Sunday, July 16, 2017

119. Karapatdapat sa Paghanga: ROBIN HOOD POMADE, Print Ad, 1953


In the 50s, young Pinoy lads dabbed their hair with "brilliantine" pomade to create the pompadour look that was the rage of the era. Popularized by James Dean and Elvis, the iconic men's hairdo was completed with cowlick that was forced to curl in front of one's forehead with more dabs of pomade. Early brands included imported ones like Vitalis, Yardley and Brylcreem, but cheaper, local brands dominated the market from the late 40s-60s, like "Palikero", "X-7", "Verbena", "Le Conte" . One post-war brand, "ROBIN HOOD MEDICATED SOLID BRILLIANTINE POMADE" (in both cream and liquid brilliantine forms) attained a measure of popularity with young Pinoy lads of the era.

Created by Beauty Chemical Lab which had a plant along Benavidez St., Binondo in Manila, ROBIN HOOD caught on with the young crowd, favoring its extra-heavy brilliantine effect on hair.

The brand icon shows the bemoustached hero-outlaw who robbed the rich to help the poor---ROBIN HOOD--all in his red tights glory. Curiously, the package graphics show him wielding a sword instead of the bow and arrow that identifies him as an archer, first and foremost.

ROBIN HOOD Pomade was promoted nationally and advertising tin signs like this example were nailed in front of neighborhood stores to attract consumer attention. There were comics-like print ad versions written in deep, poetic Pilipino.

ROBIN HOOD, print ad 1953

Pomades went out of style in the 90s, with hair gels and clay taking their place. But in the distant 50s, there was nothing like ROBIN HOOD to groom you and bring out the the handsome rogue in you. Finally, as its advertising blurb proclaims---gleaming, shining, brilliant hair can now be "thrillingly yours!".

POSTSCRIPT: Sometime in 2012, a cache of vintage ROBIN HOOD pomade stocks as well as point-of-sale materials, mostly tin signs,  were discovered in a Binondo store. These were immediately snapped up by Filipino pickers and collectors.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

118. KENNY ROGERS ROASTERS: “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Goodness” Campaign, 1998

“Don’t forget the muffins!”
Who can forget that line delivered in a tiny, squeaky voice by a hunky male talent at the end of a 1997 KENNY ROGERS ROASTERS commercial? The dissonance in the character and his voice proved to be so memorable that the KENNY ROGERS commercial was soon being spoofed on TB gag shows,  even as a horde of customers began flocking the newest chicken restaurant in town.

Source; wikimediacommons,
The concept of a chicken restaurant was not new back in the country back in the mid 1990s. KFC, the former Kentucky Fried Chicken, was already a dominant fastfood chain serving various chicken products. Enter KENNY ROGERS ROASTERS . Established in 1991 by country musician—and foodie-- Kenny Rogers, in partnership with John Y. Brown, and Kenny Rogers, it first opened its first branch in Coral Springs, Florida.

Just a mere four years later, Roasters Philippines Inc. brought the KENNY ROGERS ROASTERS to Manila. Roasters Phils., was founded by the enterprising Bernardine Sy, whose family was also behind successful consumer brands like Jag Jeans, Lee Jeans, Marie France. She expanded their business portfolio to include food—hence she ventured into franchising, acquired KENNY ROGERS and opened the first outlet at Alabang Town Center on 28 March 1995 to great acclaim.

Two years after, its first drive-thru restaurant opened in Lipa. Filipino customers took to enjoying roasted chicken (as opposed to fired) that they heartily ate along with side dishes, salads, pastas---and of course, the best-selling muffins.  

When it came to pushing KENNY ROGERS ROASTERS with advertising, the brand’s imported image came into play—and the first print ads showed slick product shots straight from an American magazine. If there was a barrier that needed to be broken, it was the high class image that the brand projected that needed fixing. After all, such an “uppity” image can be alienating.

