Sunday, January 28, 2007

Product positioning

SURVEYS were applied strictly to the lay of the land sometime in the hazy past. Geodetic, that’s what it were. A land survey is meant to pinpoint a tract of land’s boundaries—to be plugged in with concrete markers called mujones defining an exact area to be girded. A survey like that helps in precise plotting. Uh, no coup plots then.

Plots are similarly hatched in today’s surveys that come in various guises and disguises. Most are stabs that cut across the minds of people, mindless or mindful. Say, a survey of TV viewing habits seeks to convince advertisers to plunk down sums of money on programs that pander to the greatest number of candidates for lobotomy and the mentally comatose.

Instead of mujones driven into skulls of the surveyed, TV programmers are prompted into revelry over the huge tracts of brain areas they have gained over a stretch of weeks. Presumably, those tracts would be possessed in due time as programmers ply some more of the same viewing fare. To draw more and more numbskulls that could be raked over as numbers.

It’s a numbers game—the more, the merrier— similar to those failed attempts at ousting the current top tenant of Malacañang via impeachment. A handful would go through the motions of unseating her. The merrier more would thwart such attempts. They would consequently claim… nah, not victory but larger chunks of largesse distributed by the Palace in a gesture like those of advertisers going after the greater numbers of TV viewers. It’s an enriching process.

As the May electoral exercises draw nigh, expect surveyors to come knocking at your doors to pick your brains— and groins whether it’s worth picking at or pickling. Surveys can give ample clues what political consumers want or expect in the wares proffered at ‘em.

In turn, political upstarts and grizzlies can dovetail, even overhaul and custom-fit their profiles to the liking of a not-so-discriminating market.

Consumers would be asked about their likes and dislikes. The ascertained likeable qualities would go into a patchwork picture of the candidate who aims to earn the consumers’ nod. The dislikeable traits as defined by consumers would be heaped on our candidate’s rivals to make ‘em more detestable and abhorrent, only dogs would cast votes for such ogres.

Survey questions ought to bring out the profile of a winner at the polls. Say, ply these among households that cuts across a wide swathe of voters in a targeted area. (1) Check three of the most appealing qualities that you want for your governor; (2) Check three among the problems listed below that you want to your governor to solve immediately; (3) Check three among the programs listed below that you want your governor to implement immediately; (4) In your opinion, what style and colors of clothing and accessories would be most appealing and appropriate for your governor? Check three; (5) Based on the list below, check the most appropriate style and color of hair for your governor.

The checks ought to be turned to cash, oops, we mean these checks are to be tallied and thoroughly pored over. The voters have to be pleased, amused, won over.

As with democracies, the greater numbers ought to have the last word on a politico’s over-all appearance, the programs and projects he intends to pursue, down to the numbers of mistresses he can keep off the public eye—it’s the rule of law of supply and demand.

Campaign posters, streamers, and handbills ought to project a product of popular perception as gleaned and gauged from pre-campaign surveys. We know what the public wants.

Vote Kumag Dakupal for Governor. Guwapo na sexy pa. Mapagbigay ng pera atbp. Walang tikwas ang buhok kahit kalbo na. Pag-asa ng bayan laban sa balakubak, cellphone snatching, at walang load. Isusulong ang pagpapatayo ng bilyaran, basketball court, at videoke bawat kanto.

There’s a soft focus full-body shot of a candidate amid a horde of children, smiling like a toothpaste endorser, long tresses with blonde highlights without a crease or stray bit of hair, garbed in a cream blazer over a black t-shirt, no slacks to complete the get-up, just thong panties.

There’s your candidate who’ll win the polls.

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