A PR Lesson from Mar Roxas

Mar Roxas

With Philippine presidential election results now clear, it’s time to take a look back at the public relations strategies each candidate used during the heated campaign period. In the third part of our series, we examine the campaign of Mar Roxas, the designated successor of outgoing president Noynoy Aquino who eventually placed second in the final election count.

Mar Roxas seemed to be designated for greatness. His father, Gerry Roxas, was a Senator and his grandfather, Manuel Roxas, was the fifth President of the Philippines. His wife is one of the most well-known broadcasters in the country. Roxas was also Noynoy Aquino’s running mate in the latter’s 2010 bid, and served in his administration’s cabinet. Finally, as if to cement his golden boy status even further, he’s a Liberal Party stalwart, who’s always shown wearing yellow in his promotional materials.

However, his path to the Presidency was not an easy one. In 2010, he gave up his presidential ambition, made way for Noynoy, and accepted the candidacy for vice president, which he lost. Even then, his continued loyalty to Aquino and the Liberal Party also saddled him with a string of scandals and complaints, from Yolanda and Mamasapano to Kidapawan and the constant annoyance of EDSA traffic.


Economic Gains

Despite these controversies, the previous administration should also be credited for outstanding economic growth. Foreign investment, employment, GDP, the country’s credit rating, and other economic indicators have been improving in the past six years. 

During times of economic prosperity, people have traditionally voted not to rock the boat. Roxas’s campaign banked on that, and emphasized the continuity of economic achievement. He campaigned endlessly on this premise, banking that people would see the link between the administration and the encouraging performance metrics.


The Great Debaters

The 2016 televised debates between the presidential and vice-presidential candidates have brought in record audiences interested in learning about the candidate’s positions. In all of his showings, Roxas consistently performed well, thanks to his showcase of concrete statistics and a high level of preparedness. His arguments and responses were on point and he projected a presidential aura. His performance was aided by Liberal Party vice presidential candidate, Leni Robredo, who likewise shined in her debates.

For PR practitioners, Roxas’s campaign is a lesson on both the power of reputation and the value of preparedness.

This is the third of a five-part series. Read our previous pieces on Grace Poe and president-elect Rodrigo Dutere.