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.