“Hanep na ang buhay dahil may hanapbuhay”
Is Cynthia Villar repeating Manny’s advertising blunders?
Former Las Pinas Rep. Cynthia Villar aired her first infomercial for Villar Foundation (VF) summer of 2012. Mrs. Villar is running for Senate because her husband Manny is constitutionally barred from seeking a third consecutive term. Luckily for her, their foundation marked its 20th anniversary just a year before the 2013 midterm elections.
This gave her an excuse to constantly appear on television throughout 2012 in the guise of promoting their advocacies. From campaigning to protect the Manila Bay, to promoting livelihood workshops, and sponsoring events for bloggers, Mrs. Villar is virtually omnipresent. And her efforts seem to be paying off. According to a December 2012 survey by pollster Pulse Asia, she will most likely win a Senate seat.
Mrs. Villar has aired two television ads so far. Directed by veteran filmmaker Mark Meily (of Crying Ladies fame), the 30-second ad features the life story of Divine Resus, a 20-year-old poor lady who benefited from VF’s coconut weaving workshops. Midway through the ad, Villar appears. “Hanep na ang buhay, kapag may hanapbuhay,” she and her women supporters concluded.
The reaction online to Mrs. Villar’s first ad has been largely negative, mainly because it is considered as premature campaigning. The acting and the physical appearance of the video’s protagonist also received ridicule. She also seems to have repeated her husband’s mistake of being perceived as setting herself apart from other people in the ad, albeit unintentionally. How did this happen?
First, understand that the public generally reacts negatively to candidates who engage in premature campaigning (see for instance how people embraced the anti-epal online movement). Then, the latter part of the video is more appalling. Mrs. Villar evidently wants to establish her connection to the masses through the ad.
One major mistake is the ad’s attempt to make Mrs. Villar stand out from the rest by focusing the lighting on her while deliberately making everyone else in the shot look dull. See the snapshot below for reference. This is like the controversial cover of FHM magazine last year where Bela Padilla’s whiteness was emphasized by making everyone else around her look extremely dark. This leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
The funny thing is, her husband Manny also committed the same blunder in one of his pre-campaign period ads in 2009. At the 0:27 mark of this commercial, Villar can be seen wiping off his hand after holding several mud-covered ducks in a farm. Of course, any person would certainly do that, but do they have to show that in the ad?
PS: The second one, which goes to the tune of Gloc 9’s “Simpleng Tao” shows other women beneficiaries of VF projects. “May hanapbuhay ako, mula sa iyo,” the unidentified female singer chants. As of writing time, this video has not been uploaded in YouTube.