Duterte’s demagogue strategy and manipulation, explained in a marketing plan

Duterte’s demagogue strategy and manipulation, explained in a marketing plan

There are only 6 days left before the nationwide elections. Voter alliances are both crucial and unstable, and candidates are working twice as hard to win people over.

Just this morning (May 3), renowned marketing mentor Josiah Go posted his last pre-elections Duterte-related article. In the blog post, he explained the “demagogue strategy” the Davao City Mayor currently uses for his presidential bid by intertwining it with marketing ideas and the symbolism of the Pied Piper to drive his words home.

He also asks Duterte supporters to finish reading the entire article before making any conclusions, revealing that he himself is a Duterte supporter and admirer of his work in Davao.

However, he has now chosen to vote for Mar Roxas instead.

He shares that he decided against Duterte because of the mayor’s “pattern of dysfunctional behaviors,”, “undiplomatic ways,”, and “the way many of his supporters did not make him accountable for each of his blunders.”

The marketing expert adds that he is also disturbed by the Duterte supporters that “have started to follow his foul mouth and resorted to cursing, insulting and even threatening when they do not agree with the point of view of on supporting another candidate or when they are cornered in a discussion.”

Furthermore, Mr. Go admits he is not perfect, and he does not think other candidates are either. However, he worried Duterte’s demagogue strategy will “have permanent and irreversible consequences to the Filipino culture and pride.”

He hopes that the readers will look through the article and “understand this from the perspective of a former customer turned off with Mister Rody Duterte.”

A demagogue is defined as “a political leader who build up the prejudices and emotions of the masses versus incumbent for him to gain power.”

Imagine a nationwide launch: 

A new store chain is set to open nationwide this May 9, 2016. The charismatic and interesting owner – let’s call him Mr. Pied Piper – is trying to attract people to his store using reverse psychology: “Don’t visit if you don’t want to, if you do, it’s your choice.” His first store was successful over 20 years ago in his city and now Mr. Piper decides to go nationwide after flip-flopping many times.

The general idea:

The strategy Mr. Piper will use consists of him saying controversial statements. It’s a huge culture shock, and definitely risky, but it makes Mr. Piper the most talked about and debated store brand ever. After all, Mr. Piper already has a strong support base. He plans to use this support base to turn thought leadership (when one is recognized as an authority in a specialized field, whose expertise is sought and often rewarded) into market leadership (someone who dominates competitors in customer loyalty, distribution coverage, image, perceived value, price, profit, and promotional spending.

It doesn’t matter if his campaign ruins the relationships of those arguing between supporting him and not supporting him – all he is concerned about is that his followers will follow blindly without understanding the demagogue concept behind his launch strategy

Target market and value proposition (who this is being sold to and why they would buy)

The key target supporters of Mr. Piper’s store are expected to be 40% from class ABC and 30% from the ‘masa’ (masses) who desire a special safety pill available in his store. The special safety pill promises to cure their disease in the next 3 to 6 months – however, it does not have a warranty, since it’s only previously worked on a smaller, more controlled community.

They aim to sell to three specific kinds of people who will be of high priority: a) those who feel like a hostage to the incumbent and want change, b) those who are gullible, and c) those who are rebellious. These three groups are the easiest to convince to help spread half lies about the incumbent stores – how they’re incompetent, how they’ve done absolutely nothing for them and their community, especially for the past six years. They will be used to spread the dissatisfaction to their closest friends, to gain sympathy and to create a natural ripple effect.

Since the market place will only have 5 competing stores and the store that garners the most favor takes everything, they don’t need to attract everybody to win, as long as their store gets the most votes between the five. It doesn’t matter if a larger number of about 60-70% don’t really like Mr. Piper’s store and what it represents. Winning is everything for his team.

Setting things up:

The store will be positioned as an innovative, non-conformist outlet that is important for the majority, while the rest of the competition will be framed as traditional and boring, controlled and visited only by oligarchs – a term referring to the concentration of power within the same few families. The fact that he himself is an oligarch who just swaps power between him and daughter is no big deal.

