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Back to the battered drawing board

/ 02:47 AM November 13, 2014

The drawing board is where the wise guys in a PR agency, such as the shop I used to run, regroup to think up fresh ideas to substitute for a “brilliant” concept that bombs. This happens all the time; the boys and girls who comprise the PR agency think tank scurry back to the drawing board to brainstorm for a new plan, new strategy, whatever, as not all ideas they generate are found, upon field trial, to bring about the desired results.

Thus, the drawing board can get pretty scarred from overuse and abuse. Let’s imagine what’s happening at and to the drawing board of the Binay camp.

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“Why are we back to the drawing board?” the Boss perorates. “Because the ‘Pulitika lang yan’ riposte to the charges of corruption leveled at us didn’t sell to the public. We are still in deep sh-t. We’ve got to think of something else.”

“I’ve got it, I’ve got it!” cries The Hawk, banging on the drawing board. “Let’s call the press and say T and Co. have run out of mud to throw at us.”

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The group ignores him.

“What about this, Boss: Challenge Trillanes to a debate. That’ll silence that upstart,” suggests Braintrust A.

“That sounds like a great idea! I’ll make mincemeat of Trillanes in a one-on–one confrontasi. What will we debate on?”

“You’re missing the point. We’re baiting Trillanes to debate with you only to expose to the public that he is an ignoramus, is zero on the fine art of debating, has a foggy notion of law and ethics—in short, he’s a complete idiot. That will reduce to zero his credibility, and thereafter only fugitives from the mental institution will believe the moronic stuff he accuses you of.”

“What a brilliant strategy! But what if he dwells on the parking building in his presentation?”

“Ignore it. Talk about the cakes you give senior birthday celebrants in Makati. We scored a three-pointer with that when their chief witness told the blue ribbon subcommittee that his claimed cost of Nancy’s cakes was hula-hula lang.”

“Ok, let’s do it! Announce I am challenging Trillanes to a debate.”

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Two days later, the group is again at the drawing board.

“Don’t ask me why we’re here again,” the Boss grouses. “We’re here because the people still want me to appear at the Senate hearings. Can’t you come up with something more dramatic, a more gripping story line, that’ll perk up the people and get them to sympathize with me?”

“I’ve got it, I’ve got it!” cries The Hawk, banging on the drawing board. “Let’s call the press and say T and Co. have run out of mud to throw at us.”

The group ignores him.

“Eto, Boss, magugulat lahat,” suggests Braintrust B. “Let’s announce that our intelligence group has uncovered a secret plot by our enemy, called ‘Oplan Nognog,’ a desperate move by a desperate cabal to scuttle your unstoppable victory in 2016. Neat idea, huh, Bossing?”

“Super idea! Although a bit devilish, I would say. Eh pano kung tanungin tayo ng media who concocted this plot?”

“We’ll astound them, we’ll tell them the dastardly plot was cooked up and is being directed by the LP bigwig Mar no less!”

“Fantastic! Ok, let’s do it!”

A week later the group is gathered again around the drawing board. Oplan Nognog is a dud. Even Binay’s staunch supporter Mayor Erap doubts the veracity of the so-called plot, or its supposed brains.

“I’m really pissed,” says the Boss. “None of your bright ideas has worked, my situation has not improved; in fact, it has gotten worse! Now I’m being accused of owning this vast hacienda in Batangas on which sits a grandiose mansion, and also quarters an orchidarium, a race horse ranch, a state-of-the-art piggery and other luxurious features. I’m pictured as a super rich man, contrary to what I’ve been telling my supporters in Makati!”

“I’ve got it, I’ve got it!” cries The Hawk, banging on the drawing board. “Let’s call the press…”

The Boss snaps at him: “Why don’t you go fix us some coffee, ok?” Then, turning to the others, he says, “As I was saying, think up something that will work or there will be hell to pay, there will be some changes around here none of you will like..”

“Ok, Boss, here’s the idea that will end all ideas,” says Braintrust C. “Go on a barnstorming tour of the countryside. Tell the people you are being persecuted because you come from the poor and you are poised to become president in 2016 and the rich would have none of it. This is a fight between the rich and the poor. Tell them, ‘I will not allow those fair-skinned hacenderos and mestizos wallowing in wealth to trample on us dark-skinned poor people. I will fight them and, with your help and the help of all other dark-skinned poor people of this land, we, you and I, will prevail!’”

“What a brilliant idea!” the Boss gushes, banging on the drawing board. “But will this poor-versus-rich battle cry touch the emotions of the poor and make them rally behind me?”

“It always does,” says Braintrust C. “In this country, the poor are the age-old, most convenient bargaining chip or weapon used by politicians, whether to gain supporters, come out victorious in a power struggle, or wiggle out of a tight jam, political or otherwise. It’s the best idea…”

“I’ve got it, I’ve got it!” cries The Hawk as he hears the word “idea” and lays down the coffee tray on the drawing board. “Let’s call the press…”

“Meeting adjourned, and no more going back to the drawing board after this, you hear?” the Boss growls, banging on the drawing board for emphasis. Everyone rises to leave.

But The Hawk persists: “…And say T and Co. have run out of mud… Aw, forget it.” Then he mutters to himself, “Kalimutan na ang PR-PR, strategy-strategy na yan. It would be smarter, kinder to our sanity, if we simply stop inventing and circumventing and prevaricating, and just tell the truth.”

In the end, The Hawk truly gets it.

 

Mart del Rosario ([email protected]) is a retired advertising-PR consultant.

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TAGS: “Oplan Stop Nognog 2016”, Binay, Binay Camp, crisis PR, Drawing Board, Jejomar Binay, Mar Roxas, PR strategy
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