Under where? Candidate puts name on panties as election campaign freebie

January 9, 2019 - 2:20 PM
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Campaign giveaway
A reelectionist in Quezon City gave away unusual merchandise that sent Filipinos reacting either in amusement or disgust. (Facebook/Aica Abarabar)

Quezon City Second District Councilor Ramon “Toto” Medalla surprised Filipinos when he gave away underwear with his name printed on the back days before the start of the election period.

A Facebook user shared a picture of the politician’s giveaway and added the hashtag “#blessed” in her caption.

The underwear was originally produced by a local garment company.

Social media users found the gimmick amusing while others felt disgusted or repulsed.

Reelectionists and election candidates as early as April 2018 have been making their presence known by posting tarpaulins and giving away souvenirs such as baller bands and cellphones.

The election period for the 2019 midterm elections starts on January 13, 2019, while the campaign period for the local positions begins on March 29, 2019.

Giveaways to increase public awareness

Councilor Toto Medalla is not the first politician to hand out unusual giveaways to the public in light of the election period.

To boost their chances of being known and recognized by voters, other politicians have given away intravenous therapy (IV) fluids and food items with their names and images plastered on them.

Politicians also give freebies before and during the election period as a common campaign strategy to enhance their appeal, leave a good impression to the public and to market their “brand.”

Mugs for Bong Go
Drinking mugs endorsing senatorial aspirant SAP Bong Go that surfaced in April 2018, a year before the 2019 midterm elections. (From the Facebook page SAP Bong Go for Senator Movement)

“Merchandise is a great way of getting your message out there, of engaging people, and of raising money,” Lisa Ries, president of American branding consultancy Ries and Ries observed, in light of political campaigns.

Candidates, like a product, have to increase their brand value and public awareness to win votes.

A website that centers on political campaigns explained how giveaways affect the recipient.

“When a supporter sees your T-shirt in their closet or cuts a peach with a campaign branded knife, the brand value (of the candidate) and (his) awareness increases,” it said.

“Campaign merchandise opens a whole new world of supporter engagement,” the website added.

Under the current laws of the Commission on Elections, garments with candidates’ names and logos cannot be worn in voting centers on election day. — Featured photo from Aica Abarabar via Facebook