Monday, November 23, 2020

298. MILO vs. OVALTINE: The Battle for the Title of the Olympic Energy Drink

OVALTINE & MILO: Official Olympic Energy Drinks

OVALTINE was a chocolate malt drink that was reputedly first produced in Bern, Switzerland in 1865. Originally, it was called “Ovomaltine” as its formulation contains eggs, but a misspelling of the name on the trademark registration application led to the name being shortened to Ovaltine in English-speaking markets. OVALTINE was already advertised in the Philippines as early as 1925.

1972 OVALTINE Ad,Munich Olympics

Since its introduction, OVALTINE had a variety of health claims—from appetite builder, a recuperative drink for convalescing patients, fatigue alleviator, vitality and energy giver.

OVALTINE OLYMPIC AD, 1948. Credit: Alamy

When the Summer Olympics was held in Los Angeles, California, OVALTINE became one of the games’ sponsors—where it was to become the official Olympic energy drink, thus pre-dating MILO’s claim by over 35 years.  In fact, OVALTINE was the health drink sponsor in 9 Olympics!  

OVALTINE OLYMPIC 1948 Tin Sign, Credit: Pinterest

The local MILO print ads however, claimed otherwise: in 1968, it ran ads proclaiming MILO as the choice of the 1968 Olympics. In 1972, it stole the thunder from OVALTINE by headlining the claim in its ads that MILO is the “official energy drink of the Munich Olympics”.

MILO OLYMPIC AD "Official Energy Drink",1972

There was an attempt by OVALTINE to wrest that title from MILO, as that same year, it ran an ad that showed the brand’s consistent presence in successive Olympics from 1932-1972.  But the strip ad was no match for the media juggernaut of Nestlé. And too bad as well—at that time, there really was no advertising regulatory board that the makers of OVALTINE could go tom to file a complaint (the PBA was founded only in 1974).

MILO 1968 MEXICO OLYMPICS AD,  "Choice of the '68 Olympics

OVALTINE let it go, gave up without further fight, and continued with variable thematic promises,  while MILO picked up the “Olympic Energy” title and went to town with that strong, single-minded message in successful campaigns that went on for years, featuring the country’s best and brightest Olympians in its ads. OVALTINE'S loss is MILO's biggest gain.

Monday, November 16, 2020

297. Canada Dry’s UVA: The Country’s Favorite Grape-Flavored Soda of the ‘60s

UVA, Canada Dry's Popular Grape Soda, 1960

Canada Dry Beverages has a long history that started in 1904 with the production off the 1st ginger ale drink concocted by Ontario native Jonh J. McLoughlin. After his death in 1914, his brother Samuel took over the company but then sold it to P.. Saylor and Associates which put up CANADA DRY Ginger Ale Inc.

The business grew exponentially, and by the 1930s, CANADA DRY was available worldwide. From the 1950s onward, the company ventured into soft drinks and mixers, which proved also successful. CANADA DRY Beverages reached the country in the 1950s when the Canada Dry Bottling Co.  of the Philippines was put up in Parañaque, Rizal, by authority of the CANADA DRY International Corp. New York, U.S.A. 

UVA, 1962 AD

In 1959, CANADA DRY began pipelining their soda beverage bottled products through local sari-sari stores—Kola Champagne, Root Beer, True Fruit  Orange, Strawberry and UVA—a grape-flavored softdrink. Royal had attempted to popularize  grape sodas before, and so did other provincial brands—to lukewarm reception. But UVA changed all that—elevating grape soda closer to the level of orange-flavored softdrinks. 

UVA, Refreshes in a Wink! 1960

By 1960, UVA had independent ads, which  hailed its merits as a “lively,sparklingand refreshing drink”. “Refreshes in a wink!” was the thematic campaign line, used that year. Indeed, UVA enjoyed quite a measure of popularity and success in the Philippines in the 1960 decade. 

UVA, Lively! Sparkling! 1960

Soon after, in 1964 CANADA DRY was ought by Norton Simon took an interest in the company and it was merged with its other holdings, the McCall Corporation and Hunt Foods, to form Norton Simon Inc. The subsequent change of ownership and the politically charged 70s decade caused the closure of the CANADA DRY business in the country—and along with it, the end of UVA. Currently, the brand name UVA is being used by a Puerto Rican soda company that manufactures the grape-flavored softdrink touted as the island’s favorite.

Monday, November 9, 2020

296. BREACOL with XYLOPOL: Stops Cough Faster…Fastest! Print Ads 1957-1969


One of the leading cough medicines that enjoyed nationwide success in the 1950s  is BREACOL with XYLOPOL. It was a product of Sterling Drug, an American global pharmaceutical company before it merged with Winthrop-Stearns,Inc. It had performed exceedingly well in Latin American countries, and so, when it was time for BREACOL to be rolled out in Asia, the company chose to launch it in the Philippines in the mid 1950s, and later, in Singapore 

BREACOL, 1957 Ad

BREACOL with XYLOPOL claims to stop cough faster, in 5 ways: it destroys germs, soothes irritation, stops throat tickle, loosens phlegm and medicates deeply. Later, the “ideal cough remedy for the whole family”. In the days before the ad industry had a regulatory board, BREACOL even went for the superlative, by claiming that it “Stops Coughs Fastest”. 

BREACOL, 1958, 1959 "HIS 'n HERS" Ads

The first BREACOL ads had copy that were direct lifts from foreign ads, and had clip-art illustrations of foreign-looking models. For better appeal, spot color (Red) was added to the prints ads. Photography was rarely used.  For over a decade, BREACOL was a leading presence in the cough market, challenged by Vick Chemical Company, which was already I the market at just about the same time with its Vicks Cough Drops. In time, Vicks Cough Syrup was introduced as well, which was heavily pushed in print and the rising radio medium. 


BREACOL could not simply compete with the resources of Vicks (marketing giant Procter and Gamble took over it) as the latter cornered the cough and cold market with such products as Vaporub, Inhaler, cold tablet, and nasal drops.


After several years,  XYLOPOL seemed like old news. In 1969 BREACOL reformulated and rebranded itself as DEXTRO-BREACOL with DXM, in reference to the Dextromethorpan which suppresses the signals in the brain that trigger cough reflex. It was hardly a unique ingredient, as most cough syrups were also dextropmethorpan and guaifenesin-based. 


Still, BREACOL plodded on, supported by core loyalists who remember the 50s brand fondly. Happily the brand name is still around today, through the Singapore-based  Invida, a specialty pharma company formed by a joint venture between Quintiles, Temasek and Zuellig. Invida commercializes  different pharmaceutical products of superior quality and markets them worldwide. Invida counts BREACOL as one such proven brand.


Sterling Drug:

Monday, November 2, 2020

295. Brand Stories: MUM, The First Commercial Deodorant Brand, Print Ads 1959-1975

MUM, the 1st Commercial Deodorant Brand in the World, 1888

.The first commercial deodorant brand in the world is MUM Cream Deodorant, developed and created in Philadelphia back in 1888. It was a barrier-breaking personal hygiene product made with zinc compound, an active ingredient which chemically neutralizes odoriferous compounds and inhibits bacterial growth in a non-irritating way.

MUM "OUGHT TO BE TOLD" Campaign, 1959
The brand name "mum" means "to keep silent" as in the popular phrase and early on, it was sold in white, shallow cream jars. The user was advised to “apply MUM on underarms or other skin areas. For best results, smooth on gently until it disappears. Harmless to clothing and skin—can be used after shaving.Bristol-Myers bought the small company in 1931, and took MUM to greater heights and international popularity. 


MUM Cream Deodorant was launched in the Philippines towards the end of the 1950s, exclusively distributed by the Edward Keller  Co. & Ltd. with offices in Juan Luna St., Binondo. Advertising played aan integral part of its Philippine marketing, as the brand was actively advertising in the 1920s-40s.

MUM "Make Everybody Glad to See You", 1961

The first hand-illustrated print ads of MUM Cream Deodorant began appearing on the widely read Sunday Times Magazine in late 50s, primarily targeted to adult women and secondarily,  men. The print ad series utilized the original campaign theme “She/He ought to be told..”.


In 1952, Bristol-Myers originated a roll-on applicator with deodorant lotion, sold under the brand name BAN Roll-On, available in 1954.  The same roll-on product was introduced in the Philippines as MUM Rollette, and the new “no mess, no drip, no waste” packaging was advertised locally in 1959 to wide consumer acclaim.

In no time at all, MUM was enjoying wide popularity in the country, challenged by a few deodorants like the fast-rising VETO and Odor-O-No. MUM was available in the Philippines throughout the 60s and 70s, and had its share of memorable TV advertising, one of which was the “MUM-yayakap” (“Hugger”) campaign. 


The rise of new deodorant aerosols, and alternative body sprays catering to the young market (Baan, Right  Guard, Impulse) , pushed MUM away from the shelves, as held an image as a feminine brand for adult women.  Tactical campaigns were launched to make MUM more appealing to the youth, thru redesign of the packaging and logo, and mother-daughter advertising.  By the 1980s, MUM was on its way out of the Philippine market until it disappeared altogether.

 In 2004, Doetsch Grether AG  (Pharma/ OTC/ Consumer Care) took over the license for  MUM and now market the brand for for Europe,  Middle East and 2017, Australia and New Zealand. In U.K. MUM is made by Dendron Ltd,under license from Procter & Gamble.


Doetsch Grether AG ,

Dendron Ltd. :


The Sunday Times Magazine

Sunday, October 25, 2020

294. ROYAL SPAGHETTI of California Manufacturing Company, 1962-79

ROYAL SPAGHETTI, New Packaging, 1968

The Philippine manufacturing plant known as the California Manufacturing Company (CMC) began operations in 1955, and its pioneer product was the iconic ROYAL line of pasta products. The most popular of course, is ROYAL SPAGHETTI, which, from the 60s until today, continues to be a familiar sight in daily meals, birthday, fiesta celebrations and holidays.


There was even a canned version of ROYAL SPAGHETTI, complete with meatballs, launched in 1962, but did not take off, as it is the habit of most Filipinos to prepare and customize their own spaghetti and pasta dishes. ROYAL SPAGHETTI was packed in yellow and red cardboard cartons with the familiar “Royal” font that has remained unchanged over the years. Also aavailable was ROYAL Macaroni, in shell and elbow types.


ROYAL also joined the instant noodle bandwagon in 1978, with its Chicken and Beef variants in pouches (“Noodles na mainit…in just two minutes!) , but it was its pasta flagship brand that would remain consistently popular. The advertising was handled for the longest time by Pacifica Publicity Bureau, and its memorable campaigns included the “Royal celebration” campaign, rolled out in the Christmas of 1968.

 In 2014, Food and beverage firm RFM Corp.acquired the ROYAL Pasta brand from the Unilever Group, which had bought CMC in 2000.  ROYL thus joined RFM’s own pasta line under the “Fiesta” brand, still in exsistence today. The transaction was valued at over P2 Billion, which covers mainly the Royal brand and inventories. For 6 decades now, ROYAL SPAGHETTI continues to be a bestseller, made to match with a whole new line of pasta sauces, for taste variety.


AGENCY: Pacifica Publicity Bureau

Creative Director: Nonoy Gallardo

Copy Group Head: Vince Pozon

Copywriter: Betty Ann Quirino

CLIENT: California Manufacturing Corp. (CMC)

Wednesday, October 21, 2020



Today, the name 7-11 is associated with the all-night convenience store that originally opened from 7 am. to 11 pm. that opened in Dallas, Texas way back in 1946. The first name was “Tote’em Store” but was changed to reflect the extended operating hours.

In 1960, a new cigarette was launched in the Philippines called 7-11 MILD CIGARETTES. No, it had nothing to do with the 7-11 convenience stores in the U.S., but the cigarettes were named after a dice game called “craps” . It involves rolling the dice and getting a 7 and an 11 to win.


In a time where cigarette advertising in the Philippines was not yet regulated, the full page ads 7-11 MILD CIGARETTES only contained the information: ‘a blend of choice burley and Virginia tobacco’. Even the manufacturer’s name is not indicated,  but it looks like a local cigarette company that produced this brand.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

292. Childhoood Memories at our Feet: MIGHTY KID of RUBBERWORLD Phils. Inc. 1984

Rubberworld Philippines Inc. was once a giant shoe manufacturer of the country, maker of such iconic brands as Spartan, Kaypee,  Grosby and the super popular children’s brand –MIGHTY KID, launched in the early 1980s.

The fashionable kiddie shoes for school and play, caught the eye of parents and kids, with their snazzy color combinations, and Velcro straps that made the shoes so easy to put on. 

To top it all, a MIGHTY KID mascot pushed the brand to greater heights, a flying superhero who appeared in commercials, appeared in events and used in merchandising displays.

So successful was the brand, that MIGHTY KID expanded its product line from shoes to trendy children’s wear. As predicted, the kiddie fashions sold very well

 MIGHTY KID was an active advertiser, creating mainstream and seasonal advertise such as this Christmas commercial:


Uploaded by oblaxz2007, 14 March 2010 

In 1990, Rubber World employed rising young international singer and 1989 Junior Star Search champion  Josephine “Banig” Roberto to appear in a MIGHTY KID commercial. But 4 years after, plagued by internal turmoil that led to court cases, ceased its operations, leading to the demise of  MIGHTY KID Shoes. But children growing up in the 80s still remember the multicolored sneakers that they wore out in school and at play and the MIGHTY KID mascot who kept the brand flying high for a good number of years.



Gilbert commercial. Rubberworld. Mighty Kid!, uploaded by oblaxz2007, 14 March 2010: