The 2024 presidential election landscape taking shape: “Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”

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Illustration: LEONARDO A. PUTONG

Jakarta, IO – In 2024, the next presidential election will take place . Still two years to go, names of the potential contenders’ have already surfaced. Prabowo Subianto, Ganjar Pranowo, Anies Baswedan, Sandiaga Uno, Ridwan Kamil, Erick Thohir, Airlangga Hartarto, Muhaimin Iskandar, Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, and other names, including Puan Maharani, have routinely topped electability polls in the last two years. Both the general public and political parties are eagar to find out who is the most popular, attractive, and capable candidate. 

With the many candidates vying for a spot in 2024, the rivalry has tightened and the debate has heated up. Various antics are used, ranging from the normal to the ridiculous. To entice voters, a variety of gimmicks are used, ranging from serious to absurd. Political marketing is the term for these antics and gimmicks. 

According to M. N. Clemente, political marketing is the marketing of ideas and opinions that relate to public or political issues or individual candidates. In general, he describes that political marketing is designed to influence voters in an election. 

Adman Nursal in his book “Political Marketing: Strategies to win elections,” classifies the strategies that may be carried out by political parties or candidates to seek and grow support during the political campaign into three categories. First, the push marketing strategy or conveyance of political products directly to voters. 

Political products is crafted to garner support through stimulants in the form of a number of rational and emotional reasons to the political market to motivate voters to support the candidates. Political products are presented to the political market which includes mass media and influencer groups as the intermediary market, and the voters as the target market. 

Second, pass marketing, a strategy of using individuals or groups to influence voters’ opinion. The success or failure of mass mobilization will be largely determined by the selection of influencers. The right influencer will have a tremendous effect in influencing public opinion, belief and thought. 

Third, pull marketing, a strategy which focuses on building a positive political image. In order for political symbolism and images to have a significant impact, they must be able to evoke sentiment. Voters tend to choose political parties or contestants who are able to relate to what they feel. 

Meanwhile, in his book “Political Marketing: Between Understanding and Reality,” Firmanzah describes a number of paradigms from the perspective of political marketing. First, political marketing is more than just political communication. Second, political marketing is applied in the entire process, not only in political campaigns, but also how to formulate political products through the construction of symbols, images, platforms and programs offered. 

The third paradigm, according to Firmanzah, political marketing uses a broad marketing concept which includes marketing strategies, publication techniques, proposition of ideas and programs, product design, and information processing. Fourth, political marketing involves many disciplines, especially sociology and psychology. Fifth, political marketing can be applied from elections to political lobbying in parliament. 

One of the marketing tricks that is often used lately is a gimmick. Simply put, a gimmick is an effort to be able engineered to attract attention and increase public interest in general and certain marketing targets in particular. Why is this trick widely used? The reason is simple, gimmick is less costly in a bid to attract attention of potential targets.