( Last edit 2009-03-14 )
Thaksin's Suicidal Marketing Politics
Thaksin Shinawatra, the billionaire telecoms tycoon who won election landslides in 2001 and even much better in 2005, has a personally close friend and a good advisor Somkid Jatusripitak, the best marketing professor in Thailand, (also joined the two Thaksin's cabinets). Thaksin is always conscious of how he would market himself, his companies and his products. He follows marketing tactics which conventionally constitute of four principles ie, Products, Position, Promotion and Prices. Moreover, he is good at openly as well as secretive campaigns to achieve his goals.
Positioning whatever his at the most advantageous points in the battles greedily and unethically, either to monopolize the resources, the opportunities, the channels of sales and advertisements, has been the key strategies for both business and his political battles.
Before seriously involved in politics, Thaksin (Shin Corporation) had won telecommunication concessions to become rich through the monopoly of the only single sattellite of Thailand. From that spring board of wealth, enabling his entry into the PM office, he extended his telecommunication business empire into Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, at the expenses of the Kingdom of Thailand such as unsecured interest-free loans to Myanmar and other undertable deals with the neighbour states.
Also, in his PM terms, he got control of the hearts and minds of the majority poor Thais with promotion tactics. He made himself and his parties popular by populist policies, free taxis, free medical charges, cheap houses, easy and cheap loans, but at the expenses of the nation's budgets and without the actual reform of the country's infrastructures.
Thaksin had been very well organized for the campaign before the general election in 2001. Through his Shin Corporation, Thaksin cheaply took over "ITV", a "once" credible public free television News station (supposed to stand for truths and democracy according to the reform after Black May Massacre of 1992). Thaksin also acquired strong connections and official controls to all sorts of other media, radios and entertainment media houses.
Radio channels and television programmes in Thailand are subjected to annual renewal of contracts and concessions from the state. For any public media to speak out the truths against Thaksin, are to sign their own dead wishes in the business. Channel 3 public TV's owner had one of the family member in the board of Thaksin's TRT party.Moreover, well-behaved media would easily get huge ads from Thaksin's business empire particularly AIS, the biggest telecommunication company.
A long history English Newspaper, "Bangkok Post" and her daughter Thai "Post Today" are undoubtedly Thaksin's alliances under their owner's personal ties and common interests. An eminent publicly listed Thai newspaper like "Matichon" was just struggling to esacpe from Thaksin's nominee acquisition, but eventually lost the battle as well as its life-long media ethics, just to stand on Thaksin's side.
Because bribery is also relatively cheap under Thaksin and Potjaman's huge secret budgets, press columnists, used-to-be aggressive political analysts and commentators on public TV like Sorayuth Suthasanajinda became unnaturally silent. To recruit "Thairath" and "Daily News" the two Thai giant commercial tabloid newspapers to write or not to write whatever in favour of Thaksin is evenmore feasible.
In his terms, Thaksin specially arranged his weekly one-hour program on every Sunday morning on a public national television and on nationwide radio. Opposition politicians were rarely, if ever, allowed to appear on televisions and radios. It was a coincidentally big loophole in the 1997 Constitutions to allow any strong government by majority to go loose without parliamentary checking measures such as parliamentary debate and vote of confidence of the PM.
On top of that, Thaksin always respect marketing surveys and continuous advertising campaigns. He does not only monitor the people's talk but also manipulate what they talk about, through teams which carried out secretive positive advertisments for him and negative advertisments against his opponents or even from time-to-time divert public's attention to other nonsense nonpolitical agenda when negative rumours of him leaked. Webboards are the usual propaganda billboards of Thaksin's teams.
After the September 19, 2006' s coup, Thaksin in exile, openly hired international advertising companies and lobbyists such as Baker Botts to present his messages and his positive images to the world. Currently, there are some major News media in the internet and some American international presses and Economic journals who are definitely partial and serve Thaksin while obviously and continuously attack PAD.
Lots and lots of personal Thaksin's English websites as well as Thaksin's supporting Thai websites have been set up to campaign against the junta. He got interviewed several times by major international media, including CNN and got on the front cover of the Times. While in Thailand, he hired his own lawyer, Noppadol Patama who later became a Foreign Minister in Thaksin's proxy goverment, his colleage judge, and some other TRT members to be his personal spokespersons. Those are open messages despite of his open declaration that he definitely gave up political struggles and would not involve himself with Thai politics after Constitution Judges ruled that TRT party had committed frauds in the past election and unconstitutionally acquired the state's power and Thaksin was sentenced to prohibition from politics for 5 years. However, so far, he has never given up putting hands on his proxy political party and puppet PMs as well as the restless monthly or even weekly telephoning to his followers in red gathering.
Thaksin secretly made VCDs of his personal speeches in local northeastern and northern dialects to be distributed by PPP's candidates, begging the voters in the north, northeast and to the whole country to vote for his proxy, People's Power Party (PPP) (following the dissolve of TRT) so that he would be able to return to Thailand.
Thaksin's secretly sponsored National United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), No Po Ko (later changed to No Po Cho) in Thai, or the red-dressed gangsters to undermine the country either by violent demonstrations, street rioting, press publications, web sites. UDD, former TRT members and the new proxy party of Thaksin (PPP People's Power Party) relentlessly accused the President of the Privy Council, General Prem Thinasulanond to be the mastermind of the coup, in order to indirectly accuse of the royal involvement and undermine the people's loyalty to the King.
On-sale politicians, on-sale scholars, on-sale left-wing NGOs or heart-broken ex-communist university lecturers both in Thailand and some residing in US have been employed by Thaksin to adversely campaign upon the coup leaders, the interim government, the King, the courts and later the PAD. Several of Thaksin supporters in Thailand have committed lese Majeste and got convicted.
In later administration of Samak, Samak together with a team led by bankrupt Weera Musikapong, (once jailed for lese majeste decades ago), Jatuporn Prompan, Nattawut Saikua, leaders of UDD (once jailed for street rioting in front of the President of the Privy Council's house) took over National Broadcasting of Thailand, national network of nationwide public radio and television, to get daily prime-time one-sided propaganda programme targetting against PAD.
The most important tactic of PAD led by Sondhi Limthongkul and all PAD's core leaders is using truthful straight forward plain facts and simple but challenging questions to Thaksin (and his puppets) publicly through the only available channel ASTV, a satellite cable TV network. Thaksin has never ever directly replied, no matter where, in the parliament or in the public whereas Samak slickily but shamelessly lied and eventually got caught several times.
After Samak was deposed by the Constitutional court because of a conflict of interests to the PM post, Somchai, brother-in-law of Thaksin, has taken over the cabinet but remain a puppet of Thaksin.
Thaksin's tactics to counter PAD as seen in webboards are smears such as follow:
Thaksin is already rich enough, and would not need to commit corruption.
He is already rich enough, and pays tax a lot more than all others accusing him add up.
He had been very rich before taking the office. All the allegations were of very long time ago and has nothing to do with the abuse of power in the his term.
Thaksin is subjected to envy. All the cases against Thaksin are controversial, politically motivated, not substantiated and not materialized.
He works too hard for Thailand, and forgets to please other powerful political forces, as a result, he is a subjected of envy and a scapegoat for all blames.
People who attack Thaksin have their own personal problems and conflicts or personal dislike of Thaksin.
Because of the Thaksin's raid on drugs traffickers and illegal (underground) lotto which are big underground business, all the mafias, therefore, support the attacks on him.
Thaksin's as well as Samak's and Somchai's governments are democratically elected. 19 million voted for Thaksin. They are here to protect the democracy. All else are non-democratic and support dictatorship, not respecting the majority of people's votes.
PAD's protestors are only a handful of minority dirty outlaw street-bound gangsters. Sondhi is a right-wing loyalist. Somsak is a union leader who opposes privatization. Chamlong wants his Buddhist religious sect, Santi-Asoke powerful.
The PAD's demonstration causes traffic jams, violates public's rights, negatively affect on the national images, on foreign investment and on the number of in-bound tourisms.
PAD is secretly paid by opposition party, or backed by the miliatary, or would back the millitary coup.
PAD supporters are under influence of mass hysteria, or a fashionable trend. PAD are hypernationalist militants or lunatics.
The Courts would not give a fair trials to Shinawatras because of political influences.
The counter-attack replies of Thaksin are never a direct answer to "WHAT" Thaksin has done. Instead, those replies are just nonsense lies and smears to undermine the creditability of the rebellious stand-up of the people who demand the rights to know and the check/balance mechanisms in democratic process. Moreover, whereas Thaksin complained of unfairness from the courts, he files numerous lawsuits against PAD core activists as well as any other media on the ground of defamation charges.
It is back to basic maketing principles that, the best of "Ps" for any businesses are the PRODUCT. If the product is not right, if the adverts are of lies, other marketing measures would be just quick suicidal ways. Nobody would like to be lied at twice.
The failed bribery of the Supreme Court by Thaksin's three lawyers who got caught red-handed and the following full-house fleeing of Shinawatra family to UK, jumping the bails, are the most sincere confessions from Thaksin to the world that Thaksin's family is guilty as charged. The perpetual attempts to amend the constitution to launder the accused family by PPP without sincerity to the people and the country, while they have the power in hand, confirm the charges.
PAD has proved their points through the 193-day-continuous outdoor protest, amidst all the tropical difficulties, the three tropical seasons which include the daily soaking rain, the burning heat and the bright sunlight, the mosquitoes, the chilling wind, the police brutality and the red gangster threats etc. Through fair trials, case by case, the courts have justly approved PAD accusations against Thaksin and his cronies.
Rather than ignorantly reporting only WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and HOW, world media and reporters should also report WHY WHY and WHY, as never before in the world, hundreds of thousands of people come out together for 193 days to insist on their rights for equality, their rights for justice to have guilty politicians tried in the courts of justice and eventually punished according to the guilts. (no matter how rich they are) and to have a decent government through a fair democracy.