Twisted innovation:

Listed below are the twisted ways the marketing plan of Mr. Piper store will play out:

1. Instead of a ‘Welcome” sign and a friendly greeting upon entering the store, you will hear an audio recording of none other than Mr. Piper saying “Putang-ina” (Your mother is a whore).

2. The generic “How can I help you?”, is replaced with “Ganda, dapat mauna ako” (Beautiful, I should get to you first.)

3. Disabled persons entering his store will be specially greeted with “Magpakamatay ka nalang.” (Just kill yourself.)

4. LGBT customers have a special greeting of their own as well: “Bayot ka!” (You’re gay!)

5. Instead of common courtesy, any beautiful lady companion of yours who ventures near Mr. Piper will be kissed, at Mr. Piper’s pleasure. Sitting in his lap is a plus.

6. The store, as well as the owner, establishes a quota on who to offend weekly – gays, women, the disabled, and last but not least, the Pope, to stay on the news and prove he is truly

fearless, regardless if it is at the expense of any well-respected individual.

7. A Department of Apology will be created, not to apologize but to be Apologists.

8. Customers are to carry their own load. There are no free deliveries or newbies. They must spend and work for his success. Mr. Piper

9. Customers who dare to complain will be responded to with the middle finger and be reminded that they were told not to visit if they didn’t want to, so it’s their fault.

10. Customers who dare to steal from Mr. Piper will be tracked down by a vigilante squad and soon be floating in the Manila Bay.

11. The code of conduct trains customers to clap, clap, clap and laugh, laugh, laugh when Mr. Piper enters the store. The shows of support are of utmost importance, especially when he talks about his raging sexuality and delivers his tasteless jokes!

12. To complete the welcoming atmosphere his audio recordings create, the audio replaces “Salamat po” (Thank you, ma’am/sir) to “Papatayin kita” (I will kill you) when you exit the store.

Relationship strategies:

13. The local store branch head will be evaluated on the basis of the number of followers who no longer have the ability to demand accountability from Mr. Piper.

14. Mr. Piper is always right – if he’s wrong, he was just quoted out of context! This is really all the oligarchs and incumbent’s fault, for instigating the community’s inability to give him the benefit

of the doubt.

15. If major trading partners dare to speak up against him, Mr. Piper will threaten to sever ties, burn their flags, and ditch the relationships built over the course of a century. Never mind if town mates working in those countries may be hated and ridiculed – remember that he needs to project himself as fearless! Everything and everybody else doesn’t matter as much!

16. Only Mr. Piper can both condemn and pardon himself of his violations, such as his vigilante groups and his undeclared assets as required by the government. You have no say in the matter

Communication Strategies:

17. The biggest task is to successfully discredit the biggest incumbent store chain. Once this happens, everything else follows. To get the ball rolling, a list of frustrations of their followers will be disseminated to incite hate for the incumbent and their defenders – and eventually, they will forget what the incumbent has done for them. They will only remember and rally around what the incumbent has not done.

18. Two hate lists will be prepared – an abbreviate version, and its longer counterpart. If the shorter version has been defended, throw in the larger version so the hate carries on.

19. Mr. Piper’s followers should never be made to feel that they being used for him to gain power. Remind the gullible group of people that he really didn’t want to launch nationally, but had to answer the clamor that they themselves designed.

20. Remind the incumbent at regular intervals that everyone hates them to lessen the confidence of the incumbent’s team, as well as their supporters, and force them to stay silent so Mr. Piper’s communication efforts are maximized for greater effectiveness and impact.

21. False endorsements (from Singapore), dummy blogs, fake social media accounts, photoshopped visuals (Emirates and its flight stewardesses) will be created to influence people into favoring their side. This is to counter any good news about Mr. Piper’s competition.

22. Call center and call center agents will be hired from Cebu and Davao to post stink bombs on customer’s social media accounts each time someone mentions good things about the

competitors. These call center agents are tasked to ask random store performance questions about competitors that are designed to create doubts. These tactics will later be diffused to many of Mr. Piper’s die-hard town mates when they learn to use these tools as well.

23. Any criticism against Mr. Piper from followers of competitors will be neutralized and dismissed with the default 3-step approach: a) claim that it is black propaganda, b) change the topic and ask questions on a different, unrelated topic like an “out of stock” item, and c) end with a hashtag pledge of loyalty to Mr. Piper. The hashtag enables quick and efficient dissemination of such defenses throughout social media. Accusing supporters of competitors as “bayaran” (paid advocates” is an optional fourth step.

24. Followers will be encouraged to, and glorified when, they bash and tag team bully supporters of the big competitors. Memes will be readily available for their convenience.

Marketing budget:

25. Media advertising will be at its heaviest within the last three weeks prior to the grand launch. Mr. Piper should make people believe his national store launch is on a real shoestring budget, and for him to succeed they need to support him more. By the time the followers realize Mr. Piper will be the heaviest spender, it will be too late. They will have already greatly invested

emotionally and defended him to many others, and they have no choice but to enter into a codependent relationship.

Campaign slogan:

26. The hate campaign’s simplified hate slogan tag line reads as follows:

“FRUSTRATED? TAKE REFUGE INSIDE MY STORE. I AM YOUR LAST CARD. I WILL SATISFY YOUR SAFETY QUICKLY”

Hopefully, the customers won’t recall or bring up the “NO RETURN, NO EXCHANGE. ONCE INSIDE, GET USED TO THE NUMBERS 1 TO 25 ABOVE FOR THE NEXT 6 YEARS.”

Key factors for success:

27. All the things mentioned above will only work by capitalizing on the prejudices and emotions of the mass followers against the incumbent to an extreme level, with Mr. Piper framed as the great last hope. When the followers regain control of their hearts and start thinking right, many would have already abandoned and switched to another store.

An urgent appeal for real leadership:

At this point in his blog post, Mr. Go appeals to the readers, especially Duterte supporters, to think deeply and thoroughly once more about who they decide to cast their votes for.

“Dear Readers,

I used this metaphor to illustrate my warning about voting for a controversial presidential candidate in the May 9, 2016 elections. The recent alleged unexplained wealth of this candidate in the hundreds of millions of pesos added to a disturbing trait of a demagogue who promised clean government, yet, did not make himself transparent and accountable immediately when challenged to give a waiver to investigate his bank deposits and properties as if hiding something serious.

To me, great leaders can bring out the best in his or her followers, but a demagogue simply brings out the worst in them, inciting hate of Filipinos against each other. Wag po natin payagan ito!” (Let us not allow this to happen!)”

Misleading innovations:

Mr. Go reminds everybody that not all new solutions are good ones, and some “innovations” turn out to be disastrous. He cites a few recently gone wrong, such as:

1. How “the subprime innovation almost bankrupted the United States and affected the world,”

2. The crafty way that “Pyramiding scams and illegal binary companies have swindled billions from people, even the brightest have not been spared.”

Encouraging an intense and steady output of emotions is a common strategy campaigning teams use to get away with what they want you to do before you wake up from their “hypnosis”, so you won’t have the time and effort for due diligence. Think: when was the last time you sat down and weighed the harms versus the benefits for voting for or against a candidate?

Momentum:

On May 9, 2016, Mr. Go encourages us to “use your power to vote to reject how you and your family want to be treated like above. Demand accountability from your presidential candidate. Show you are more powerful than him. Show your support is unconditional. Vote for another candidate. But do not allow hate to be your reason for voting a candidate.”

His closing paragraphs calls voters who believe, like him, that “the gains of the Philippines should continue uninterruptedly, so poverty can be reduced further and quicker, plus economic gains can be felt deeper and quicker via more jobs” to join him in voting for the Roxas – Robredo tandem. He acknowledges that the team is not perfect, and has uncompleted tasks and failures, but points out that Mayor Duterte has these flaws as well – especially when he promised us safety, but ended up making many of us fear for our safety instead.

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