Celebrities and elections: a completely different red carpet

Manila, Philippines – The Philippines is very well known as a show country. We deal with the Miss Universe contests such as the NBA Finals and the Oscars. We dedicate hours of our time to our newest and past love bands, and pay tribute to any famous person who has the slightest hint of Filipinos in their blood.

Elections are no different as many personalities tried their hand at politics and emerged victorious, examples include former President Joseph Estrada (actor), former Vice President Noli de Castro (announcer), Senator Leto Lapid (actor), Bong Rivilla (actor), and Tito Soto (host/singer).

If they do not run, some celebrities openly endorse the candidates during their election campaign. In 2004, Jodi Anne Santos endorsed success in the Senate elections for Gamby Madrigal, while in 2016, then-rising couple Catherine Bernardo and Daniel Padilla (dubbed “Cathniel”) backed the Liberal Party ticket for Mar Roxas and Lenny Robredo.

The 2022 election is no different, as celebrity support flowed into multiple camps – former Pinoy Big Brother host Tony Gonzaga was a frequent fly-host for Bongbong Marcos, Sotto’s brother Vic rallied fellow “Eat Bulaga” hosts to advance his running for vice presidential nomination, and Kathniel’s cryptic support for Robredo overshadowed It has the massive attendance of the likes of Angel Locsin, Juliana Magdangal and Deputy Ganda.

Celebrity power is the difference

However, in a way, this latest election seems to stand apart from the celebrity’s previous involvement in politics, and the Filipino people have never experienced such overwhelming support for the selected candidates to the point where they frequently appear in sorties.

Dr Ruanni Tupas, a Filipino academic in the Department of Culture, Communication and Media, IOE, UCL’s School of Education and Society in London, says the difference can be found in the evolution of celebrity power.

“Celebrities at that time were celebrities in TV and TV culture. Now, they’re famous on a variety of platforms, including different social media platforms,” ​​Topas told Philstar.com. “This means that dealing with voters is more direct and immediate.”

For Tupas, this also means that celebrity power stems from all kinds of people, not only actors and singers but also online influencers with followers ranging in the thousands and even millions.

But does celebrity influence have a huge impact on the campaign? It’s a complicated assessment, Topas says.

“Celebrities can help improve awareness levels of certain candidates, although that doesn’t mean that translates into votes,” he added.

Using the 2022 election as an example, the majority of the country’s biggest stars were present at Robredo’s rallies while a few went to Marcos – yet it was the latter who managed to garner more than 30 million votes, nearly twice as much as Robredo.

This makes Marcus’ campaign an interesting case study for PUBLICITYASIA founder Joyce Ramirez, who helped him launch the now-popular “BBM” brand envisioned during his 2016 Vice Presidential campaign and Grace Poe’s digital campaign when she ran for president that same year.

“This is the guy who decided he was going to ignore all discussion and use his limited time to campaign directly for the people,” Ramirez told Philstar.com, also noting that celebrity endorsements still did not match those of fellow politicians Marcos said. It was a lot.

Social media worker and disinformation

Tobas says we need to think of celebrities as part of the web of enabling or disabling factors that make a politician win or lose, particularly as they become more involved in discussions about who they support.

“Due to the nature of political engagement mediated by social media, we also see celebrities more involved in conversations, even ‘Baragolan’, about their candidates and the issues around them,” Tubas explained.

Tobas continues, these types of posts are also interconnected because they are watched live online. This then boils down to the specific or target demographics or vulnerabilities that the candidates and their celebrity supporters are addressing.

Topas further explains that disinformation and disinformation have also been mobilized in organized ways that can favor or oppose a candidate.

In this respect, the power of celebrity alone is not enough to convince people to vote for a particular candidate, popular campaigns and an organized mechanism are essential to one’s success.

Celebrities are citizens too

A major concern was raised that supporters were getting paid to attend political sorties; The same goes for celebrities, but like the fans they encounter say they too are volunteers and haven’t been paid to appear at rallies.

“We can assume that the performers who appeared in the sortie, for whatever reason, did so because their contracts allowed them to do so,” Topas said. “We must also take the view that many of these artists did this because they really believed in the candidates. They are Filipinos too who are invested in the country’s future.”

However, Topas notes that a number of celebrities have not endorsed any candidate, and like those who have taken a calculated risk.

Ramirez explains this by saying that if a political candidate, an artist, shows his support for losing an election, it is bad for brand value, credibility, and generally for business.

“Many of these celebrities listen to amateur advice from their inner circle who are often biased towards their political preferences which is why they end up in such a big mess later on,” Ramirez said.

Support from now on

With the campaign season officially over, many begin to wonder whether celebrities who have expressed strong support for a particular candidate will show up just as much in the coming weeks or months, whether or not they are victorious.

“For those on the winning side, we can expect personalities to continue to defend and protect our elected officials,” Ramirez said.

As for those who came up short, Ramirez’s personal position is that these celebrities should “keep out of sight for the time being because it’s not good to keep making noise if the end result is futile.”

Meanwhile, Topas says that if these celebrities are invested because they share the same ideals or principles of certain candidates, it will automatically follow that they will actively participate in their cause(s) regardless of the final number.

“I would like to believe we will see this happen among those who have shown commitment and investment in candidates in the last elections, and who have publicly stated that they were doing so as volunteers,” Tubas added.

Popularity is the key

As a country of entertainment shows, the factor of success or discontinuity for an individual in any industry in the Philippines is how popular they are, and this includes participation in elections.

Tubas acknowledges that Philippine elections were based on personality, something Ramirez echoes as a celebrity running for public office has better chances than a celebrity endorsing a political candidate.

“If one wants to have the best chance of winning, it is better to be famous or already widely known than to run as nobody,” Ramirez continued, noting that engaging with professionals who can help guide photography and branding is a huge boost. .

In this regard, Topas says elections are not an equal playing field because celebrities with a lot of star power have an advantage that doesn’t start from scratch and have really high levels of awareness — something that high-name veteran politicians can benefit from.

Popularity, for Ramirez, is a combination of many factors such as appearance, track record and appeal to fans – for her all that is needed to win is a vote of the CD market. She adds that these plans take time and years, even not overnight.

Speaking of track records, Topas says these are as important as they are “seen” as good track records, and that’s how social media plays a role in making stories about candidates and infiltrating even the privacy of everyone’s lives.

Discussions of the future

As another election cycle closes, the Philippines awaits the arrival of a new administration whose victory depended heavily on years in the making and bolstered by the various kinds of power the celebrities had in their camp.

This is something to consider not only in any future elections but how we view “power” and character influence, especially in the Philippines.

“It’s actually more productive to talk about the power of celebrities, rather than celebrities, to break away from our traditional understanding of who celebrities are,” said Topas.

He reiterates that politicians can wield the power of celebrities, and in the age of the internet so do social media influencers and content creators who have nurtured large numbers of followers.

These individuals, these current and potential voters, are deeply invested in the personalities they follow and even those they worship, as well as the content and images they represent.

The Philippines will likely continue to revolve around show business, but if celebrities continue to advocate and stand by individuals who align with their principles towards a better country for all Filipinos, there may be hope for the positive impact they will spread.