long face, he added, “Let’s see something new!”
And yet candidates buy air time to display their names and faces, tout their slogans, knowing full well that before it’s a news and information source, television’s primary role is to entertain!