Tuesday, August 23, 2016

73. Brand Icons: Alaska Milk’s ALASKA BOY (MICHAEL UYTENGSU)

MICHAEL UYTENGSU, was widely believed to be the model of the "Alaska Boy" on the paper label
of the popular Alaska Milk, introduced in the early 1970s,by Holland Milk International, a company established by Michael's father, Wilfredo Uytengsu Sr.

In the early 70s, the Holland Milk Products Inc., a partnership between General Milling Corp. and the Dutch-based Holland Canned Milk International, was established by business magnate Wilfredo Uytengsu Sr. The first product the new company manufactured was a canned filled milk brand called ALASKA MILK.

ALASKA MILK came in tin cans and featured an illustrated close-up picture of a smiling, fair-haired boy in a blue turtle neck on the paper label. The face of the so-called ‘Alaska Boy” would soon become a familiar brand icon, his pleasant looks ingrained in the national consciousness,  helping transform the newbie brand into a formidable player in the Philippine milk market.

TVC 30s here:

The success of the brand was propelled by an aggressive advertising campaign bannered by the slogan “Wala pa ring tatalo sa ALASKA!” and an unforgettable 1974 TV commercial featuring the 1970 NBA draft Israel “Cisco” Oliver who played in the very first season of  the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) . The 6’6” cager was challenged by a young, Alaska Milk-drinking kid, Michael Uytengsu, the son of  Wilfredo Sr., in a “One on One” basketball challenge.

Alaska TVC with Cisco Oliver. 1974.

Michael Uytengsu was also featured prominently in ALASKA MILK print ads, alongside milk cans of both filled milk and condensed milk variants.  People began noticing the striking similarities between the boy on the label and Michael, giving rise to a widely believed story that he is the same “Alaska Boy” on the product label.

ALASKA MILK PRINT AD. Woman's Home Companion. 1975.

Of course, they were two different “people”.  Alaska Milk  Corp., in its website, would clarify the story: “The Alaska boy on the label of some of the Alaska Milk products is an artist’s rendition of a fictional character with brown/ blond hair and blue eyes. This trademark device came with the purchase of the Alaska milk brand from Holland Milk Products Inc (Netherlands). All trademark owners of the Alaska brand use an Alaska boy on their label though the rendition may differ depending on the country”.

 A tetra-packed flavored milk product produced by his father's company.

ALASKA MILK was not the only milk brand that Michael Uytengsu endorsed, he also did print ads for Daisy Milk, a read-to-drink milk brand also from Holland Milk, that came in tetra packs. Eventually, her sister Candice, became the solo model in Daisy Milk’s TV ads.

Michael briefly became the real face of another product--Alaska Quick Cooking White Oats. The product, however was short-lived.

MICHAEL UYTENGSU, today, is a U.S. resident and has a thrivinng
luxury wine business.

In the end, it was only the  “One-on-One” ALASKA MILK commercial of Michael Uytengsu that would attain national fame, now considered a classic in Philippine advertising history.


youtube video: Uploaded by Josh Howard, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3F-20ld720,

Monday, August 15, 2016


The most famous  local shoe brand of the Commonwealth era—ANG TIBAY—was started by the successful Filipino industrialist, Teodoro Toribio (b,1887/d.1965) back in 1910. His ‘rags-to-riches’ story began when the impoverished Teodoro left school to work in a cigar factory for 80 centavos a week.

The ambitious boy, however, had other ideas.  At age 20, he learned slipper-making in a Calle Juan Luna shop and after 3 years of working, he had saved enough to start his own hole-in-the-wall slipper business along Rizal Avenue which he named “Ang Tibay”.

The business flourished  and soon, Toribio was exporting to Hawaii. His chain of slipper shops included 15 Manila and 2 provincial branches.  From slippers, Toribio began making shoes after acquiring a second-hand shoe machine.

His business boomed even more, and he became known as  the “King of Slippers and Shoes”. His large, art deco-style  factory in Caloocan, near the Bonifacio Monument, produced shoes and slippers by the hundreds of thousands, and worn by everyone—from the man on the street to high society people.

A believer in modern advertising, Teodoro even had a slogan for Ang Tibay—"The Wear That Lasts". His best endorsers were the people who wore his shoes, and many of these were men and women of influence whom he hobnobbed with, as his stature as a respected industrialist grew. His high profile clients included top executives, ranking government officials, educators,  and even at least two presidents!

They willingly allowed their likenesses to be used in small ads that appeared in the leading magazines in their day, particularly Graphic Magazine.

Ang Tibay became the premier shoe factory in Asia, a testament to the modern industrial development in the Philippines. Teodoro became a millionaire many times over, allowing him to go on trips around the world.  He was named as one off the “Big 4” of the Philippines—based on his wealth and success. 

At its height, there was practically a pair of  “Ang Tibay” shoes in every Filipino home. His product line included basic shoes, customized-made-to-order shoes for the elite, and even combat boots, which were worn by thousands of Filipino soldiers who went to war.

Teodoro’s “Ang Tibay” business survived the post-war years, but by the end of the 60s decade, it started to feel the effects of international competition  as Japan and China overtook the Philippines in industrializing their industries. The situation was exacerbated by corruption, political instability and the changing taste of the market. 

True, “Ang Tibay” was a heritage brand, but it was also looked at as old and passé. The descendants of Toribio continued with shoemaking using different brand names.

“Ang Tibay” may have come and gone, but for sure, it has its place in history, shodding the feet of several generations of Filipinos—from every Juan to the highest executive of the land. It is not only the wear that lasts, but also the legacy of one Toribio Teodoro.

  • PRES. MANUEL L. QUEZON (b.19 Aug. 1878/d. 1 Aug. 1944) was a Filipino statesman, soldier, and politician who served as president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines 1935-1944 
  • SEC. ELPIDIO QUIRINO (b. 16 Nov. 1890/d. 29 Feb. 1956) was a Filipino politician of who served as Quezon’s Secretary of Interior and Finance , and who became the sixth President of the Philippines, 1948 -53. 
  • DR. CAMILO OSIAS (b. 23 Mar. 1889/d. 20 May 1976 ) was a Filipino politician, twice for a short time President of the Senate of the Philippines. 
  • DR. FRANCISCO BENITEZ (b. 4 Jun. 1887/30 June 1951) was an outstanding educator, author, editor, and the first dean of the School of Education of the University of the Philippines. 
  • SEC. EULOGIO RODRIGUEZ (b. 21 Jan. 1883/d. 9 Dec.1964) was a Filipino politician and a long-serving Senate President after Quezon. 
  • DON RAMON FERNANDEZ (b. 12 Apr.1878/ 10 Nov. 1964) was a prominent businessman, who became Manila mayor (1920-23), and later, a senator. 
  • DON RAFAEL PALMA (b 24 Oct. 1874 /24 May 1939) was a Filipino politician, Rizalian, writer, educator and a famous Freemason. He became the fourth President of the University of the Philippines. 
  • DON GONZALO PUYAT  (b. 20 Sep. 1878/d. 5 Feb. 1968) was an industrialist who started the "House of Puyat" that became well-known as a premiere maker of furniture, billiard tables, bowling alleys and steel mill products. 
  • DR. JOSE REYES (b. 5 Dec. 1899/d.1973) was the youngest Dean of the University of the Philippines Junior College, Cebu. 
  • HON FELIPE BUENCAMINO JR., was an assemblyman, from Nueva Ecija 
  • DON PRUDENCIO REMIGIO was a prominent Manila attorney and former member of the Philippine legislature. 
  • MR.FELIX BAUTISTA was an assistant solicitor general of Department of Justice 
  •  ASSOC. JUSTICE ANTONIO VILLA-REAL (b. 17 Jan. 1880/ 12 Feb. 1945) was a Filipino jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. 
  • USEC LEON GUINTO (b. 28 Jun 1896/d.10 Jul. 1962) was a distinguished public servant from the Commonwealth period up to the post-war era, best known as the war-time Mayor of the City of Manila in the Philippines. 
  • ARCH. TOMAS MAPUA (b. 21 Dec. 1888/ 22 Dec. 1965) was the founder and first president of the Mapúa Institute of Technology (MIT) , established in 1925. He was the first registered architect of the Philippines. 
  • GEN. VICENTE LIM (b. 24 Feb. 1888/ d. 31 Dec. 1944) was a brigadier general and World War II hero, the first Filipino graduate of West Point (Class of 1914).

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

71. Creative Guild's 1984 TV Ad of the Year: MAGNOLIA "60 FLAVORFUL YEARS"

1984 Creative Guild of the Philippines Best TVC, MAGNOLIA 60 FLAVORFUL YEARS MAGNOLIA 60 Flavorful Years is an Ace-Compton masterpiece which took all of 6 months to plan, execute and produce.

 It won the Creative Guild of the Month for January 1985, and emerged as the top TVC of the year for 1984. The commercial shows how Magnolia, the finest name in dairy products, lends its flavorful presence to Philippine life at its merriest.

 “Magnolia—fills life with flavor!”…so the jingle goes, and at once, Filipino festivities past and present spring to life as if straight from an old picture album. These period scenes, also reproduced on the commemorative calendar, were painstakingly recreated and shot in a dozen locations, involving a cast of hundreds. Indeed, everybody involved in the making of the commercial have enough memories to fill their diaries and journals.

For one thing, this was the last commercial directed by the late Ed Claudio, who passed away in the middle of shooting the Magnolia ad. And, it is in this commercial that composer Jose Mari Chan makes a rare comeback to compose the jingle melody, beautifully sang by Pat Castillo.

 JIMMY F. SANTIAGO, Creative Director 
This is the first ad I ever did which had 8 pre-production meetings. The storyboards kept changing at the rate of 5 frames a day! And we never had so much studies for a jingle! For the fireworks display, we had to shoot in Bulacan, only to have that scene replaced by the one done in Japan! But I knew right from the start that the final storyboard had all the qualities of a truly outstanding commercial. And the creative awards it had won, proved it.

 JONJIE DE LOS REYES, Account Supervisor 
One day, I just suddenly found myself being named as the account supervisor for a special Magnolia project daw! Next thing I knew, hayun—nasa pressure cooker na ako. In the course of the project, my A.E. Sandra Puno gae birth. Then I got pregnant! Haayyy! But when Client’s hapy I’m happy. Now, every time I see this commercial, I see it as a “labor” of love.

 ALEX R. CASTRO, Writer 
I wrote the jingle lyrics in one evening. Next day, present kaagad. Approved on the spot, without revisions. Aba, OK! Kasi, pag pina-revise pa, I was ready to change the line to—Magnolia, fills life with labor!. That approval made my day!

 MARIO SARMIENTO, Casting Director
Subukan nga ninyong mag-cast ng 100 talents to portray family members of 3 generations? Nakaka-loka!


What gives this world its many colors 
Love, a special fervor 
What makes moments so much sweeter 
What fills life, our lives with flavor? 

 Through the years, what brings the laughter 
In all kinds of weather 
What makes minutes last forever 
What fills life, our lives with flavor? 

 Magnolia, fills life with flavor 
Magnolia,fills life with flavor 
For 60 flavorful years…it’s Magnolia. 
Magnolia, fills life with flavor 
Magnolia, fills life with flavor 
For 60 flavorful years, it’s Magnolia  
For 60 delighful, wonderful, flavorful years ..it’s Magnolia! 

1. Unfortunately, no print exists of this Creative Guild TV Ad of the Year 1985. Only the jingle survived, and it is included in the CD of commercial jingles done by award-winning composer, Jose Mari Chan. In the finals, the Magnolia commercial edged out San Miguel Beer’s “Tuloy ang Pasko”
2. The Radio counterpart of this commercial won the 1985 Radio of the Month for January.
3. The end shot featuring fireworks writing the name ‘Magnolia’ cost Php 35,000 per set up, a tidy sum then.

 ADVERTISER: SMC-Magnolia Corporation 
AGENCY: Ace-Compton Advertising, Inc. 
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Jimmy F. Santiago / Cid Reyes 
ART DIRECTOR: Kits Yamsuan / COPYWRITER: Alex R. Castro 
CASTER: Mario Sarmiento 

UNITEL DIRECTORS: Ed Claudio, Boldy Tapales 
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Carding Baltazar 
COMPOSER: Jose Mari Chan / ARRANGER: Louie Ocampo 
SINGER: Pat Castillo 

Source: Article originally appeared on PATALASTAS, newsletter of the 4 A's of the Philippines. 1984.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

70. You’ll Like This Very Mucho: FRESS GUSTO TVC 1975-78

A new, but short-lived San Miguel Corp. bottled softdrink was introduced in 1975, with much hoopla, accompanied by a TVC, a catchy jingle and a boy talent who would make waves years later in the music scene. New FRESS GUSTO was a root-beer drink that was set to rival Cosmos’ Sarsaparilla.

FRESS GUSTO BOTTLE, courtesy of Jorge E. Ferrer

Its assigned ad agency, J. Romero and Associates came up with a festive commercial inspired by a Mexican fiesta. As such, the production involved scores of “paisanos” celebrating the coming of new softdrink in their ‘pueblo’, led by a boy who enthuses—“Refreshing FRESS GUSTO, you’ll like it very mucho, come and get it, amigo!”.

 The boy cast to appear in the commercial was no other than Gary Valenciano, who was just 11 when the ad was shot.

 The Filipino-Puerto Rican talent was a La Salle schoolboy when he made his first TV appearance in that ad. His energy was already apparent in his performance back then. A choir singer, Valenciano would launch his showbiz career at age 19 in Kuh Ledesma concertss, and TV shows like ‘The Pilita and Jackie Show, and later in Germspesyal and Penthouse Live.

He had his first solo concert in April 1984 at the Araneta Coliseum, and made many hit recordings. Today, the multi-awarded “Mr. Pure Energy” is still active in showbiz. He is married to Angeli Pangilinan with whom he has 3 children: Gabriel, Paolo and Kristiana Maria Mikaela.

 As for FRESS GUSTO, we wish we could say the same. After the novelty of its launch died down, the product floundered until it was “killed” by SMC in just 2 years.

Friday, July 22, 2016



In 1986, Coca-Cola launched a new international advertising campaign—“Tomorrow’s People”, which put the spotlight on young people as the “hope of the world”. Several countries were picked to have their own local version—like Peru, Colombia, Brazil, China, Korea, Japanese, Germany, Argentina, Portugal--and of course, the Philippines. When Coca-Cola embarked on a worldwide search for the lead singer of each country, Lilet’s voice tape was recommended for approval by the local Coke agency, McCann-Erickson Philippines.

LILET'S COKE TVC, English version, 1987

The rising teen star, a mainstay of the popular TV variety show, “That’s Entertainment”, was chosen to go to Liverpool, England to shoot the Philippine version of the popular Coke commercial. “Tomorrow’s People”, was shot in Liverpool over a period of 3 days.

Each country talent—in this case, Lilet-- started off the commercial, by singing the first few lines of the ‘anthem’—“I am the future of the world, I am the hope of my nation, I am tomorrow’s people, I am the new inspiration..”. Lilet was then joined by about a thousand young kids who were paid 96 pounds and given all the Coke they could drink.

LILET'S COKE TVC, Pilipino version

When the local version was aired in 1987, Lilet’s popularity soared. McCann-Erickson had to hurriedly shoot a second all-Filipino version of “Tomorrow’s People”, with the jingle translated in Pilipino. Hundreds of Filipino kids were assembled in an outdoor location to join Lilet, replicating the original English version.

 The idea of an international shooting for a local version of a campaign was something new and unexpected then. It used to be that the local agency just shot its own version, following the global ad, frame by frame. So Lilet’s commercial was met with much excitement and national pride.


Of course, rival Pepsi Cola followed suit with its “The Choice of the New Generation Campaign”, that followed the same formula, but this one, even better. In Pepsi’s case, an international star was assigned to perform with a local artist. For the Philippine version, rocker Gino Padilla was handpicked to sing with the legendary Tina Turner. But nobody can deny that Coca Cola’s “Tomorrow’s People” had more heart, with a sincere message delivered simply and memorably by the voices of the world’s youth, led by a Filipina teen, Lilet.

Coke Classic Filipino Ad, uploaded by ADman1909
Lilet and That Coke Advertisement, uploaded by Oliver Damian 


 Photos: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44530129

Thursday, July 14, 2016

68. Brand Icons: Nestle’s TITA MAGGI (MENCHU GENATO)

EVERYONE'S TITA--TITA MAGGI OF MAGGI NOODLES. As personified by the charming
Menchu Genato, a Maryknoll graduate, ca. 1981.

One of the most famous brand characters ever to be created to promote a line of products was the charming and appealing Tita Maggi. It was in the late 70s that Ace-Compton Advertising conceived of this young “tita” (aunt) to initially launch its new brand of instant, quick-cooking noodles—Maggi Rich Mami Noodles.

 The result was a fresh, endearing kitchen personality in a red and yellow outfit, complete with a yellow apron and a yellow chef’s hat—Tita Maggi-- which differentiated her completely from other female product endorsers at that time, who were either old, matronly or caricatur-ish.

GENATO, in a Westinghouse print ad, 1975

 When it was time to cast Tita Maggi, the agency picked an accomplished beauty-and-brains Maryknoll graduate, Carmencita “Menchu” Genato. Her credentials were impeccable: Menchu came from a well-known Spanish-Filipino family with roots in Manila and Zamboanga, that counted athletes and achievers (grandfathers Gil Fargas and Dr. Jose Genato Sr., competed in the Far East Games, grandmother Sarah Xeres-Burgos Genato was a champion bowler, uncle Antonio was basketball Olympian, brother Pepito was in the national soccer team, cousin Dyan Castillejo was a tennis champ), and beauty queens (Rosario Genato and Carmen Fargas were Carnival beauties).

TITA MAGGI, intro ad for Maggi Instant Mami Noodles.

In her college day, Menchu, herself, had been one of the Top 10 Outstanding Coeds of the Philippines (along with Marilou Diaz-Abaya). As one of the country’s prettiest faces, she dabbled in commercial modeling, mostly print ads. Right after graduation in 1974, San Miguel Corp. offered her a job as PR coordinator for Magnolia, which certainly helped prepare her for her role as Tita Maggi .


Soon, Menchu became even more visible when she forayed into TV and appeared as Bebs in the comedy series “Baltic and Company”(1974-1976) based on the comic strip of Roni Santiago that featured characters like Mr. Baltic (Prospero Luna), Miss Tapia (Mely Tagasa), Johnny the Janitor (Bert Marcelo) and Angelo Castro as her love interest.

 Then came her biggest break. A lucrative modeling contract with Nestle Philippines, which was set to launch the Maggi line of noodles, pre-cooked foods and sauce. She was the perfect choice—embodying the qualities of a young, happy homemaker (by then, she was already married to TV sports journalist Joaquin “Quinito” Henson), ready to spread the message of good taste to a generation of kids as their own “tita”.

 To Nestle’s delight, the first Maggi Rich Mami Noodles advertising campaign with Tita Maggi turned out to be well-received and successful. In time, Tita Maggi began appearing in an array of ads for Maggi Seasoning, Maggi Cook-it-Right Mix, Maggi Bouillon and Maggi Noodles ‘n Sauce.

TITA MAGGI, with other Nestle endorsers like Milo's Bea Lucero and
Bear Brand Mascot

Menchu became one of the busiest talents of the ad industry—when not shooting commercials and print ads, she was appearing in corporate shows, welcoming guests like famous TV chef Stephen Yan, hosting cooking programs, making the rounds of schools with her noodle-feeding drive, doing interviews and fulfilling commitments as an official Maggi brand ambassador. (Note: As Tita Maggi, she was always in character and was not allowed to be seen wearing an incomplete uniform in corporate shows).


 In her heyday, Tita Maggi was one of the most recognizable faces on TV, mobbed by hundreds of adoring kids and mothers wherever she went. There was a Tita Maggi Homemakers Club , and even a Tita Maggi doll made in her likeness. In between, Menchu found time to have a family with her husband; a daughter, Cristina, was born in 1983.


 When the run was over, the Tita Maggi campaign proved to be one of the most successful, most enduring campaigns in Philippine advertising history, spanning a period of some 20 years. Menchu went back to her San Miguel job in charge of Monterey, rose to become Vice president for marketing and retired in 1995. After retiring from San Miguel, she became a real estate broker and now helps her mother-in-law, Marina, in her insurance business. She also heads a foundation that assists abused women.

MENCHU 'TITA MAGGI' GENATO NOW.: therealdeanquinito FB page

 And yes, Tita Maggi gets recognized even to this day, by kids from the ‘80s and ‘90s, who once watched her commercials and introduced them to the world of Maggi—known for good taste the world over!

Quinito Henson and Menchu Genato--Why They Love Squash--the Healthiest of Sports. http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/53415/quinito-henson-and-menchu-genato%E2%80%93why-they-love-squash-%E2%80%98the-healthiest-sport%E2%80%99

Love of My Life, by Joaquin Henson. Sporting Chance. 12 April.2012. www.philstar.com 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

67. Creative Guild TV Ad of the Month, Dec. 1987: KNORR REAL CHINESE SOUP

The film, “The Last Emperor”, was making waves in Hollywood in 1987 when Pacifica Publicity Bureau launched  KNORR REAL CHINESE SOUP produced  an intro commercial with lush imageries inspired by the said movie. It was entitled "Kowloon"
KNORR SOUP, with Richard Tan. Print Ad, 1987

Knorr Chinese Soups, with their one of a kind flavor-- captured the authentic taste of the real thing—with just the addition of one egg! The product was The commercial this came alive with  a jingle-based commercial that came across as genuinely Chinese.

There was a character who looked suspiciously like PuYi  (the last emperor) garbed in similar costume mouthing a memorable line, “GoodAh!”, a court attendant with a high-pitched voice (a eunuch?) and a pleasant singing presentor who cracks an egg on the head of an attendant who sounds like a high pitch court eunuch.

Then, there's a Westernized Oriental in the person of singer Richard Tan (before he added an extra “n” to his name), who looked dapper in a tuxedo. Unfortunately, there is no existing print of this winning "Kowloon" TVC, but the jingle, composed by prolific songmaker Jose Mari Chan could be heard here.


A 30-second version waslater created to ride on the momentum of the ad's popularity, entitled "Last Emperor", minus Richard Tan.

TVC 30s(2nd version "Last Emperor") here:

The  popular Knorr Chinese Soup (“Kowloon”) commercial, with the Crab and Corn flavor as lead variant, was directed by well-known director, Boldy Tapales. It was voted by members of the Creative Guild of the Philippines as the best as the top ad for December, and by the year’s end, competed against an array of monthly finalists—including favorites, won by the sleek, technically-produced TVC of Shell Brake Fluid.

ART DIRECTOR: Danny Arada   /  COPYWRITER: Carmille Agana
ACCOUNT: Anna Domingo
DIRECTOR: Boldy Tapales     /   ASST. DIRECTOR: Mae Paner
CLIENT: California Manufacturing Corp.

1987 Creative Guild Ad of the Year Program
de la Torre, Visitacion. History of Advertising in the Philipiines, Torre Publishing. Manila.