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,


  1. Sir, I think the Demise of Superwheel began when Tide decided to launch the "Nagkabistuhan Na" campaign in the mid-80s, where according to the said campaign, it proved that White bars clean better than Blue Bars (alluding to Superwheel and possibly Ajax).

  2. Mr. Clean (also of P&G) was launched earlier than Tide bar that was meant to compete with Superwheel. Mr. Clean's launch ad was "Siguro ang gumawa ng Mr. Clean--ay nanay din!".But it was the "Labadami, Labango" campaign in 1982 (or 1983) that affected Superwheel's market share.

    1. Superwheel was later repackaged as ''Sunlight'' in the early 90s. However, the product did not last long as it was phased out by 2000.

    2. Also, during the early 80s, Superwheel had a campaign spoofing Star Wars titled, "The Blue Bar". By the way, according to Pilak/4A's, the''Magapatuka''campaign was released in 1981, not 1976.

    3. Nope, the first Superwheel ad was launched sometime in 1975-76---but it continued thru the mid 1980s. I was a judge at the PILAK Awards, by the way.

  3. Sir Alex, is it possible if you could write a blog entry about the aggressive appliances campaigns from around the 70s-late 90s? Such appliances are Tecnogas and La Germania, who used several celebrities, as well as a quick usp in highlighting their respective produced.

    1. oops, products not produced. Thanks.

    2. OK, I have those in the pipeline.

  4. Still in the topic of Superwheel Detergent Bar, I read in a TV commercial-related forum somewhere that one of its members remembers a TV commercial promoting Superwheel's Tipid Size, which had the tagline, "Plus 50 grams free!" In what year did that "Tipid Size" ad came out?

  5. JUST IN: Mr. Jojo Bailon finally uploaded a copy of the ever-popular "Magpatuka ako sa ahas" Superwheel TV commercial. To watch, the link is here:

    And, BTW, the "Magpatuka" TV commercial was actually first released in 1978.

  6. I uploaded the "Magpatuka" ad, with the credit of Jojo Bailon/View On The 3rd.

    Here's the link:

  7. Are you looking for free YouTube Views?
    Did you know that you can get them ON AUTOPILOT AND ABSOLUTELY FREE by registering on You Like Hits?