Stanley Ho Hung-sun's entertainment empire is flexing its considerable economic muscle to help gain a political foothold in Macau. To boost the bid of Mr Ho's fourth wife, Angela Leong On-kei, to enter Macau's Legislative Assembly, voters have been bombarded with a ubiquitous marketing campaign over the past two weeks. And at the heart of it is the number nine - Ms Leong's election list - and her sunflower campaign symbol. Second on the list is Ambrose So Shu-fai, Mr Ho's right-hand man for decades, along with Daniel Fok Chi-chio, chairman of Mr Ho's casino staff club. Pots of sunflowers have been prominently displayed throughout properties belonging to Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau (STDM) and Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM). Sunflowers formed in the shape of a number nine have been placed on the steps of Mr Ho's Lisboa hotel. SJM casinos also featured a lucky draw offering $99,999 as the grand prize. A special interest rate of 3.6 per cent a year was offered for gaming employees and medical professions opening fixed deposit accounts at Seng Heng Bank, which is owned by STDM. Restaurants at Jai Alai Casino and Macau Tower offer a 10 per cent discount - in Cantonese, it is called a '90 per cent payment' - from September 9 to 29. Mr So denied the marketing campaign was co-ordinated by the candidates. Instead, he claimed that many STDM and SJM companies had taken the initiatives to support the candidacy of Ms Leong and her team. 'Many enterprises have come up with methods to help support our cause,' said Mr So, director of Seng Heng Bank. 'They are just marketing themselves. If they want to support us, there is nothing we can do.' None of the expenditure from this marketing campaign is counted into Ms Leong's election campaign expenses. The promotions neither directly ask people to vote for a certain candidate, nor mention the election. Under election rules, candidates can spend a maximum of 4.3 million patacas on a two-week campaign before the polling day. Whether seen as electioneering or as promotions timed to support the candidates, the sunflower marketing campaign is one of the most expensive and professionally organised campaign seen in Macau's Legco election history. Ivan Choy Chi-keung, of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said voters receive a subtle yet powerful message, even if the promotions do not mention the elections. 'The subtle message is clear if you read between the lines: number nine can offer you many benefits. Number nine is opulent and mighty,' said Mr Choy, who lived in Macau in the 1990s. 'Such is the case even before they get elected. So voters are led to believe that after they get elected, these benefits will continue.'