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Publication Date : 26-01-2013
Bangkok poll campaigns low in content
The election campaigns for Bangkok governor are still focused on presentation rather than the details of policies, marketing gurus said.
While Pheu Thai candidate Pongsapat Pongcharoen's presentation is better than that of his Democrat rival Sukhumbhand Paribatra, the incumbent governor's campaign is seen as better in content.
The gurus also believe newcomer DJ Suharit Siamwalla has a good chance to get elected if he can woo Bangkokians who did not cast their votes in the past.
Krittinee Nuttavuthisit, lecturer from the Faculty of Marketing at Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration, said all candidates are giving priority to presentation more than policy content.
Candidates have used acting skills during their election campaigns but that has undermined the content they want to share with the people.
"It's like watching advertising - we always see good presentations, but we don't know the details of what they want to convey to the people," Krittinee told Krungthep Turakij TV's "Business Talk" programme.
She said when comparing the policies of the candidate, she liked Sukhumbhand's details because his content is connected to his previous policies as Bangkok governor and they show that he understands Bangkok's problems.
However, she added, in general after looking at all the contents and presentations of the major candidates, she liked Suharit's package because it is very creative and voters can see details in his presentations.
Policy versus presentation
Social media expert Poramate Minsiri said he thinks Sukhumbhand's policies are easy to understand but Pongsapat's presentations are better. But Suharit is the most colourful in this race.
Regarding the strengths and weaknesses of Pongsapat, Krittinee said he is a new face in politics. The challenge for Pongsapat is to prove that he can solve Bangkok's problems.
Krittinee said Pongsapat's strong point is he is contesting under the banner of the Pheu Thai Party, which runs the country. It is going to be better for Bangkokians to have a governor who comes from the ruling party because the city administration and the central government can then work together very smoothly.
Poramate said Pongsapat's slogan "working with the government seamlessly" make him different from other candidates because Pongsapat is the only one who can make that claim in his election campaign.
Also, Pongsapat's candidacy No 9 is good for slogans because most Thais believe the number 9 to be auspicious.
Reflecting on the Democrat candidate, Krittinee said Sukhumbhand could look ahead as a former Bangkok governor. People want to go forward and want to see continuity in the capital's development. But his weak point is that some of his old policies could not be implemented regarding which he may have to explain himself.
Krittinee said his slogan "Love Bangkok, make Bangkok a metropolis for all", is vague and too abstract.
Poramate said Sukhumbhand's strong point is the Democrat Party has a strong vote base in Bangkok and his weak point is that several projects during his term as governor came in for criticism, such as the futsal field project. His slogan is also too abstract.
Good to be a DJ
Krittinee said Suharit made the best use of marketing ideas in his election campaign. Obviously, his target group is young people and teenagers who want to change Bangkok.
"Suharit is a distinctive product when compared with other candidates," Krittinee said.
Krittinee said his slogan highlights his character and he also pointed out other candidates' weakness when he said, "Choose the old and you will get old Bangkok".
Poramate said Suharit is a "love or hate" candidate. Some people will definitely not vote for him while some others will vote for him because of his policies, although they do not know him.
"Suharit is one of the best products in the market but he must promote himself with 51 per cent of the people who didn't cast their votes. If he can do that, he may be the next Bangkok governor," Poramate said.
Krittinee said Sereepisuth Temeeyaves's image is one of honesty, straightforwardness and political neutrality.
His alias is "Na Kae Hero" for his fight against communism when he was stationed in Na Kae district in the northeastern border province of Nakhon Phanom. Bangkokians want a serious man who can solve their problems.
Krittinee said Sereepisuth's weak point is he is a new face in politics.
'Honesty always pays'
Poramate said Sereepisuth's strong point is his character as an honest man, free from corruption. But his weak point is his serious personality, which might pose difficulties in working with others.
Krittinee said Kosit Suvinijjit has good ideas to create "Bangkok 24 hours" because the capital city never sleeps. He tells people about both the bright and the dark side of Bangkok, which is different from other candidates who try to tell people only about the beautiful side of the city.
Poramate said Kosit might have got his idea from his experience in the media, which also works round the clock. The former chairman of Spring Corporation (Spring News), and
former president of Media of Medias Company could use his skills in media management in his policy implementation, but he is a new face in politics.