The Spotty Awards for the Most Cringe-Worthy Campaign Ads

And the Spotty goes to...the ads, acts, and actors that made us weep-in utter irritation and shame.

As election season reaches its most-awaited climax on May 10, we take stock of the political ads that we all inadvertently watched. Instead of boring the public with a straightforward list of their accomplishments and a copy of their résumé, these candidates chose to dazzle the public with their "performances" and props (human or otherwise). hands out The Spotty Awards to the most cringe-worthy campaign ads of the election season.

Mar Roxas explores alternative transportation.

BEST TRANSPORTATION: Candidate for vice president Mar Roxas’ pedicab

Cringe moment: The sight of Roxas driving a pedicab makes it look like he’s trying too hard to be liked. Much like a rich boy who tells his houseboy, "Wow, I’ll pretend to be you just for today."

What the spin doctors didn’t think about: Former president Joseph "Erap" Estrada had his "Jeep ni Erap" gimmick. We all know that vehicle was forced to change its route. If it could happen to a jeep, then even more so to a puny pedicab.

How could they do this to the Star for All Seasons?

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Vilma Santos in hubby Ralph Recto’s ad

Cringe moment: This picture looks too perfect. Santos seems too much like a Stepford Wife here. And did you catch that look Ralph gave to stepson Lucky Manzano before they dramatized corruption via pan de sal? Does baby-of-the-family Ryan Christian know he was made to represent the clueless masses?

What the spin doctors didn’t think about: Lucky Manzano’s father, Edu, is running for vice president under a different party. How come he doesn’t have an ad campaigning for him, too? In any case, they should have stuck to the Vilma-Ralph tandem. Leave the offspring out of it.


Presidentiable Gilberto Teodoro gives Bruce Willis and Nicolas Cage a run for their money.

BEST ACTION MOVIE SEQUENCE: Gilberto Teodoro’s slow motion shot as he walks toward a plane, which he himself flies

Cringe moment: It looks like somebody was watching too many Jerry Bruckheimer-Michael Bay movies. Good thing there are no explosions in the background.

What the spin doctors didn’t think about: A man who’s born rich, still has most of his hair, has a hot-looking wife, and flies his own plane might inspire envy more than serving as an inspiration.

Didn’t PETA find this disturbing?

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BEST ANIMATION: The poor unfortunate crocodile in senatorial candidate Teofisto "TG" Guingona’s ad

Cringe moment: TG looks like he wants to kill someone. The hapless croc gets his knocked out by TG’s fist three times in sixteen seconds. It is painful to watch for both reasons.

What the spin doctors didn’t think about: The croc steals the show.

Yes, watching Queer Eye for the Straight Guy helps.

BEST MAKEOVER: Jose "Joey" De Venecia III, who shed his grimy look and cleaned up relatively well

Cringe moment: That bit about "mga pamilyang nagkawatak-watak dahil sa kahirapan" is so forced. It sounds more like an excerpt from a Maalaala Mo Kaya letter.

What the spin doctors didn’t think about: His goal is to give every family a PC and an internet connection. Great. What about the families who can’t afford to pay the electric bills? And what will they do when they’re hungry? Chew on the keyboard?


We have every right to be sad, thank you very much.

BEST TAGLINE: Juan Ponce "Manong Johnny" Enrile’s simple-and-inexplicably-scary, "Gusto ko happy ka!"

Cringe moment: Enrile highlights how he did us all a favor by guarding our cellphone load. Hurray.

What the spin doctors didn’t think about: Enrile as everyone’s favorite "manong" is a concept that’s very, very hard to swallow for those who experienced Martial Law under President Ferdinand Marcos’ rule. Our manong here, who served as Minister of National Defense, has been identified as one of Martial Law’s architects. (Thanks for guarding our cellphone load anyhow, Manong Johnny.)

You ladies win when it comes to projection.

BEST ACTRESS: Candidate for vice president Loren Legarda

Cringe moment: It feels like a detergent or sanitary napkin ad.

What the spin doctors didn’t think about: Alright. There’s no way they could have known that celebrity endorser Sarah Geronimo was photographed flashing the "L" sign years ago.

This is supposed to be pure genius.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Vic Sotto campaigning for brother Tito Sotto, who is running for senator

Cringe moment: Using a popular game segment from your long-running noontime show to convince the public to vote for you is truly the height of statesmanship.

What the spin doctors didn’t think about: The reference to Iskul Bukol is sad. The guy has already been a senator before. Yet, he’ll always be known as one of the Escalera brothers.


Yo, Noynoy! Wassup, y’all?

BEST RAP PERFORMANCE: Presidentiable Noynoy Aquino

Cringe moment: Aquino looks like he’s dying inside as he raps some motherhood statements. Sir, why the heck did you go along with this horribly desperate idea?

What the spin doctors didn’t think about: This ain’t cool, homeys.

Fly, Justice Man, fly!

BEST COSTUME: Senatorial candidate Silvestre "Bebot" Bello’s purple superhero suit

Cringe moment: Bello’s facial expression as he "flies" is more apt for a zombie. But, hey, maybe the justice versus "just tiis" pun will grow on us. Then again, maybe not.

What the spin doctors didn’t think about: Anyone who would consent to be filmed wearing a superhero suit that’s the same color as Barney cannot be taken seriously.

Nobody wants to be poor-not even the poor

BEST SOUNDTRACK: Presidentiable Manny Villar and his blood-curdling jingle

Cringe moment: Anyone who can dare claim that they can end poverty must be deluded-but if that claim is set to music then many others may join him in his delusion.

What the spin doctors didn’t think about: The song gets more and more change-the-channel annoying each time you hear it.

Dial Miriam if you want to murder someone with words.

BEST SCRIPT: Senatorial candidate Miriam Defensor Santiago

Cringe moment: The photo of Santiago perched on her desk (too chummy) and the sound of her killer spiels (too scary).

What the spin doctors didn’t think about: Shouldn’t they have humanized her in some way? She reminds us too much of Grendel’s mother here.


Denial is a wonderful thing.

BEST ACTOR: Presidentiable Joseph "Erap" Estrada

Cringe moment: When he lifts up a baby, we can almost hear anti-Erap pundits exclaim, "Good Lord! Don’t tell us that baby is his!" (No, it’s not.)

What the spin doctors didn’t think about: Isn’t there an easier way for a fool to part with his money?

BEST HORROR MOVIE SEQUENCE: Presidentiable Jamby Madrigal’s ad

Cringe moment: The people walking around in circles, the creepy music, and Jamby sneaking up to save the oppressed posse.

What the spin doctors didn’t think about: Despite the bright white light and Jamby’s almost-neon green jacket, this ad looks like a horror movie trailer.

BEST SWIMMING SEQUENCE: Candidate for senator Lito Osmeña

Cringe moment: This ad looks like one of those audiovisual presentations shown at the 1980s.

What the spin doctors didn’t think about: Osmeña swims well enough-but he doesn’t seem happy doing it. We hope he put on some sunblock for the swimming sequence.

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