Wednesday, September 20, 2017

128. 1984 Creative Guild’s Radio Ad of the Year: GILLETTE’s RUBIE BLADE, “Harana” RC 30s.

The Creative Guild’s very frst radio ad of the year drew inspiration from the popular slice-of-life format, but further injected situations with a delightful brand of anticlimactic Pinoy humor.

As Bill Ibañez, then associate creative director of McCann-Erickson, now creative director at Great Wall Avertising and father of the RUBIE “Harana” 30-seconder ad, likes to say “Humor is my specialty. And Filipinos love it when a situation has a humorous twist.”

Source: flickr, Arne Kuilman
The client was Gillette Philippines, a 15-odd-year associate of McCann-Erickson, and the product was RUBIE Blade. When Ibañez took over the account, a popular campaign and a TV campaign starring the late comedian Vic Pacia were already airing. Client wanted to employ radio to encourage the men in downscale rural market to please shave.

“A lot of men out there were still using primitive implements to get rid of their bristles.” Ibañez explains. Such grooming innovations included two coins used as a makeshift tweezers or even splinters of wood. That is, if the gentleman ever bothered with his bristles at all.

Ibañez decided to utilize the popular jingle , which made a simple but very attractive promise, If you shaved with RUBIE, you would look good. “Ahit RUBIE, Ahit Pogi”—the eqution of the brand name with a Filipino slang for “handsome” was only of the cmpaign’s winning elements. Ibañez went a step further by pushing the satisfied user over the deep end; the hero becomes so handsome that, by the end of the commercial, he has a new problem altogether, “He becomes too good-looking for his own good.”

In “Harana”, only one of the several presentations of the delicious RUBIE dilemma, a fellow with the unsavory name of Tiagong Tuchang pays court to Kathleen, whose mother immediately puts the light out on the suitor because of his unshaven state. Calling him “tuchang” , a terribly coarse kind of bristle, is bad enough. “Yung hindi nag-aahit! Yung mukhang piña!”, the mother exclaims, and the listener goes to town figuring out how unbelievably fuzzy Tiago really looks.

RUBIE is presented as a resolution, and the playing of the jingle signifies that the hero has taken matters an razor into his own hands. He returns to Kathleen, who is so taken by the serenade (and the newly-trimmed serenade) that she asks for an encore. The crow of  rooster and a young man’s moan, “Josko, umaga na!” is the final twist and the hilarious revelation of just how many encores the now desirable Tiago was obliged to give.

Listeners began to await the next RUBIE Blade radio commercial like radio drama or comic installments, “The listener knew it was an exaggeration, because there was no attempt to present the situation as logical,” Ibañez recalls. Thus, they laughed heartily at the final turn of events, which, in subsequent versions, always had the hero ending up with more than he bargained for—as in a shotgun wedding, pehaps, or having more than one barrio lass demanding his attention.

From the distinguishing sound effects that set the ads apart from auditory clutter—a series of urgent knocks, or, in the case of “Harana”, the strum of a guitar---to the familiar characters and easily recognizable values, the RUBIE ads hit the Pinoy at his very heart. “They were indigenous and romantic,” Ibañez says. “The strength of the campaign was in fact that people recognized themselves in it.”

Enough to keep RUBIE Blade in the market for years to come.

ADVERTISER: Gillette Philippines
PRODUCT: Rubie Blades
AGENCY: McCann-Erickson
PRODUCER: Baby Enriquez

Article written by the late Butch Uy, forPerfect 10: A Decade of Creativity in Philippine Advertising, written by Butch Uy.Published by the Executive Committee of the Creative Guild of the Philippines. 1995, p. 66-67

Sunday, September 10, 2017

127. Brand Names That Became Everyday Pinoy Words #4: CUTEX

CUTEX AD, Detail from a ca. 1960 ad.

In the nail-painting craze of the 60s, the word CUTEX became a generic term for nail polish products. It became such a dominant name in the Philippine nail care market that all nail polishes were called “CUTEX”.  When someone asked, “What’s your Cutex brand?”, he or she  actually meant—“what is your nail polish brand?”.

The beginnings of CUTEX could be traced back to 1911 when the Northam Warren Co, of Connecticut developed its first ever nail care prouct-- a cuticle remover. 

Three years later, it created the first nail tints to color fingernails. Using pigments developed from automobile paints, the product evolved into the CUTEX Liquid Nail Polish. Prior to this, ladies prettified their nails using paste or powder tints. Other nail polish manufacturers would follow suit, and by 1925  virtually all nail polishes came in liquid forms.
CUTEX AD, ca. 1960
A major breakthrough happened in 1928 when CUTEX launched a nail polish remover with acetone as base ingredient. The product proved to be such a hit, so it was sold alongside CUTEX nail polishes.

CUTEX products became available in the Philippines in the 1930s, a decade that saw the introduction of new innovations—the gentler, nail conditioning “CUTEX Oily Polish Remover” , and a more opaque, glossier nail polish cream (1934). CUTEX Polish Foundation- the first nail treatment product that resulted in chip-free nails with longer-lasting finish—was introduced in 1938.
CUTEX MANICURE SET, pPrint Ad, Graphic magazine, 1936.

It is no wonder that CUTEX became the world’s best-selling nail care brand for many decades. The brand was highly advertised in beauty- conscious Philippines, and print ads regularly came out from the 1930s thru the 1980s. Its heyday was in the 1960s when the company was bought by Chesebrough Pond’s.
The CUTEX dominance was seriously threatened by a Japanese brand—Caronia, which invested heavily on TV advertising and made gains in the 1970s-80s. Eventually, CUTEX gave way to younger, newer brands. It remained available on store shelves, however, although it was not marketed as aggressively as Caronia and other fast-rising nail care brands, which led to its being viewed as a somewhat passé , with an old image.

It was only in 2010 that CUTEX marketing was restored and intensified once more,  mostly through digital and online platforms. This was after the product was acquired by Arch Equity Partners, in September 2010. 

Despite several transfers of ownerships and the changing landscape of the beauty business, CUTEX Nail Polishes continue to be an indispensable partner of today’s generation of Filipinas who want to nail their look right—from their fingers to their toes!!

Friday, September 1, 2017

126. RC COLA: “The One with the Mad, Mad Taste!” TVC (1968)

ROYAL CROWN COLA or RC COLA, 1950s-70s bottles. Personal Collection.

Not very many know that the American soda brand,  RC COLA, was introduced in the Philippines by Cosmos Bottling Corporation, producer of such popular drinks as Cosmos Sarsaparilla (Sarsi), Cheers, Pop Cola, Sunta. RC COLA is actually a century-old brand, known originally as Royal Crown Cola, created by pharmacist Claud A. Hatcher of Georgia  in 1905. The flavor, as we know it, was reformulated by chemist Rufus Kamm in 1934.

By the 1950s, Royal Crown Cola was an established company, the first to sell soft drinks in a can, and later the first company to sell a soft drink in an aluminum can. It was advertised and marketed internationally with an updated brand name,  RC COLA, and found its way to the Philippines sometime in 1968.

The U.S. –made TV commercial made its appearance on local TV in the late 60s, bannering the line “RC COLA..the one with the mad, mad taste! RC!”.  Chanteuse Nancy Sinatra starred in 2 versions of RC COLA commercials, first aired in her TV special ‘Movin’ with Nancy’ in late 1967.  This is the version that hit the Philippine airwaves that showed Sinatra flitting from one column to another as she sang the upbeat jingle:

WATCH THE RC COLA "Nancy Sinatra", 1968

In 1996, Cosmos Bottling sold RC COLA to San Miguel Corp.  In 2001, when SMC acquired Cosmos, it sold its brands to Coca-Cola Bottlers Phils. Inc, but ended its license to produce RC COLA (along with Sunkist and Jolt Cola).
Former Cosmos executives who believe in the brand, partnered with Zest-O  to form Asiawide Refreshments Corp., which reintroduced RC COLA, under license  from RC Cola U.S.A. With 9 bottling plants,  80%-plus distribution level and a market share of RC COLA is the country’s third best-selling brand today.


ARC Refreshments Corp. :
RC Cola bottles and cans photo:

Saturday, August 26, 2017

125. Casting Coup: POND’S ELITE PRINT AD MODELS (1957-1961)

POND’S, the skincare cream that has been beautifying and protecting women’s complexions in an ever-changing world for over 150 years now was the creation of American pharmacist, Theron Pond. In 1846, he developed the Pond’s Extract, with a unique tea extract from witch hazel that helped restore skin damage below the surface.

POND’S became the world’s first skincare brand during a critical time in the 1940s , when women assumed more  jobs as the men went to war.  

Breakthrough products introduced during this period include POND’S Cold Cream, the world’s first moisturizer not to require refrigeration, and POND’Ss Vanishing Cream, which made women’s skin soft, supple and dewy.

POND’S Company was merged in 1955 with the Chesebrough Manufacturing Co., which already had an extensive line-up of facial care products. 

POND’S Cold Cream and Vanishing Cream were introduced to the Philippine market, to great reception. The imported products were sought after by Filipinas who wanted to try the product “used by world’s loveliest women”.

In an effort to support this aspirational need, POND’S employed the most elite women in high society to appear in its print as—a list that included a former First Lady, a senator’s wife and daughter, a future female senator, a statesman’s daughter and many more. 

It was a casting coup that made waves in the marketing circle at that time, and these vintage print ads show why POND’S advertising was way ahead of its time:

Model: CHONA RECTO KASTEN, Fashion Icon, Daughter of Sen. Claro M. Recto
Maria Priscilla “Chona” Recto Kasten (b. 5 Feb. 1922)  is the youngest daughter of eminent statesman, jurist , poet and nationalist Claro Mayo Recto. Chona became a fashion icon and a sought-after model for her beauty and breeding. She was first married to Johnny Ysmael  with whom she had 4 children, Johnny Jr., Techie, Ramoncito and Louie. Johnny Sr. passed away in 1952, and Chona remarried soon after to American businessman, Hans Kasten, with whom he had a son Hansi.  Chona died in April 4, 1987.

Model: CHUCHAY TUASON, Miss Philippines 1958
Carmen Remedios Tuason was a young debutante when she was crowned Miss Philippines 1958. She failed to go that year’s Miss Universe contest due to her parents’ disapproval. Instead, she attended  the 1958 Brussel’s World’s Fair. A champion bridge player, Tuason has represented the country in many international bridge competitions. Maried to Luciano La Guardia with whom she has a son, Antonguillo.

Model: EVA ESTRADA-KALAW, Stateswoman, 2-Term Senator of the Philippines
Evangelina Estrada Kalaw (b. June 16, 1920) of Murcia,  Tarlac, was a UP Education graduate who had dabbled in theater arts as a student. She  first entered politics in 1953 when she campaigned for Nacionalista presidential candidate  Ramon Magsaysay, who won against incumbent president Elpidio Quirino.  She was elected as a Senator and served two terms under Ferdinand Marcos (1965-72) . Eva Estrada married Teodoro Kalaw, Jr., in 1944, and had four children: 3 sons and a daughter, Chingbee. Kalaw passed away at age 96 on May 25, 2017.

MARIA EVA “CHING BEE” KALAW, who appears with her in this Pond’s ad, is a commerce graduate of Assumption College.  Married first to Dini Manotoc, and later to Bobby Cuenca, she has 4 sons. She heads Rite Management and Financial Corporation is also a member of the  Management Association of  the Philippines’ committee of agribusiness and countryside development.

 Model: LUZ BANZON-MAGSAYSAY. Seventh First Lady of the Philippines
The wife of Philippine president Ramon Magsaysay was born Luz Rosauro Banzon on June 25, 1915 in Balanga, Bataan. She had 3 children with the president: Teresita, Mila and Ramon Jr. With the death of Magsaysay in a plane crash in 1957, she became a widow at age 41 years old when President Magsaysay died in an aeroplane crash in 1957, three years. She led a quiet life, and dedicated herself to the preservation of her husband's memory and legacy. She died on August 17, 2004 and is considered one of the most respected First Ladies the country every had.

Model: LILY DE LAS ALAS-PADILLA, Wife of Sen. Ambrosio Padilla
Considered as one of the most stylish beauties if her time, Lily de las Alas was  the daughter of Senator Antonio De Las Alas of Taal, Batangas. She married Ambrosio “Paddy” Padilla, a former basketball Olympian who was elected to the Senate  from 1957 -1972. The De Las Alas-Padilla couple have 10 children: 6 boys and 4 girls, one of whom—Josine—appeared with her in a POND’s ad.

JOSIE PADILLA, the beautiful Padilla daughter, was a popular campus figure and teen society figure in the late 50s. She married Harvard-educated Ernest Rufino, a scion of one of the country’s old rich families, in 1963. Their children are: Lyra, Joysie, Lui, Ysabel, Ernie and Victor Rufino.

VIRGINIA LLAMAS ROMULO, of Pagsanjan was a student of the progressive Philippine Women's College when she was named Queen of the Manila Carnival 1922. At her Grecian-themed coronation, she was escorted by a young editor and U.P. graduate, Carlos P. Romulo. The two eventually became husband and wife.  Romulo, went on to become a well-respected diplomat, a Pulitzer prize winning author, first Asian President of the United Nations General Assembly, and Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Virginia passed away at age 67 on 22 January 1968. In life, as in death, she was recognized as one of the greatest Filipino women of modern times.

various issue of Sunday Times Magazine 1957-1961

Saturday, August 19, 2017

124. Brand Stories: BEAR BRAND MILK in the PHILIPPINES

BEAR BRAND, the oldest milk brand of Nestle in the Philippines, has been nurturing the health of generations of Filipinos for over 100 years. It was produced by the Bernese Alps Milk Company, established in 1892 by the famed hotelier  César Ritz, with master cook, Auguste Escoffier, on a vast tract of land brought from the von May family.

In 1895, it began producing milk in exportable quantities that became the legendary “bärenmarke”—Bear Brand. The iconic package bears the illustration of a sitting mother bear feeding her baby bear on her lap with a nursing milk bottle, a brand character that has since remained unchanged.

BEAR BRAND Sterilized Milk was available locally as an imported brand since 1906, and one of the first to be extensively advertised. Turn-of-the-20th century ads identified the product as “Leche Suisa” (Swiss Milk”), bearing the “Marca Oso” (Bear Brand). It was soon being referred to as “Marca Oso” or “gatas oso” by Filipinos at that time.

BEAR BRAND Sterilized Milk came in 155 ml. tin cans, and were exclusively imported by local Philippine agents, Lutz y Compania, later taken over by Sprüngli & Co., a big importing company with offices at 28 Calle David in Manila.

The milk was extensively promoted via advertising and sponsorships of national events, and it left its mark in the first ever Manila Carnival of 1908. BEAR BRAND was the sole product in the company’s prize-winning float hat featured a giant bear, along with a giant BEAR BRAND milk can.


1929, BEAR BRAND AD,"Best by the Test", GRAPHIC MAGAZINE


1936 BEAR BRAND AD, "Health Personified" ,GRAPHIC 

By the end of the first decade of the 20th century, BEAR BRAND Marca Oso became a household name, and it would continue to endure for the next 6 decades.



By 1967, BEAR BRAND was available in 3 sizes: Small 150 g. can, Big 500 g. can and Family 950 g. can. It was also available in Full Cream powdered form, sold in one pound, vacuum-packed, reusable aluminum can.

1964 BEAR BRAND AD, 'Good Looks", Sunday Times Mag.

1965 BEAR BRAND AD, "Nimble", Sunday Times Mag.

BEAR BRAND was eventually acquired by the world's largest food and beverage company—Nestle. As early as 1895, Nestle products like Milkmaid, were being marketed in the Philippines. It was only in 1911 that the Nestle and Anglo-Swiss dairy Company was put up in Binondo to set up its operations here.

1967 BEAR BRAND AD, "3 Sizes", STM

1967 BEAR BRAND AD, "Best Milk Around", STM.

World War II forced the suspension of its operations, but after the war, the company re-emerged as Filipro Inc. In 1976, BEAR BRAND came under Filipro Inc., with the launch of BEAR BRAND Instant Filled Milk Powder.

1968 BEAR BRAND AD, with Bb. Pilipinas, Pilar Pilapil, STM

1968 BEAR BRAND AD, with model Baby Santiago, STM

Ten years after, the company finally became Nestle Philippines, which, to this day, continues to be driven by its mission to nurture generations of Filipino families, with quality brands known the world over—including the history-rich milk with the mark of the bear—“marca oso”BEAR BRAND.

Nestle Phils. website:

Allother photos: Alex R. Castro Collection, sourced from various magazines indicated,

Friday, August 11, 2017

123. Punong-puno ng Sarap: MAGNOLIA SORBETES, 1983

1983 was a period of turmoil in the Philippines, marked by destructive typhoon Bebeng, a major earthquake in Luzon , and the killing of Marcos opposition leader Ninoy Aquino in August that would catalyze protests all over the country, culminating in the People Power Revolution.  

It was against this uncertain backdrop that Magnolia launched its MAGNOLIA SORBETES, a line of local flavors that are sure to please, generously filled with chunky fruit bits, and other tasty ingredients--"punong-puno ng sarap!"

There were four initial flavors—Halo Halo Fiesta, Queso Rico, Ube Macapuno and Fruit Salad—all familiar favorites, as the product concept aimed to replicate popular, sought-after “sorbetes” flavors  that one could easily pick from a cart from one’s friendly neighborhood sorbetero.

The  launch materials included a full color introductory ad and a jingle-based TV commercial that featured mouthwatering food and consumption shots, and employing showbiz personalities like Toby Alejar, actor/model Marty Merino and dancer Ida Ramos.


In 1996, SMC went into joint venture with Nestle that resulted in the Magnolia-Nestle Corp. Two years later, SMC withdrew but Nestle continued producing  ice cream under the Sorbetes name. In 2004, after a 10-year absence, Magnolia Ice Cream returned to the market with its classic ice cream products. Magnolia Sorbetes was promoted by its food supplier arm (Great Food Solutions)  but its present website no longer lists the Sorbetes brand in its product portfolio.

Magnolia Sorbetes picture inset:
Magnolia Sorbetes TV Ad: uploaded by Marty Merino, 9 Oct. 2007:

Sunday, August 6, 2017

122. The Face That Refreshes: SUSAN ROCES, Celebrity Endorser of the 1950s-60s.

COCA COLA COUPLE. Susan Roces appears in one of her earliest ads, with love team Bernard Bonnin, for Coca Cola's 50th Anniversary. 1957.

 Queen of the Philippine  Movies, SUSAN ROCES (born Jesusa Purificación Levy Sonora,  28 Jul. 1941 in Bacolod) began her movie career at age 8, when she was cast in the movie “Mga Bituin ng Kinabukasan”  by Nepomuceno Productions.

SUSAN ROCES in a Philippine Charity Sweepstake color print ad, 1960

Dr. Jose Perez, Sampaguita Pictures’ big boss “re-discovered” her as a teen beauty, when she was already in Manila, an interna of La Consolacion College. She passed her screen test and was given the screen name “Susan Roces” (after Susan Magalona and the Roces Publications).

.SUSAN ROCES does a LAVORIS Mouthwash and Gargle print ad, 1961.

 First introduced in “Miss Tilapia” and “Bokingera (Daw)” (1956), Roces would rise to become one of the most celebrated and influential actresses of the 60s era, especially when she went free-lance, acclaimed as the queen of Tagalog cinema, for such movies as “Susan, Susay Susie”, “Susanang Daldal”,  (1962), “Bayan Ko, Lumaban Ka” (1965), “Maruja” (1967), “Divina Gracia” (1970)  “Patayin mo sa Sindak si Barbara” (1974). She would win a back-to-back Best Actress Famas award for “Maligno” (1978), and “Gumising ka , Maruja” (1979).
SUSAN ROCES for LIFEBUOY SOAP, with Romeo Vasquez, 1960

Roces reached a milestone  in her career  when she married widow of Fernando Poe Jr.[, who left her a widow in 2004.  Daughter Grace Poe is a senator. On TV, Roces was in “John en Shirley”, an ABS-CBN comedy show until October 2007. She currently is still in the top rating “FPJ: Ang Probinsyano” series which began in 2015.

At her peak, Roces was avidly sought by companies for endorsements—from Coca Cola to beauty and personal products like Lux. Now regarded as an icon of Philippine movies, the much-loved and respected actress continues to appear in TV commercials for such products as RiteMed and Champion. Then, as now, Susan Roces has the face that refreshes, and a voice that sells.


Susan Roces, First Lady and Eterenal Queen of Philippine Movies,