By 1997, powerhouse agency Jimenez DMB&B was getting ready for the impending loss of KFC which it had been handling for over 2 years, due to managerial changes in the company. At that time, Jimenez DMB&B had been handling another Sy business—JAG Jeans—which was performing very well in the fashion market, thanks to the agency’s award-winning campaigns. The agency had long wanted the KENNY ROGERS account, but contractual obligations forbade it to handle conflicting accounts. KFC’s loss paved the way for the eventual addition of KENNY ROGERS to Jimenez DMB&B’s client list.


The first KENNY ROGERS ("Pila" TVC 30s) commercial produced by the agency addressed the image problem of the store by coming up with the “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Goodness” campaign. To show how accessible KENNY ROGERS is, the creative team headed by Raoul Panes and Poch Guevara came up with the idea of having “unseen people watchers”, observing the comings-and-goings inside a friendly KENNY ROGERS restaurant. Through this  peepshow approach, we see how the KENNY ROGERS crowd actually come from all walks of life, ordinary people like you and me—but with extraordinary taste for all that is good, that gives value for their money and that prices great eating experience.


Much of the charm of the commercial, directed by ace Vitt Romero,  relies on the lively, chatty voice-overs of the unseen voyeurs. They were, in fact, provided by the agency creative themselves, led by the Creative Director Raoul Panes, and Jim Battad, an art director. The one voice that stood out for was that of the good-looking hunk at the end, high-pitched and squeaky. It was voiced by Lilit Trinidad, also a creative writer of Jimenez DMB&B.

The new commercials were very well-received and Jimenez DMB&B would go on to produce a follow-up "Ganado" commercial using the same format. It would also keep KENNY ROGERS ROASTERS longer than KFC, which to this day, continues to offer its signature roasted dishes, cooked  on cooked together with the freshest ingredients in all their over 50 Kenny’s stores all over the Philippines.

ART DIRECTOR: Poch Guevara
PRODUCER: Paul Suarez
VOICE-OVERS: Lilit Trinidad, Jim Battad, Raoul Panes
DIRECTOR: Vittorio Romero


Sunday, July 2, 2017

117. Brand Icon: KFC’s “THE COLONEL” in Manila, ca. 1997.

COL. HARLAND SANDERS, Signed promotional photo. 1997

The Philippines welcome KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN in 1967, with many franchisees running their own stores. But the restaurant as we know it today came to be only on June 1994, when Manuel U. Agustines was awarded the sole franchise over the sale and distribution of Kentucky Fried Chicken products in the country. By then, its name had been shortened to just its initials—KFC!

The founder of KFC was the legendary Col. Harland Sanders (b. 9 Sep. 1890/16 Dec.1980). The portly, white haired, cane-wielding Colonel, dapper in his all-white suit and black string tie and bespectacled face, became such an icon that many people believed him to be a fictional character.

In reality, he was a real person from Indiana, who, in 1930 parlayed his love for cooking into a modest business, opening his restaurant—Sander’s—for travelers. 

Favorite on his menu was his fried chicken, cooked from his own secret recipe. That fried chicken would take his business to greater heights when he set up his own franchising business , which he called Kentucky Fried Chicken. The rest is history.
KFC LOGOS,. Source:
During his lifetime the likeness of the Colonel was a major promotional asset. In 1976, a survey ranked the Colonel as the world’s second most recognized celebrity. When he died in 1980, fictionalized Colonel Sanders have repeatedly appeared as a mascot in KFC's advertising and branding.


This 1994 U.S. commercial features the American actor Henderson Forsythe as Col. Sanders.  

Surprisingly, KFC advertising in the Philippines during the 1990s, did not capitalize on the Col. Sanders character, but instead, focused on product features, using the trademark slogan "Finger-Lickin' Good".. In the late 1990s, “Col. Sanders” finally did visit Manila as part of the company’s promotional stunt and went on store trips, signing and giving away his photos and autographs.

Source: KFC PH youtube channel

It was only in May 2017 the search for the first KFC Filipino Colonel was launched, a move that would have made Col. Sanders proud. The finalists were all actors—Ronaldo Valdez, Leo Valdez and Pen Medina—and their audition videos created quite a buzz. The eventual honor of becoming the first Filipino Colonel went to Ronaldo Valdez. 

Source: KFC PH, youtube channel

Col. Harlan Sanders Autographed Photo: Alex Castro Collection
All others, pls. refer to cited online sources below pictures.
Uploaded by HamptonRoadsTVFan, 2 Nov. 2010, 1994 KFC Commercial (Chicken -- The Colonel's Way).wmv

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

116. Is That Who I Think She Is? PILITA CORRALES for EMBASSY CIGARETTES, 1956

Sometime in the 1950s, an imported cigarette brand was launched in the Philippine market---EMBASSY CIGARETTES. EMBASSY Extra, which came in soft packs of 20 sticks, were made available through W.D. & H.O. Wills,  a British tobacco importer and cigarette manufacturer in Bristol, England. It was one of the founding companies of Imperial Tobacco. EMBASSY Filter was introduced in 1962 and, by the late 1960s, was the most popular brand of cigarette in the UK, taking 24% of the market in 1968.

EMBASSY CIGARETTES was promoted through radio program sponsorships—in a stragety that was utilized by most major consumer brands in the 50s. It sponsored DZBB radio musical shows—one of which starred a young, up-and-coming Cebuana mestiza singer, 17 year-old Pilar “Pilita” Garrido Corrales.  Fresh from a finishing school in Spain, Pilita sang her way to audience’s hearts with her repertoire of  romantic Spanish songs and native ditties. Pilita became the signature model for EMBASSY CIGARETTES, and the small ads even featured her singing schedule n DZBB.

In 3 years, Pilita would move to Australia, sailing in 1959 with with actor-magician John Calvert for some engagements. En route, they were shipwrecked off Australia’s northern coast and rescued by the Navy. The duo went on to perform in Sydney, Darwin and Melbourne. Pilita was an instant hit, and was featured on the popular TV shows. Pilita was signed up by Astor Records and  became the first female recording star in Australia to score a hit on the pop charts with the song. ‘Come Closer To Me’—long before Olivia Newton-John and Kylie Minogue.Considered as one of the ‘Great Dames of Victorian Radio and Television’, Pilita was honored by having a street named after her in the 70s. in the Forest Hill district of Victoria.

 In 1963, she returned to the Philippines to establish her career in her own country,l where she gained further fame. Her signature song A Million Thanks to You by Alice Doria-Gamilla was translated in seven languages.  Her recorded songs with George Canseco became classics; foremost among these is “Kapantay ay Langit”, which Pilita turned into a hit.  In 1972, she was named Best Performer at the 1st Tokyo Music Festival (1972), singing Canseco’s “My Daughter”. She bested international artists including the highly regarded Olivia Newton-John. Pilita was also the first Filipino to sing in Caesars Palace.

Indeed, her enduring fame and popularity outlasted the cigarettes that she first endorsed in 1956. In fact, almost 50 years after, in 2007, Pilita was chosen to become ANLENE’s Bone Health ambassador  in a TV commercial that featured her with her trademark back-bending singing pose. ANLENE is a calcium- and vitamin-rich milk specifically formulated to build stronger bones


Saturday, June 24, 2017

115. History in Ads: IDEAL THEATER, Movie Ads, 1929

RAMON NAVARRO in THE FLYING FLEET. 1929. Print ad, Graphic Magazine

The advent of the moving picture during the first decade of 20th century Philippines, relegated the old performance arts like zarzuela and the moro-moro to the background. In time, movie houses began sprouting in Manila—and IDEAL THEATER—built in the last quarter of 1910, initially made of wood,  would be hosting the best of Hollywood movies.

Source: Beyond Forgetting,
IDEAL THEATER was founded by five Manila families—the Roceses, Tuazons, Teoticos, Guidotes and Basas. It originally had a seating capacity of 400 people, with tickets at 20 centavos for the orchestra, and 40 centavos for balcony.

The theater could be accessed thru Plaza Goiti and along Dulung Bayan St. Its permanent address would become Rizal Avenue after buildings between Dulung Bayan and Salcedo streets were demolished to give way to the new landmark Avenida.

IDEAL THEATER became a byword in city entertainment ever since its first film offering, “The Exodus”, a French production from Gaumont Film Co. After Italian movies, American-made films of Fox, Universal and Famous Players proved to be blockbuster hits among moviegoers.

This led to the expansion and renovation of IDEAL THEATER in the early 1920s, that saw its stature rise as the theater that exclusively showed first-rate Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) films. It would be renovated in 1933 again, under the helm of Architect Pablo Antonio (now National Artist), who gave it a distinct Art Deco look.

THE VIKING, an MGM epic filmed in color. Print Ad, Graphic Magazine. 1929

It was again refurbished in 1955; its screen and stage were widened, and its seating capacity expanded from 1,000 to 5,000. At its prime, the fabulous IDEAL THEATER stood as one of the finest moviehouses in the country, providing its patrons with maximum viewing enjoyment owing to its modern amenities, ambience and elegant features such as its spectacular lobby.


 Sadly, IDEAL THEATER was closed in the 1970s, and further fell  into disarray in the 1980s with the construction of  the LRT (Light Railway Transit) along Avenida. Shortly after, IDEAL THEATER,  was demolished,  its hallowed place taken over by a shopping center.

THE TRAIL OF '98. 1929. Print Ad. Graphic Magazine.

These 1929 movie film ads sponsored by IDEAL THEATER are a testament to its reputation as the crown jewel of movie entertainment in “the most beautiful city in the Far East”.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

114. Creative Guild TV Ad of the Month, August 1989: GOLD EAGLE BEER, “Pagbabalik”


One of the strong contenders for the Creative Guild TV Ad of the Year for 1989 was a commercial for GOLD EAGLE BEER, entitled “Pagbabalik”, produced by PAC-BBDO (Philippine Advertising Counsellors) for San Miguel. GOLD EAGLE BEER has been making headway since it was it was introduced in the early 1980s as a flanker brand. McCann-Erickson had originally handled its launch with its “Let the Gold Eagle Fly” campaign, showing a man releasing an eagle in the air.

When the brand moved to PAC-BBDO, the agency created a successful campaign—“Para sa Iyo, Pare Ko”,  starring the rowdy “Bad Bananas” gang (Christopher de Leon, Edgar Mortiz and the late Jay Ilagan) in 1988.

The next year, folk icon Freddie Aguilar was tapped to appear in a new ad that still carried the theme, but with a more subdued, nostalgic mood and tone. The San Miguel connection with San Miguel was also strengthened with a message overlay, “May pangalan ‘to, pare ko” (This beer’s got a name, friend).


The GOLD EAGLE BEER “Pagbabalik” TVC follows the homecoming of Freddie Aguilar in his old town, after making a name for himself---where he is warmly received by long-time friends, neighbors, town mates and his barkada. The jingle, sung by the folksinger, talks about going back to one's roots, and the importance of keeping one’s name—which is an implicit reference to San Miguel, the name behind GOLD EAGLE. Two versions were made—one, a mostly instrumental version (“Freddie”), and the other, utilizing the full jingle (“Pagbabalik”)


The commercial was well-received for its cinematography that captured the rustic,, provincial feel of an old town, and for the jingle that could very well have been the theme song of a balikbayan or an overseas Filipino worker. When the Creative Guild of the Philippines convened to vote for the best ads of 1989, GOLD EAGLE BEER’s “Pagbabalik” was selected as the best TVC for August. It also was a nominee for Best Direction (Vitt Romero), Best Cinematography (Rody Lacap, Jun Kraft, Fred Manansala), Best Jingle (Charo Unite, for both versions), Best Production Design (Joey Luna, Aped Santos, Gino Marasigan).

AGENCY: Philippine Advertising Counsellors-BBDO
ART DIRECTOR: Pit Santiago
PRODUCER: Vivian Abalos
SINGER: Freddie Aguilar
PRODUCTION HOUSE: Provil, Unitel ('Freddie' version)
DIRECTOR: Vittorio Romero
CINEMATOGRAPHERS: Rody Lacap, Jun Kraft, Fred Manansala


1990 Creative Guild Ad of the Year Program
youtube:, uploaded by Filmmaker Vitt Romero, published on May 11, 2014
youtube:, uploaded by Filmmaker Vitt Romero, published  May 13, 2014

Monday, June 12, 2017

113. The Modern Fast-Frozen Ice Cream: PRESTO ICE CREAM ADS, 1978-1979

PRESTO ICE CREAM. Flavorite for July, Print Ad, 1979
In the 1970s, Magnolia Dairy Products pretty much lorded it over the Philippine ice cream market, but there were a few more players that dared challenge the leader. Some of these included the 60s brand Silver Bell, the scoop ice cream station Coney Island, and Selecta Ice Cream which was sold in limited quantities in supermarkets.

Then, in 1975, Consolidated Food Corporation owned by the taipan John Gokongwei, ventured into ice cream production and introduced PRESTO ICE CREAM, which, to Magnolia, loomed as a serious contender to deal with. After all, Gokongwei  had a history of aggressively marketing its products that found favor in the Philippine marketplace.

Beginning in 1954, when he put up Universal Robina Corporation which launched snack items like Jack ‘n Jill, candies like Nips, Maxx, Dynamite, and noodles, like Nissin’s. Gokongwei wanted to diversify like what multinational companies were doing, and so in 1961, he put up  Consolidated Food Corporation which produced two initial successes—Blend 45 and Great Taste Coffee,  brands that at one point soundly beat Café Puro and Nescafe,

CFC had used the brand name PRESTO earlier, in the late1960s, for its chocolate snacks. Now it wanted to capitalize on that already-familiar name by calling its newest ice cream product--PRESTO ICE CREAM. It  was directly aimed at Magnolia, but with a twist—it was significantly cheaper than the ice cream leader. “Anything you’ve always wanted in an ice cream, for less!”, the colored print ads bannered.
What more could you want in an ice cream? Dec. 1979
To Magnolia’s well-entrenched “Flavor of The Month”, PRESTO responded with “Presto Flavorites for the Month”, and during special times like the Christmas holidays,  not one, but two “flavorites” were launched. 

PRESTO, too, had counterpart products for Magnolia’s Frozen Delights—a line of ice cream novelties.  PRESTO Funwich—two chocolate cookies with ice cream in between-- attained popularity in the late 1970s, and so did PRESTO Tivoli Ice Cream Choco Bars, Funsticks, Heaven in a Bar and Calypso Cream Bars.
Made with the modern 'Fast-Freeze' Process, 1979

PRESTO ICE CREAM touted its modern “Fast-Freeze” process of manufacturing ice cream. Fast-frozen ice cream means ice cream at the peak-of-freshness.  At its height, PRESTO even lent its name to the Gokongwei-owned basketball team, that played in PBA from the 70s thru the 90s –the PRESTO Ice Cream Makers.

Despite the initial hoopla and the millions spent in pushing the brand, PRESTO could not make significant inroads into Magnolia’s turf. Magnolia countered with the price brand Sorbetes, but even then, by the late 1980s, the rising cost of materials started to affect the local ice cream industry. CFC stopped its PRESTO Ice Cream production altogether by the mid 1990s, as the ice cream landscape changed when RFM bought the Selecta brand and turned it into a market leader, overtaking Magnolia by 1997, this, despite a joint venture by Nestle. 

Today, PRESTO  still exists in the URC porfolio—but only as a cream cookie brand, under the “Jack and Jill” line. With its demise, PRESTO  Ice Cream joins other discontinued Gokongwei product ventures like Yahoo Juice Drinks, Robina Chickens and Mark Electronics.
Universal Robina Corp. website: