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.

(Credits: Jojo Bailon, VOT3)

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)
Uploaded by vibesey,

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: