Monday, November 28, 2016

84. SAN MIGUEL BEER: “O, Anong Sarap, Isa Pa Nga!” 1971

"O, ANONG SARAP...ISA PA NGA", one of San Miguel Beer's widely
 popular ad campaign with a tagline written by Hotdog member,
Dennis Garcia. ca. 1971

For decades now, San Miguel Corporation, led by its flagship product San Miguel Beer has consistently put out advertisements that make the Filipino proud. The signature beer product—SAN MIGUEL BEER PALE PILSEN—has celebrated the Filipino in his most positive facets.

The San Miguel Beer ad campaigns, in varying degrees, have toasted the Filipino at his best—his irrepressible sense of humor, his regard for tradition, his infectious optimism, and most of all, his taste for the good  life. These values find full expression in the campaign , “O, Anong Sarap! So good…ayos na ang kasunod!,” that was launched in 1971.

“O Anong Sarap!”, was the first Tagalog commercial ever for the country’s no. 1 beer. The landmark ad, produced by Philippine Advertising Counselors (PAC) ran for many years, and featured local showbiz stars—from Bert “Tawa” Marcelo to Dencio Padilla, Gary Lising, Cachupoy and Subas Herrero—a tradition by the brand started way back in the 1960s.

"BOSS", with Bert Marcelo & Subas Herrero

One major contributor to this campaign was a young 18 year-old copywriter who penned the tagline, and went on to create many more San Miguel Beer ads, jingles and slogans. Dennis Garcia—who would also gain fame by being a part of the iconic purveyor of original Pilipino music, the Hotdog Band---came up with “O, Anong Sarap—so good, ayos na ang kasunod!”He later re-wrote the second part into “Isa pa nga!”, which became even a more popular catchphrase, it replaced “so good…” permanently.

The agency was recognized for its pioneering use of Filipino talents, themes and values in its commercial in 1979 when PAC received the prestigious Tanglaw Awards from the 4 A’s (Association of the Advertising Agencies of the Philippines”.

After the dreadful Martial law years, San Miguel Beer continued to portray the vibrant and hopeful Pinoy spirit in its campaign “Ito ang Beer!”. Dennis worked on the San Miguel account again in 1990 when he was lured out of his expat job in Malaysia by McCann Erickson, to help keep the client in a multi-agency pitch. The chemistry resulted in the successful “Kahit Kailan, Kaibigan” campaign and helped McCann keep the multi-million-peso account .

“A big idea is big only once,” Dennis, once said. And that was what happened in 1971, when people lapped up his very first campaign for San Miguel Beer in 1971, and never had enough of it—“O, Anong Sarap! Isa Pa Nga!”

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

83. Creative Guild’s 1984 Print Ad of the Year: ASTRA THREADS, “SUPERMAN”

Creative Guild’s 1984 Print Ad of the Year: ASTRA THREADS, “SUPERMAN”, Ace-Compton

The Creative Guild’s very first Print Ad of the Year in 1983 “Superman” was a fitting testament to the sheer power of the image. It would also be the first among the eight winning ads coming from an apparent hotbed of print advertising excellence, Ace/Saatchi & Saatchi, then known as Ace-Compton. 

The client was Allied Threads, an established British thread manufacturer with worldwide operations, but whose product, ASTRA THREAD, was locally known only among neighborhood dressmakers.

“It was a low involvement product”, recalls Jimmy Santiago. “Who really cares much about thread!”.

The client, whose previous advertising experience involved no more than a few fashion posters and some technical TV material harping on the product’s strength, had walked into the Ace-Compton office and announced that they wanted to advertise their product in print.

It was, Santiago recalls, just the kind of job Ace-Compton loved—“A product that gave us the flexibility to be creative without worrying about global constraints”.

The product brief, recalls then creative director Mon Jimenez (now co-CEO of Jimenez/ DMB&B) contained such brass tacks, unappetizing product descriptions as fiber composition, thickness and the like. 

“If you looked at the thread under a microscope.” Jimenez recalls Astra’s titillating claims,”you would see the strands of cotton that made the product much stronger than cheaper products”.

While Jimenez and company sett;ed immediately upon strength as the chief selling point, Jimenez himself refused to take the reader through the whole microscope routine once again. 

In fact, he eschewed any use of scientific data altogether. “We needed a simple idea that would be its own proof, and idea so powerful it would sell itself.”

The questions were then asked, Who would need such prodigiously strong threads? And what image would make this benefit so clear that consumers wouldn’t feel the inclination to ask any more smart questions that the ad didn’t have the space nor the time to answer?

Santiago recalls that it was Jimenez who hit upon the Superman idea, singled out from among other less vivid options, ”and he was jumping up and down about it. How could you not be strong if you had Superman as an endorser?”

“Well, Superman certainly needed strong thread,” Jimenez assert. “And when people have accepted Superman who’s not exactly a real person, then there’ any danger of them looking at the ad and saying,”No, that’s not true”.

Art director Salvador Luna, production manager Rudy Maliglig and photographer Eduviges Huang worked on what was to be a cropped, colorful shot of Superman’s firm shoulder. The picture conveniently conceals the man of Steel’s face, and only a portion of the big, bold trademark on his chest is visible, but there was certainly no mistaking the subject for anybody else.

Superman;s eye catching blue jersey, accentuated by the nice drape of his solid red cape,is conspicuously torn at the shoulder. In an ingeniously contrasting image of gentle persuasion, a decidedly feminine pair of manicured hands, pinkies poised, is set to run a needle through the costume, using of course, you-know-who’s worthy product.

The visual was so clear, copywriters Margarita Arroyo and Alex Castro needed to top off the analogy with a single one-liner, prudently placed above the fine print on product composition and color variety. “Astra is Strength”, the text reads, and the product gets added distinction from the use of its logo.

Did it work?
Santiago reports that Astra became immediately identifiable—“It became most recognized among all other brands of threads”—and the print ad won a Clio citation.”It worked so well,” Jimenez adds,”that they eventually had to go to the serious stuff after that.” At least Superman had its day.

  • Creative Guild of the Philippines, 1984 PRINT AD OF THE YEAR
  • Creative Guild  of the Philippines, APRIL 1984 PRINT AD OF THE MONTH
  • Creative Guild of the Philippines, APRIL 1984, TV AD OF THE MONTH
  • Philippine Advertising Congress, AWARD OF EXCELLENCE, Print,1984
  • CLIO Awards, FINALIST CITATION, New York, 1984

PERFECT 10: A Decade of Creativity in Philippine Advertising, Published by the Executive Committe of the Creative Guild of the Philippines. 1995. Butch Uy, Alya Honasan

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


PRISCILLA aka Presentacion "Esen" Bataclan, Kolynos Girl

 KOLYNOS DENTAL CREAM was an American-made toothpaste brand created by Newell Sill Jenkins in 1908.  It was already being advertised in Philippine magazines in the 1930s. Radio then, was already becoming a popular medium for entertainment and promotion then and many companies in the U.S. used it as a channel for marketing. Kolynos was one such product known for program sponsorships.

Kolynos print ad, 1936. Graphic Magazine.

 In 1936, KZRM held auditions for radio singers and one of those who tried out was a 14 year-old high school sophomore from Cavite—Presentacion Bataclan. So impressed were the executives that they gave her a program of her own—The Kolynos Hour. She made her singing debut in 1936 under the screen name Priscilla. Known on-air as “Priscilla, the Kolynos Girl”, she would become the No. 1 radio personality of the Commonwealth Era.

Ariston Avelino and singer, Rafael Artigas.

 “The Kolynos Hour” ran for just fifteen minutes, every Mondays and Fridays—but it lasted for a good three years. Priscilla became a household name, and the radio station was besieged with fan mails (200 letters a week!) and requests for autographs. She earned the then incredible sum of Php 7.50 a show.

 The Kolynos Girl came to typify the toothpaste belle of radio at her likeable best, her toothsome smile and 14-karat crooning voice popularizing songs like Stardust, I’m in the Mood for Love, My Reverie, All the Things You Are, and When Your Love Has Gone. She recorded for RCA and later, Lebran, Bataan Excelsior and Villar Records.

KOLYNOS TOOTHPASTE AD, 1955. The Sunday Times Magazine

 In the next years to follow, until the outbreak of the War, Priscilla divided her time between the radio and the movies. During the Japanese Occupation, she performed at the Life Theater. It was while headlining a show at the Metropolitan Theater that she met her husband, musician-saxophonist Bernardo Aristorenas, whom she married in 1944.

PRISCILLA, as a professional singer, actress, 1951.

 After the war, Priscilla did camp shows for U.S. armed forces and became active again on-air when radio became a flourishing industry in the 1950s. She, along with the Mystery Singer (Cecil Lloyd), signed up with Station KZRH and got top billing in Philippine Refining Company-sponsored shows.

She free-lanced on “Pepsodent’s Hour (another toothpaste brand!), sang on “Vick’s Variety Show”in 1951 and was in the popular “Student Canteen”.

PRISCILLA, minding her gift shop "Eyeful" along Mabini St. 1966

 Overseas, Priscilla sang in Okinawa for a year at the Castle Terrace Club, then made the rounds of clubs in Taipei and Hong Kong. The Aristorenases returned to Manila in 1964 and put up a souvenir gift shop along Mabini St., called “Eyeful”.


 Today, the Kolynos Girl is now an nonagenarian, who resides in relative anonymity and quiet in Alabang Hills. Little does one know that for almost 3 decades, she ruled the airwaves as a singing product ambassador , a broadcast icon, and a leading voice in the golden age of the Philippine radio industry.

Sunday Times Magazine, 23 Nov. 1966
Literary Movies Magazine, 1951

Tuesday, November 8, 2016



CORTAL, was introduced in the early 50s as a revolutionary fever, colds and pain reliever. Cortal was basically an aspirin-based medication that has two more active ingredients that work synergistically to fight fever and pain, safely and quickly.

 Widely advertised and easily available, Cortal tablets became the most popular medicine for the relief of headache, fever, and colds—easing out other available medications like the U.S.made-Bayer. Even with the rise of another competitive brand, Cafiaspirina, Cortal’s market lead was insurmountable.

 As expected, other minor players in the analgesic market capitalized on Cortal’s success. In an age where there was no advertising board to police unfair advertising ng practices, another pain relief brand unabashedly copied Cortal’s winning marketing strategies.


Cortapen was the name of the pink tablet brand that fought head-on with Cortal. Its name alone—Cortapen—was similar to Cortal. While Cortal relief was “fast, safe, sure”, Cortapen promised to be “effective, immediate, reliable”.

 Cortal, in its advertising, introduced a sword-wielding mascot called ‘Captain Cortal”, as a symbolic figure “pain fighter”.

Cortapen responded with its own mascot—Corta, the “stop-pain cop”.


 The early print ads of Cortal followed a comic strip format—the Captain Cortal series--featuring short, problem-solution stories that appeared on weekly magazines,

Of course, Cortapen did the same—it ran its own comic strip ad with Corta.

 This kind of copycat advertising would have been prohibited today by the Philippine Board of Advertising, as the Cortapen ads are blatant rip-offs of Cortal’s creative executions. There is enough basis to warn Cortapen of unethical advertising practice—but this was in the mid 1950s, where ad rules and regulations were nonexistent.

 Cortapen would disappear from botica shelves in the early 1960s, while Cortal would soon be overtaken by the safer acetaminophen and paracetamol analgesics beginning in the late 1970s.

featuring NEIL ETHERIDGE (2011)

Cortal is still available today, reformulated and updated to meet the changing times. In fact, it continues to be advertised, although sparsely—a like this recent TV commercial featuring Neil Etheridge of the Philippine Azkals football team.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

80. Konting Kuskos, Ayos!: SUPERWHEEL DETERGENT BAR TVC 1975

SUPERWHEEL DETERGENT BAR, with Elizabeth Ramsey as "Cleopatra (1976)
Screen grab from 'Superwheel Classic Philippine commercial (1976) by ADman 1909.

From the 50s to the early 70s, the powdered detergents, led by Tide and Breeze, reigned supreme in Philippine households, used by millions of women to keep their laundry clean, white and fresh-smelling. Sure, there were coconut-oil based bars like Perla and Luto (by Philippine Manufacturing Co.), but powders were preferred for their cleaning ability.

Philippjne Refining Co. (PRC) had a soap bar as early as 1952, known as Wheel. It would take twenty two more years before the company could introduce the first non-soap detergent in the country, which would revolutionize the laundry industry and install PRC as Procter & Gamble PMC’s staunchest competitor.

