Narratives in televised political ads: Toward alternative discourses and critical voters


Televised political ads are powerful instruments of campaign communication because they are dominant and ubiquitous repositories of narratives by candidates and their strategists. Using Walter Fisher’s narrative paradigm and Robert Rowland’s narrative approach, this study looks into the use of narratives in 127 political TV ads in the 2016 and 2019 national elections. The discussion is divided into two major sections. First, the study uncovers dominant, emerging, and missing narratives in the TV ads and reflects on what these narratives reveal about Philippine political culture. Second, through a critique of these existing narratives, this study raises the challenge of reimagining and creating ads that foster critical public discourse. To this end, the paper recommends alternative topics, subjects, and strategies to improve TV ads in the future while recognizing the medium’s constraints such as length and costs.