Sunday, November 18, 2018


DUSTY FLEMING in a SUNSILK SHAMPOO with Conditioner Print Ad. 1984.

Dusty Fleming, 1970

In the mid 1980s,the name “Dusty Fleming” became a byword in the advertising circle, as this cool, hip-looking dude began appearing in SUNSILK SHAMPOO TV commercials, billed as a “Top International Film Hair Stylist”.  

Previous to this, nobody has heard of his name, much less seen his face, so it was an amusing sight to TV viewers to see  comb-wielding  Fleming  running after movie stars caught in hair-raising shooting situations, ready to untangle their hair problems.

SUNSILK was created way back in 1954, but it was inly in 1968 that it was introduced in the Philippines by Elida. En route to becoming the no. 1 hair care brand in the Philippines, a  2-in-1 shampoo with conditioner was launched in 1982. 

It took two years for  SUNSILK SHAMPOO plus Conditioner to be introduced in the Philippines, in an imported campaign that would lift the product to new heights. And the central character of the campaign was Dusty Fleming, a rock star look-alike who came into the consciousness of Filipinos as a hair expert  who promised a revolutionary brand that  “cleans and conditions…beautifully!”

At that time, Fleming was already a renowned hairstylist to the stars he regularly patronized his Beverly Hills salon on Cannon drive, His list of star clients included Janis Joplin, Diana Ross, Raquel Welch, James Woods, Jessica Lange, Ringo Starr, Jeff Bridges, Natalie Wood,  Sylvester Stallone, Jon Voight,  Nick Nolte Patty Hearst, and even Patty Hearst. As a Beverly Hills’ hairdressing royalty, he was the perfect choice to endorse SUNSILK SHAMPOO 2-in-1.

The U.S.-produced commercials were aired internationally, including the Philippines. Local print ads showed Fleming with American models, but with local bottles featured.  There were two SUNSILK variants available—for fine and limp hair, and for dry and coarse hair

WATCH SUNSILK'S "Dusty Fleming-Copter" TVC Here:

WATCH SUNSILK'S "Dusty Fleming-Truck Stunt" TVC Here:

Fleming started the “hair expert” campaign that would be reincarnated in 1992, this time starring hairstylist  Oribe, and 2010, with “Co-Creations” campaign, featuring 7 of the best hair care experts of the world. SUNSILK continues to be a flagship brand for Unilever Philippines (former PRC), and is actively advertised, As for  Fleming, he still styles hair at the renown Joseph Martin Salon in Beverly Hills, today. 
youtube videos of Sunsilk's Dusty Fleming Commercials:, uploaded by Mark H., 10 May 2010, uploaded by Mark H, 10 May 2010

Monday, November 12, 2018

190. Is That Who I Think They Are? RICHARD GOMEZ and GRETCHEN BARRETTO for BIC Ballpens, 1986

RISING STARS IN THEIR OWN WRITE: Richard Gomez (age 20) & Gretchen Barretto (age 16).

To a high school student growing up in the 1970s, BIC Ballpoint Pens were a must-have lust when shopping for school supplies. The ubiquitous BIC Cristal---created in 1950 by Société Bic of Clichy, France (founded by Marcel Bich with oartner Edouard Bouffard)—was brought to the U.S. in 1959. The ballpoint pens, with tiny metal sphere tip that allowed ink to flow freely helped shift the world market for from fountain pens to ballpens.

BIC Ballpoint Pens—in Orange and Cristal--were widely available in the Philippines by the late 60s and 70s though a local distributor.  They were the dominant brand until papermate of Gillette came along. BIC was promoted on TV and print ads, with focus on product features.

In 1986 however, BIC thought it needed the help of influential celebrities, so a local ad agency created these ads using the endorsement of the two rising showbiz personalities of the day.

RICHARD GOMEZ, (b. 7 Apr. 1966) a former McDonald’s fastfood attendant and the son of 60s sex bomb Stella Suarez, was the toast of tinseltown at the start of the 90s decade. His career was masterminded by Douglas Quijano who urged producer Lily Monteverde to include the 19 year old in her movie “Inday Bote” starring Maricel Soriano. GOMEZ became a megastar in no time at all—not just as a matinee idol, but also as a A-list celebrity endorser. He would star as a sculler in the iconic 1990 commercial of Bench, a signature role he is best remembered for.

But 4 years before Bench, GOMEZ was cast as a model-endorser in a ‘chismis-sy’ BIC print ad. He was already making heads turn for his bit roles in the movies and his potentials were being recognized. By 1990,  the handsome GOMEZ was lording it over the silver screen, starring in hit movies, winning major acting awards while squiring the likes of Dawn Zulueta,  Aiko Melendez,  Sharon Cuneta, and yes, GRETCHEN BARRETTO.

GRETCHEN BARRETTO (b. 6 Mar. 1970) was launched as one of the Regal Babies in the movie “14 Going Steady”, where she also sang the film’s theme song, a radio hit. Her stock rose when she started doing sexy movies produced by Seiko Films, (“Tukso, Layuna Mo Ako”, “Paminsan-minsan”, “Ama, Bakit Mo Ako Pinabayaan?”), erasing her teenybopper image.

But that didn’t seem to faze the advertiser, BIC, as the company employed her services to star in a second BIC ad. In the next years, BARRETTO would be involved in the 1994 Metro Manila Filmfest envelope-switching scam and also with Tony Boy Cojuangco, who would give her a child, Dominique.

Photo: R.Gomez (FB Page)/ G. Barretto (
Like BIC, the two celebrities have weathered their own personal storms, RICHARD GOMEZ would find a second career as an athlete, meet his wife Lucy Torres while filming a  commercial and dabble in politics. He is currently the mayor of Ormoc, and is seeking re-election in the 2019 election.

GRETCHEN BARRETTO occasionally appears on TV, and runs her own personal charities. She and her partner are still maintaining their relationship.

Meanwhile, BIC Ballpoint Pens  today are considered as the best-selling pens in the world, with over one billion sold. Since 1993, they are distributed in the Philippines by Filstar Distributors Corp.


Monday, November 5, 2018

189. The Jingle That You Love to Hate (But Keep on Singing, Anyway!): SUNNY ORANGE, 1984


SUNNY ORANGE juice drink concentrate was introduced in the early 1980s, and everything about it appeared wrong—it came in nondescript bottles that reminded one of chemical bottles in beauty salons. 

We don’t even know the manufacturer, as its early ads did not carry the maker’s name. Its paper label seemed like it was designed by an amateur artist, and the orange color of the juice drink was too bright orange-y to be real. But it was so cheap, and apparently tasted okay (“sweet na sweet”)—so for one brief shining moment in the 80s decade, SUNNY ORANGE had its time.

The product seemed to have enough resources for it to be plugged live in the shows of Master Showman German Moreno who featured unknown, but promising talents. But it was the jingle that ingrained SUNNY ORANGE into our national consciousness, inspite of and despite of its bad lyrics, bad singing, bad phrasing, and bad recording. 

The melody was so simple, even a child can pick it up and sing it in minutes. Then, there was the homespun quality to the way the jingle was sung, complete with the singer’s bad diction (she seemed to have overdubbed the harmony as well to save on cost).


SUNNY ORANGE DRINK is long gone, and only the jingle’s tune remains in the memories of Filipino TV viewers who grew up in the 80s, remembered in the same breadth as “YC Bikini Brief” and “Seiko Wallet”. To rephrase a famous line:  Good melody or bad melody---it still is publicity!

Sunny Orange – With Lyrics, uploaded by art carr, published Aug. 22, 2010.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

188. For Aches, Pains, Trancazo: CAFIASPIRINA, Print Ads 1936- 1962

CAFIASPIRINA INK BLOTTER, Premium/ Giveaway. 1950s.

Bayer, the drug company that would give the world it most popular pain medicine—aspirin—was founded by German Friedrich Bayer on 1 August 1868. 

From manufacturing chemicals, it engaged in producing pharmaceutical products, and in 1899, Bayer Aspirin was introduced and the medication proved to be a universal success for the relief of minor aches, pains and fever.

Between the two World Wars,  new aspirin brands and aspirin-based products flooded the market. Brands like Aspro (Australia), St. Joseph’s, Burton’s and Molloy’s  (U.S.) were marketed internationally. In Latin America, Bayer produced a pain and fever relief brand fancifully called CAFIASPIRINA, coined from the Spanish word for "caffeine" combined with  "aspirin" (acetylsalicylic acid) , its 2 main ingredients.


CAFIASPIRINA became a popular pain medication brand in Latin American countries, like Brazil, Argentina, Chile and even in Spain and Portugal  in the mid 1920s, where it was heavily advertised. By 1936, CAFIASPIRINA ads began making their appearances in Philippine magazines. It quickly established itself as a trusted fever and pain relief medication.

Cortal, introduced in the 1950s, proved to be a worthy rival of CAFIASPIRINA, and both engaged in marketing wars. To push CAFIASPIRINA, an illustrated cartoon figure of a Filipina nurse began appearing on its print ads, most of which were drawn as comic strips.
NURSE CAFI, brand mascot, 1951

CAFIASPIRINA Comic Strip Ad, 1955.

Thus, Nurse CAFI joined the league of comic characters like Kenkoy and Capt. Cortal as brand icons to sell products in the marketplace. The illustration of Nurse CAFI, finished in 1948 but used only in 1951 ads, shows her in a typical white uniform holding a giant CAFIASPIRINA tablet foil pack. She appeared not only in print ads but also on botica merchandising signs with the battlecry--"Stop Pain! Feel Fine Again!",


In the course of 10 years CAFIASPIRINA was advertised on the basis of quick action (“works faster than wonder drugs”), efficacy (“goes straight to the source of pain”) , safety (“does not affect the heart”), and formulation (“ 3 marvelous pain fighters”). The brand actively was promoted in point-of-sale, through botica merchandising materials, premiums and giveaways.
RARE, ENAMEL SIGN FOR A BOTICA, Merchandising giveaway. 1950s

Cortal, however, was perceived as a more modern medication, and would eventually wrest market leadership from CAFIASPIRINA. CAFIASPIRINA advertising began tapering off in 1962, in favor of Bayer Aspirin ads, and such new product launches as St. Joseph’s Aspirin, also by Bayer. By mid 1960s, Cortal had become the best-selling pain relief brand in the Philippines. 

CAFIASPIRINA, strip ad, 1962

Today, CAFIASPIRINA continues to be produced by Bayer and remains a strong, loyal following in Spanish-speaking countries.


Thursday, October 18, 2018


THE YUMBURGER LAUNCH AD, showing an early Jollibee mascot.1978

Jollibee was just three years old when it began advertising in 1978. From a small Magnolia Ice Cream parlor put up in 1975 in Cubao, the visionary Tony Tan Cak Tiong, turned his dessert shop into a fast food restaurant, and the rest is history.

By April of that year, Jollibee was operating 8 stores in Manila: 4 in Cubao, 2 in Quiapo and 1 each in Greenhills and the University Belt.  The core offerings were burgers, and the flagship product was the YUMBURGER.

Jollibee YUMBURGER was a basic burger consisting of two buns that sandwiches a 100% beef burger patty slathered with a special dressing. It was a no-fuss, no-frill burger that nevertheless, delighted its market that had a taste nor just for good food, but also value for money. Indeed, “the hamburger with a double yum” was just priced at Ph.2.95!

The YUMBURGER was introduced in colored print ads mostly in weekend and women’s magazines in the first quarter of 1978. The print ad, whose maker or origin is unknown, was noteworthy for a lot of reasons.

It marked the first appearance of the bee mascot as the presenter of the YUMBURGER. It looked more like an insect than the friendly, chubby Jollibee mascot that we know now (Jollibee consultant Manuel C. Lumba is credited with conceptualizing the vest-wearing bee with a chef hat. Likewise, revising the restaurant’s name to”Jollibee”).

The origin story of YUMBURGER was also romanticized to appeal to children—the ad claims that YUMBURGER was created in Yumburg, “a place between here and nowhere”, pople by fairy-tale like characters.  In any case, YUMBURGER offered “Pure beef. Pure pleasure.Pure goodness. No cereals”.

To underscore the importance of YUMBURGER to the nusiness, the early Jollibee stores were even branded “JOLLIBEE YUMBURGER”. As the world knows, Jollibee dealt McDonald’s, an American brand, a big blow, and today, continues to lord over the local market as the the country’s leading fastfood chain. It has grown exponentially, expanding with branches the world over—the U.S., Southeast Asia (HK, Taiwan)  Middle East, Canada, Italy in Europe. All because of the burger that started it all—the YUMBURGER!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

186. Top Male Model of the 1980s: LEO RABAGO

LEO RABAGO, Naturelle Print ad, 1987.

One of the most sought-after models of the 1980s was discovered in a most unusual way. Leoncel Rabago, a gangly youth in his early 20s, was out skating at the famous  Skatetown of  Ali Mall in Cubao, when a talent caster passed by and saw something special in the slim and agile looker.

Archie Corteza was then one of the leading talent casters of the Philippine advertising industry, and he knew a raw talent when he saw one. 

After all, he had been successful in discovering and launching the careers of so many commercial talents—from Camay girls,  Close-Up teen couples, Cinderella fashion models to San Miguel Beer babes and hunks. 

He handled the likes of young Eric Quizon, Lito Gruet, Lloyd Sammartino, Miguel Rodriguez, Cris Coburn, who all had their start in commercials.

Corteza took the young skater—an adopted child-- under his wing. He enrolled him in a gym, trained him in fashion camps, introduced him to couturiers for their runway shows, and helped  transform him into a new commercial modelling sensation—Leo Rabago.

He first started appearing in fashion print ads, as these were simple enough. By 1984, his schedule was full, bagging  plum assignments from Cinderella department store, Walker, and his biggest break yet—as a resident model for SM, the biggest department store chain in the country.

In 1986, Leo Rabago entered the first ever Bodyshots Modelling Competition, organized by the Fashion Designers’ Association of the Philippines (FDAP). 

This contest was the launching pad for the showbiz careers of such winners as John Estrada, Alain Sia, Richard Cepeda, and Zanjoe Marudo. Not surprisingly Rabago emerged as the top model of the Male Division, Professional Category. 

The victory clearly established him as the country’s leading male model, boosting his stock and career to an all-time high.

He continued to model in fashions shows, appeared in MTVs., but TV commercial assignments—which were more lucrative—eluded him; it seems he  could not go past beyond the high-fashion image that he projected. 

As a result, he was often seen as a dashing escort, a secret admirer, or as a boyfriend—but never the lead.

With limited projects as he turned 30, Rabago left modeling,  got a new talent  manager and  tried his hand in acting. He debuted in the Gabby Concepcion-Maricel Laxa headliner “Ayoko Na Sanang Magmahal” in 1993. His next appearance was in the award-winning film “Wating”, a support to Richard Gomez. 


He accepted whatever work was available, and even did sexy films with such titles as  “Hapdi ng Tag-init” (1997), “Alipin ng Aliw”, “Campus Scandal”, “Bawal”,  (1998) and “Alipin ng Tukso” (2000) and “Lakas ng Pag-ibig” (2001). There would be no more film and TV assignments beyond 2001.

LEO RABAGO, plays support to Suyen Chi in a LAGERLITE PRINT AD, 1986
Along the way, Rabago fathered several children;  most  were married and abroad. Misfortunes continued to hound him; in 2000, he was jailed for assaulting the live-in partner of his sister with a knife. In 2010, his adoptive mother, Froilanda Rabago, died of aneurysm, a profound loss that deeply depressed and affected him. Not long after, Rabago began developing what he thought was acute amoebiasis. It turned out it was colon cancer.


Friends from the modeling industry took care of him in his dying days. Leo Rabago, once the most in-demand model of the 1980s ,passed away in the charity ward of the Eulogio "Amang" Rodriguez Medical Center in Marikina City on 10 February 2011.

Former model actor Leo rabago dies of colon cancer:
FB Page "Remembering Archie Corteza" (1948-2015)

Thursday, October 4, 2018

185. Brand Stories: PARKER QUINK, 1931


Before the ballpens took over, fountain pens were standard writing instruments in the Philippines, used in schools, offices, and for signing important documents. Fountain pens were filled up with ink—and one dominant brand that would become a staple import from the 40s through the 60s was Parker QUINK.

The brand name QUINK is a coined term that combines “quick” and “ink”, and was first introduced in March 1931, by the Parker Pen Company. It was developed for the company by chemist  Galen Sayler of Miner Laboratories, in Chicago.

The general-purpose ink was an instant success, as it had superior ink flow, water-resistant, and true to its name, it was quick-drying. Its formula included an exclusive additive known as “Solv-X”, which eliminated clogging. QUINK was supported by massive advertising. And by the time it reached the Philippines in the 1950s, it had become a household name.

QUINK was imported from the U.S., and its Philippine representative, Carbonell & Co. Inc, marketed and distributed the product in the 1950s. Other distributor-manufacturers included Exclusive Distributors Corp .of Makati, and  H. G. Henares & Sons, Inc. in 1961. It was available in Blue, Black, Blue Black. Red, Green, and Turquoise Blue colors.


Did a Filipino Invent QUINK?
For many years, it was believed that a certain Francisco Quisumbing, a U.S-educated Filipino botanist, was instrumental in inventing QUINK, and that his name inspired the product brand name (QUIsumbing INK).  Parker records, however, showed that no such person worked with the company.

QUINK New Improved Formula PRINT AD, 1960

But there was indeed a Francisco A. Quisumbing, a 1914 U.P. chemical engineering graduate who also earned a Ph.D. from Columbia Univeristy in 1921.This Quisumbing founded Quisumbing Inc. Products which supplied Philippine government bureaus with ink.There is no concrete evidence nor reliable documentation  that he had something to do with  QUINK. When QUINK was later manufactured in the Philippines under license from Parker, all the bottled products were properly marked with the Parker name.

QUINK, 1965 AD.

The reign of the fountain pen ends.
Fountain pen use waned in the 60s, as ballpens became more convenient alternatives. Prized today for their collectible value and status, they are still being manufactured in by Parker, including reproductions of classic designs—like the Parker 51 which was thought to use only QUINK. After 87 years, QUINK continues to be produced today, an indelible part of the history of written communications the world over.

wikipedia: Quink Ink