Screen grab from 'Superwheel Classic Philippine commercial (1976)
 by ADman 1909.

The new product was the SUPERWHEEL DETERGENT BAR, introduced to the market in 1974. The synthetic detergent bar had compressed power cleansers that had superior cleaning ability, and could wash more loads of clothes. It lasted longer, as the amount of detergent used  could be controlled by hand-scrubbing, thus it was more economical than powder.

MARISSA DELGADO as Lady Guinever, Superwheel  TVC 1976
Screen grab from 'Superwheel Classic Philippine 

commercial by ADman 1909.

J. Walter Thompson conceived of a massive campaign on TV that did away with real housewives and their problematic washing problems.
TVC 30s here:

The commercials had outlandish characters spoofed from well-known historical and literary women figures —from Cleopatra, Lady Guinevere and later, in the 80s, Starzan and Barok.

LILY MIRAFLOR, always appeared at the right time with a Superwheel bar,
to save the day for women with laundry problems.
These characters shared a common laundry problem that was solved by the omni-present Lily Miraflor, who appeared magically nearby as the women contemplated on their problems. “Konting kuskos, ayos!”, she says as she saves the day for the ladies with a bar of SUPERWHEEL.

The anachronistic scenes were memorably campy, the acting over-the-top. The ads were among the most popular and most recalled from the 70s era. Most of the punchlines are still known today—most notably, the Cleopatra version (1976) starring the irrepressible Elizabeth Ramsey who, despondent over her washing challenges, declared—“Magapatuka na lang ako sa ahas!” (Might as well have myself bitten by a snake!). A novelty song was even recorded by Ramsey to capitalize on the catchphrase’s popularity.

LISTEN TO "Magapatuka Na Lang Ako sa Ahas"
and WATCH snippets of the "CLEOPATRA" TVC

The “The King & I” version  showing Gloria Romero as Anna, shining the bald head of the Siamese King (played by Aurelio Estanislao) while exclaiming “Konting kuskos, ayos!” , resulted in a diplomatic row that resulted in the pull-out of the TVC in 1978.  The Thai Embassy had complained that the scene was an affront to their King’s memory as it is forbidden to touch the head of the royalty. 

BARBIE, MAID IN THE PHILIPPINES, a movie character originated
by Joey de Leon, was borrowed by Superwheel for a 1989 commercial.
All through the 80s, the SUPERWHEEL campaign was updated with popular characters from the period, like Starzan, Barok, and Barbie--Maid in the Philippines.


The SUPERWHEEL campaign catapulted the PRC brand to great heights. By 1975, the non-soap market had grown rapidly, until it overtook the declining powder market. The age of the synthetic detergent bars had arrived—and when Procter & Gamble introduced its Mr. Clean Detergnet Bar  in 1977 to square off with SUPERWHEEL, the Great Detergent War was on.

Uploadedby ADMan 1909:
Uploaded by Albert Marc Justine Carreon: (Nov. 2, 2015)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

79. It's The Real Thing: NORA AUNOR Had a Pepsi Day!

In 1971, Nora Aunor’s star was on the rise.  The former Tawag ng Tanghalan champion turned teen actress, then just 18, was the toast of Philippine showbiz, with blockbuster movies and sold-soul records to her name.  Small and dark, she defied conventions to become a sort of a Philippine Cinderella, thus she drew widespread,  adoration and support  from her hordes of fans, mostly coming from the so-called “bakya” crowd.

Coca Cola was the first high-profile company that recognized her pulling power, so Coke offered her a lucrative endorsement contract, which allowed her to appear in the local adaptation of their global campaign with the slogan—“It’s The Real Thing”, first conceived in 1968.

Aunor did a TV commercial, and got a chance to sing the popular commercial jingle, too. She did full color magazine print ad spreads and her image appeared on merchandising materials. Fan photos of her—showing Aunor holding a bottle of Coke—were given out as sales promotion premiums.
Four years after her Coke endorsement, the soft drink rival, Pepsi Cola, did the unthinkable---the company enlisted her to promote Pepsi, the country’s then-best selling cola---in their “Have A Pepsi Day” campaign.

Aunor’s Coke appearance in the massive campaign was still fresh in the recent  memories of consumers. Aunor’s “turncoat-ism” was the talk of the industry, as such a move often undermined the credibility of the endorser. Her TV starts with Aunor defining what her Pepsi Day is—no film shootings, no recordings,  with lots of personal time, with bottles of Pepsi to refresh her.

To complete the casting coup, Aunor’s love team partner—Tirso Cruz III—was also signed up by Pepsi and did his own Pepsi Day ad. Of course, the Guy and Pip tandem had their own love team version too!

Today, of course, companies have less qualms about using the same talent or celebrity that once endorsed a product directly competitive to theirs. Sharon Cuneta has appeared in both McDonald’s and Jollibee ads. Carmina Villaroel  was in Nido and Lactum Milk commercials. And Maricel Soriano was a Modess endorser, then switched to Whisper pads. The shift in loyalty could be explained that since the endorser is now older, then he/she is also presumed to have grown much wiser, leading to smarter product decisions.  And advertisers leave it to the more educated today’s  consumer to discern that. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016


LITTLE MISS SHELLANE. Little Jackie Alipio (now Monteclaro) of Cavite, aged 5, in 
her official Shellane girl dress..

In 1965, SHELLANE COOKING GAS, was introduced by the international fuel company, Shell, to the Philippines.  At that time, Esso Gasul and Mobil Gas were the leaders in the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) market catering to a middle to lower class market that could afford gas stoves and ranges.


SHELLANE became the new alternative, and in 1966,  it began to be advertised and promoted aggressively to win a chunk of the growing middle class families of the later part of the 60s in the cusp of a new, progressive decade.


“Cook fast and tasty with SHELLANE!”, the launch print ads announced.  After all, cooking with gas—as opposed to wood—was efficient and precise, with just the right amount of concentrated heat needed to keep natural juices of food intact.

The SHELLANE tanks,  in 30 lb, or 110 lb. cylinders, were available in Shell agents nationwide. The promotional launch included selling SHELLANE gas with SHELLANE stoves that came with attractive giveaways like kitchen and stove utensils.


Equally appealing was the SHELLANE mascot, depicted by a sprite of a girl with her trademark tress sweeping upwards much like a tongue of flame. It was SHELLANE’s cute answer to Esso Gasul’s strange-looking lady mascot with a gas droplet for a head.


In 1967, SHELLANE gained more momentum when it launched the Search for Little Miss SHELLANE. Aimed at creating goodwill with the housewife, the contest revolved around the quest for a little girl from 4-6 years old that best personifies the Shellane mascot. She had to be photographed wearing a specially made Shellane outfit—a blue polka-dotted dress made from Gentex fabrics, and the picture submitted either through designated Shellane dealers or by mail.

From twenty five regional semi-finalists, 4 regional winners will be picked after live judging. From the 4 will emerge the grand winner—Little Miss SHELLANE OF 1968—who will win P5,000 and a host of appliances—from a cooking range to an air condition unit, refrigerator and kitchen appliances. In all, Php 33,000 was at stake for all the winners.


The first Little Miss SHELLANE was Joy Paguirigan. Apparently, the contest drew much buzz as to warrant a second edition in 1969. Arlene Arrieta emerged as Little Miss SHELLANE of 1969—and that would be the last year the contest was staged.

In 2013, SHELLANE was re-branded as SOLANE, after it was acquired by Isla Pretroleum and Gas Corp.--a Fil-Japanese company, from Shell. The name change was announced in a full-blown ad campaign that featured comedienne Eugene Domingo.


Interestingly, the major relaunch  included the search for the Little Miss SOLANE, thus reviving the pageant for little girls began over 50 years ago. This time though, the age requirements were raised to include girls 8-12 year olds (Cuties) and 13-16 years old (Teenies).

LITTLE MISSES SOLANE 2013, Cuties and Teenies winners.
Photo: The Manila Standard Today
The winners were Caryl Brianne Codina, 10, and Gabriella Louise Lopez, 14, respectively, crowned in a contest hosted by former Little Miss SHELLANE girl finalist, society girl-columnist-fashion plate Tessa Prieto-Valdes.


Video: youtube:

Photo of 2013 Miss Solane Winners: