Thursday, September 17, 2020

297. ASCAROL BONBONS, by Metro Laboratories, Inc. (1957-1969)

ASCAROL BONBONS, in chocolate flavor, 1957

One of the most popular deworming drugs in the 1950s, was ASCAROL brand, produced by Metro Laboratories, Inc. Metro was then a leading pharmaceutical company that made popular products as Dhobinol (skin ointment), Elixir Auri-Bromide and Metrotussin (cough medicine).

ASCAROL Print Ad, 1957

Ascariasis, or roundworm infestation, was a common children’s condition in the post-war 50s, and the most prevalent in agricultural Philippines. The soil-transmitted parasitic worms can cause severe abdominal pain, fatigue, vomiting, anemia, distended abdomen, itching, and malnutrition and weight loss in kids.

ASCAROL print ad, 1960 

 As liquid antihelminthic medicines tended to be distasteful for kids, Metro Laboratories made the product in chocolate-flavored candy forms---ASCAROL BONBONS. The albendazole-based bonbons, came individually-wrapped in a glass jar,, which children can enjoy like candy,  while being treated for their infestation. No laxatives were required.

 ASCAROL Print Ad, 1969

ASCAROL BONBONS were promoted in print ads, from the 50s to the 70s, becoming household names, and proven the most effective worm expellant for decades. The rise of new  and very affordable multi-worm products halted ASCAROL’s market success. Combantrin, for example, is Pyrantel-based, which required only one dose to eliminate all types of worms, and yet it is gentle on the stomach.

 The brand name Ascarol today, is used by Laboratorio NeoFarmaco of Ecuador, in their de-worming product that is just as popular as the Philippine brand of old.

Monday, September 14, 2020

296. Where Are They Now? THE MANOEUVRES of CO.B Perfect Company, 1994

In the late 80s and 90s, the MANOEUVRES were one of the hottest male dance groups in the country, along with Streetboys and Universal Motion Dancers. Established  in 1984 as WEA Dynamics, and later Octo-Manoeuvres, by WEA Records, the original dancers-- Uriel Policarpio, Ronnel Wolfe , Jon-Jon Supan, Rene Sagaran and Jojo Lapena—promoted music records by way of dance on TV and in events.  Brothers Jason and Joshua Zamora, and Jon Cruz later joined the group.

The dancers gained notice when they supported Gary Valenciano in his blockbuster major concert “Pure Energy” at the Folk Arts Theater in 1987. Their career as male dance group would be linked with Gary V, when Genesis Entertainment—a talent management group under  Gary’s wife, Angeli Pangilinan—signed them up. They became simply known as MANOEUVRES.

The MANOUEVRES took the concert scene by storm with their participation in the concerts and other events of the country’s biggest and most popular entertainers—from Regine Velasquez, Sharon Cuneta, Jaya to Martin and Pops. But it was with Gary V that they were most associated with; head choreographer Uriel Policarpio choreographed many of the “hataw” moves that the energetic singer  did in many of his concerts.

The group became visible in TV dance shows, noontime programs and even had stints in Southeast Asian countries, Canada, U.S., Italy and East, performing for the overseas Pinoy market. In time, the MANOEUVRES were holding their own dance concerts (even a 25th anniversary concert)  that were always sold out.

With the measure of fame the group achieved, the MANOEUVRES managed to snag a few commercial endorsements  that included blue chip clients like Magnolia, Royal Tru-Orange and Coke. One fashion brand they also promoted in 1994 was CO.B (COMPANY B. )  a flagship brand of Tri-Union International, a big apparel company that created a youth line of denims and tops.

Four members—Uriel Policarpio, Jonjon Supan, Jason and Joshua Zamora appeared in trade ads of CO. B, on leading newspapers and magazines. They were  featured in a TV 30s  spot ,”Voices/Dances/Strings”, which became a Creative Guild Ad of the Month in 1994. The commercial was created by Hemisphere-Leo Burnett, led by Creative Director Maun Bondoc, Lilit Reyes and Betsy Baking.

Many of the members used their showbiz exposure to venture into other fields like Acting and directing, in the case of the Zamora brothers. Jon Supan became a managing Director of Hotlegs. But almost all of the original members including Uriel Policarpio (who fully recovered from a quadruple bypass)  and Rene “Mr. Flex” Sagaran continue to be involved in dance, conducting workshops and choreographing numbers for shows.


The MANOEUVRES are still very much around and active today, with new generation members. Their FB group states that they are now under the management group of Artistation, Inc., handler of some of the biggest names in show business today.

Photo Updates: FB Maneouvres FB Page
Photo Co.B. 1994 Souvenir Program Creatuve Guild Ad of the Year
Retro-5: Memorable Dance Groups in Recent History, 

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

295. Pre-War ROYAL SOFT DRINKS Print Ads, San Miguel Brewery, 1925-1930s

San Miguel Brewery, which was founded back in 1889 by businessman Enrique María Barretto de Ycaza y Esteban, was primarily known for its lager beer, San Miguel Beer, and subsequent beer types like Cerveza Negra and Doble Bock.  Earning much success from beer production, San Miguel Brewery diversified its business by venturing into non-alcoholic drinks. 

The result was a line of carbonated flavored beverages known as ROYAL SOFT DRINKS, first produced in 1922 by its Royal Soft Drinks Plant at Gen. Solano, Manila. The ROYAL brand was carried by at least 20 flavor variants—from Strawberry, Lemon, Grape, Lime, Ginger Ale,Cream Soda, Root Beer, Singapore Sling, Mandarin, Soda Water, to Orangeade, Orange Squeeze, and its all-time favorite Tru-Orange. Initially, the first ROYAL beverages were packaged in stoneware bottles that were more appropriate for beer.

ROYAL SOFT DRINKS were first advertised in the leading Philippine dailies and magazines in the mid 1920s, with copy in both Spanish and English.  Consumer taste preference led to the dropping of some flavors from the line. It was clear though, that the very popular ROYAL TRU-ORANGE, led all other flavors and so was advertised separately beginning in the 1930s.

The war interrupted the production of ROYAL SOFT DRINKS, as the Japanese ook over the San Miguel Plant. The company regrouped pots-war and ROYAL TRU-ORANGE returned to the market in the 1950s, in the familiar clear bottle with a blue panel, carrying the brand name in the familiar “Royal” font that the product has used since its introduction. It was the leading orange flavored drink in the market of the 50s decade.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

294. Brand Stories: Nestlé MILKMAID, “Marca Señorita”, 1856


The milk known in the Philippines for many years as “Marca Señorita” because of its female brand character, was a product of a dairy company founded by two American brothers, George Ham Page and Charles Page, from Dixon, Illinois.


 Their story began in 1865, when Charles, who was the U.S. Vice Consul of Trade was posted in Zurich, where he marveled at the sight of endless green meadows populated by grazing cows. He saw the potential of producing a new kind of processed milk that was clean and pure, and did not spoil easily due to the addition of sugar. 


Developed by Gail Borden in the 1850s, the canned “condensed milk” was supplied to American Civil War soldiers in the battlefield. Charles’s brother, George, had learned the process of making condensed milk himself,  from the Gail Borden plant in the U.S. The two brother, thus, joined their heads together, to form the Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company a year later, in Cham, Switzerland —the first condensed milk company in Europe—and the future international dairy giant was born.

The condensed milk product took the world by storm. By  1868, the brothers’ Anglo-Swiss company was selling over  374,000 cartons of condensed milk, driven largely by demands from Great Britain and its colonies. With the death of Charles in 1873, George took over the helm and by 1891, the company had 12 factories in Europe and the US which exported their famed condensed milk worldwide, under the “MILKMAID” brand.

BEAUTIFUL MILKMAID BABIES OF 1929, Philippine Free Press, 1929 

Meanwhile, in another part of Switzerland,  German immigrant Henry Nestlé had started making waves with a new milk product produced by his Vevey plant. Introduced in 1867, Farine Lacteé, an infant feeding formula, became a huge marketing success. It was just a matter of time that Nestlé expanded its product line and emerged as a rival of the Anglos-Swiss Dairy Company. Despite the competition, both companies thrived due to their shared passion for producing milk products of the highest quality and standards.


While talks of a merger were initially opposed by George Page, his death in 1899 paved the way for the two companies to finally join forces, and in 1905, a deal was sealed with the creation of the Nestlé and Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company.

As early as 1895, Nestle products like Bear Brand, were being marketed in the Philippines. It was only in 1911 that the sales office of Nestle and Anglo-Swiss Dairy Company was put up here, along Calle Renta in Binondo.


By the 1920s, there were already 3 milk processing plants in the country led by San Miguel’s Magnolia. To keep up with the growing demand for milk, these plants began importing European milk and reconstituted them locally. It was in this way that Bear Brand and MILKMAID became widely available in the Philippines, becoming household names.

MILKMAID was  highly promoted in the Philippines, and both its evaporated and condensed milk versions were advertised in print ads published in local magazines.

Curiously, because of the bucket-carrying milkmaid trademark illustration that identified the product, Filipinos began referring to MILKMAID as “Marca Señorita” (mark of a Miss), as Spanish was still a major language in the Philippines then. In other countries where it was sold , MILKMAID was translated in the native languages—La Lechera (Spanish), La Laitière (French), Die Milchmädchen (German).

MILKMAID gained more popularity with its ingenious promotions, including launching the search for the happy, healthy babies of the Philippines back in the late 1920s, that was regularly held till the 1930s. It encouraged parents to send photos of their bouncing, beautiful babies, and selected winners had the photos published in the leading magazines of the day.

Another promotion engaged MILKMAID users to save and collect labels to be used to get porcelain tableware marked with the brand logo. The set-building promotion included plates, saucers, cups, milk pitchers that were avidly collected by housewives for their homes.


In 1955, Filipro, Inc. acquired the license to produce and market MILKMAID locally, and which later became the local Nestlé company here.  MILKMAID cans had “A Nestlé Product” printed on the label.


With the surge in prices of goods in 1959, the government stepped in to form the National Marketing Corporation (NAMARCO) to procure, buy, and distribute such commodities in short supply, with a special non-recurring dollar allocation from the Central Bank. MILKMAID was one such product endorsed by NAMARCO.


Throughout the 50s and 60s decade, MILKMAID advertising continued, and its position in the market was firmly entrenched,until the rise of new evaporated brands in the country like Liberty and Darigold.  Despite its core loyal users, MILKMAID started looking  more traditional as modern canned milk brands with new formulations gained their foothold. 


In the 1970s, MILKMAID regained prominence with the “grow Tall, Little Man” campaign, topbilled by then-chils superstar, Nino Muhlach.


In 2007,  Nestlé gave Alaska Milk Corp. the license to manufacture and sell its MILKMAID sweetened condensed milk in the Philippines. Alaska Milk Corp, was acquired by  FrieslandCampina  in 2012, but the plant continues to produce MILKMAID, but no longer carries the Nestlé name. MILKMAID today is promoted as an ingredient for modern confections, sweet treats,  dessserts, and bakery items.

MILKMAID, under Nestle (L) and under FrieslandCampina (R)


Thursday, August 27, 2020

293. PEPSI-COLA’s “Have A PEPSI DAY” Campaign, 1977-79

PEPSI-COLA's’ answer to the huge global success of its rival’s “COKE Adds Life!” campaign was the “Taste the PEPSI Way---and HAVE A PEPSI DAY” thematic campaign. 

 It harkens back to the PEPSI GENERATION that was conceived by advertising man and marketer Allan Pottasch (b.1927-d. 2007) who was first to observe the  youthful, carefree and optimistic culture emerging from the post-World War II baby boom. He thus coined a term to describe these up-and-coming power consumers: the PEPSI GENERATION, with a campaign launched in 1963

Over the next decades, advertising was focused on this Pepsi generation—and HAVE A PEPSI DAY was a continuing effort to engage these baby boomers to include Pepsi in their life. Launched in the U.S. in 1976, the campaign was rolled out in the Philippines the next year, using the internationally-famous jingle, but using local talents and situations.

 Launched in the U.S. in 1976, the campaign was rolled out in the Philippines the next year, using the internationally-famous jingle, but using local talents and situations.


The challenge for Ace-Compton Advertising Inc., the Makati ad agency tasked with localizing the campaign. The choice of “daily events” thus became critical—it should be within the realm of a Filipino’s social experience,  that can be heighten by the presence of PEPSI—leading to a “brand new moment” that will leave you “alive and feeling free”. 

 Hence, such situations as a tennis match, a trip to the zoo, a kalesa ride—becomes a celebration with PEPSI.

The campaign also had Celebrity versions, featuring top celebrities of the day  like superstar Nora Aunor, and her love team partner Tirso Cruz III. The Aunor TVC commercial had her defining her own PEPSI DAY---a free day without a film shooting, just bumming around, a day all to herself, with just  a bottle of PEPSI for a refreshing change.

HAVE A PEPSI DAY was a popular campaign, but “Coke Adds Life” was hard to beat. The jingle was more catchy, and the commercials featured the younger teen set that were cuter, funnier, more spontaneous in their ways. In the MTV years, Coke commercials were hipper, and more “with the times”.  It didn’t help that in 1977, the PEPSI COLA account was moved from Ace-Compton to J. Walter Thompson, major news that reverberated throughout the whole Philippine ad industry.  Coke regained its dominance, and the PEPSI DAYS were no more.

Friday, August 21, 2020

292. Bubble Gum of the ‘60s: TEXAS of Philip Sweets Mfg. Co.


One of the favorite bubble gums to come out in the 1960s is the pink, square gum in a waxed paper wrapper—the Original TEXAS Bubble Gum. Philip Sweets Manufacturing Co, which has been making candy and confectionary since 1949.

The company, with business address at Isabel Ave.( now renamed Gov.Pascual St.), Northern Hills in Malabon, also had another successful bubble gum brand—Tarzan—which came out in 1965. But TEXAS—which had an American state for a name—was an easy favorite.
In time, the chewy, minty sweet soft bubble gum gained many among school kids growing up in the 60s decade. Readily available in sari-sari stores nationwide, each one cost a centavo, but 5 centavos can get you 6 TEXAS gums.
The brand disappeared for many years until Philips, now known as Phisman, resurrected its operations and relaunched an all-new TEXAS Bubble Gum in the 2010s.. The updated packaging captures the vibrant fun, character  and yummy taste  of the gum.  in fact, even its brands of yesteryears—including Tarzan—are now back in the Philippine candy market, winning back baby boomers as well as new millennial fans.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

291. Brand Names That Became Everyday Pinoy Words #7: SPRAY NET

MISS SPRAY NET, Non-stick spray, 1966

The company that gave us the brand name “spraynet” which Filipinos use to refer to hair spray was an invention of Helene Curtis. Founded back in 1927 by Gerald Gidwitz and Louis Stein as the National Mineral Company,  it was renamed as ‘Helene Curtis’, derived from the first names of Stein’s wife and son.

From manufacturing mud pack products for salons, the company shifted its focus to creating hair care products like shampoos and tonics. Suave hairdressing became their biggest flagship product.

When aerosol cans were invented after World War II,  Helene Curtis was one of the first companies to recognize its value, and in 1950 it first used the term “hairspray” for its new aerosol cosmetic hair styling product: SPRAY NET.

It was so-called because of its superior hold on hair, that allowed women to keep their 50s bouffant and beehive hairdo as if protected by a net-- higher and longer, with just a spray.

SPRAY NET became such a successful product that other beauty care products joined the hair spray bandwagon, like Aqua Net. It was said that SPRAY NET became so popular that it even outsold lipsticks!

Advertised in 1966 in the Philippines. SPRAY NET was a huge hit among modern Filipinas. As it becae a dominant brand in the market, everyone started calling other branded aerosol hair sprays as “SPRAY NET”.

By the late '60s, tastes in hairstyles changed, with celebrities like Twiggy and Mia Farrow popularizing simpler, shorter, and more natural hair styles. Sales for hair sprays declined slowly. This was further aggravated when it was discovered that aerosol products contained Chlorofluoro Carbons (CFCs), that harmed the environment . A pre-1970 ingredient, vinyl chloride, was found to cause cancer.

HELENE CURTIS, 1966 Print Ad

Aerosols continued to be widely used as safer alternative ingredients were used. Helene Curtis now produces Thermasilk Shape and Hold Spray and Salon Selectives Spray. Though the iconic product is long gone, baby boomers still call any hair spray by that name—SPRAY NET!

Wikipedia: Helene Curtis Industries, Inc.,_Inc.