The sociology of campaign poster

AT least 145.42 tons of campaign materials have been collected in Metro Manila alone the day after the 2019 elections based on the report of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).  In fact, according to the MMDA, the city with the most campaign waste collected so far was Manila, with around 30,000 pieces of campaign trash.  Quezon City came in second with 25,000 pieces, followed by Parañaque with 13,000 pieces, Makati with 10,400, and Caloocan with 8,000 pieces.  

Much has been said on the environmental impact of all these campaign posters.  But allow me to reflect on these posters on a “sociological” perspective:

Being on a poster is a privelege..Not everyone is placed on a poster, streamer or even a billboard.  You should either have the “good looks” or the “qualifications” before anyone could even consider you to be in a poster.  So when a person is blessed to be in a poster the initial reaction is that of humility.  The privilege of being considered to represent a company or ideology is in itself an honor that would humble anyone.  Men and women in posters must be persons of humility.  Each time a candidate sees oneself posted on streamers or billboards let it be a reminder that such prominence is because of the people (one’s constituency) that gave them the opportunity to represent the voters  in civil governance.

A sad reality however is that sometimes being on a poster “gets into one’s head” feeding on one’s narcissistic tendencies which leads to arrogance and pride.  “Iba na ang sikat!  At dahil sikat na ako di na tayo magka-level, kaya dumistansiya ka sa akin.”  The irony of it all is that during election time all candidates seems to be so humble that they are willing to stoop down to our level and in our common places of domicile, work and recreation but after they are proclaimed winners going near them seems to be so impossible considering the number of bodyguards and aids we have to pass through to get the measly assistance which in the first place they promised while they were still campaigning.   

Being on a poster is a responsibility... How would you feel if you saw a person in a health poster smoking cigarettes in real life?  What would your reaction be if a model endorsing brand X was seen wearing its rival brand Y in public?  I guess any logical minded individual would be totally bewildered and dismayed.  As a person in a poster you are expected not just to endorse the product, company or ideology you are asked to represent in the poster but to live according to the projected “image” you are suppose to stand for by appearing on this public material.  As the “public face” behind the product, company, institution or ideology you were chosen to endorse it becomes a personal responsibility not to jeopardize the beliefs and values you now represent.

Since a campaign poster is political in nature the responsibility of the candidates in them is thus an implied acceptance of a social obligation.  It is a declaration of service.  By offering one’s self image (photo) in these posters, a candidate publicly declares one’s desire to be a public servant.  Graft and corruption is thus contrary to this publicly manifested image.  So if you so decide to place your face in a campaign poster you must be willing to live by the implied “service” you have supposedly committed to do.  Moreover, as voters we must be critical in matching the CAMPAIGN SLOGAN in these poster in relation to the LIFE of the CANDIDATES themselves.  Less we fall prey to empty catchwords and promises.  Slogans must never be mere abstracts but must be shaped by the lives lived by the men and women portrayed in these campaign posters.  

Being on a poster is a commitment ... When properly preserved a poster will stand the test of time.  It will likewise capture and freeze an image of oneself at a particular moment of one’s existence, thus it seeks to constantly remind us of what we stood for at given point in time.  Our beliefs will truly be tested every now and then but each time we look back at who we are as it was...

...captured by a poster we are suddenly jolted back to reaffirm our commitment to a belief that we stood for in our lives.  We may be disappointed from time to time or even tempted to veer away from our personal convictions by the strong forces of darkness surrounding us but our dedication to our ideologies should stand the decay of time as these posters have so perfectly captured.

When Jason Enriquez Gamban (a student of ICCT, Cainta) was chosen to model in a recruitment poster for PPCRV’s Ad Campaign (during my stint as Secretary General) he was a couple of weeks into the finals of the current school year but when our voters’ education initiatives needed volunteers to help ensure its success he did not hesitate to share his spare time to lend a helping hand, and when I asked what motivated him to do all these things all he said was ... “COMMITMENT!”  

For Jason posing in our poster was not just a “single act” of volunteerism but a fidelity to a belief that being a PPCRV volunteer is a personal contribution in making our electoral process Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful and Peaceful (CHAMP).  My only hope is that our national and local candidates will likewise share in Jason’s convictions.  Allow me to conclude by sharing to you Jason’s final remarks during our short conversation, “Malaking responsibilidad ang mapili na kumatawan sa PPCRV sa mga poster nito.  Sana mapanindigan ko ang lahat ng ito sa mga munting gawaing maaari kong maiambag bilang volunteer ng PPCRV.  At nawa’y tulungan ako ng Diyos!”

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For any personal comments or suggestions you may call 0917-4805585 or email me at csorita@yahoo.com.