Monday, November 28, 2016

84. SAN MIGUEL BEER: “O, Anong Sarap, Isa Pa Nga!” 1971

"O, ANONG SARAP...ISA PA NGA", one of San Miguel Beer's widely
 popular ad campaign with a tagline written by Hotdog member,
Dennis Garcia. ca. 1971

For decades now, San Miguel Corporation, led by its flagship product San Miguel Beer has consistently put out advertisements that make the Filipino proud. The signature beer product—SAN MIGUEL BEER PALE PILSEN—has celebrated the Filipino in his most positive facets.

The San Miguel Beer ad campaigns, in varying degrees, have toasted the Filipino at his best—his irrepressible sense of humor, his regard for tradition, his infectious optimism, and most of all, his taste for the good  life. These values find full expression in the campaign , “O, Anong Sarap! So good…ayos na ang kasunod!,” that was launched in 1971.

“O Anong Sarap!”, was the first Tagalog commercial ever for the country’s no. 1 beer. The landmark ad, produced by Philippine Advertising Counselors (PAC) ran for many years, and featured local showbiz stars—from Bert “Tawa” Marcelo to Dencio Padilla, Gary Lising, Cachupoy and Subas Herrero—a tradition by the brand started way back in the 1960s.

"BOSS", with Bert Marcelo & Subas Herrero

One major contributor to this campaign was a young 18 year-old copywriter who penned the tagline, and went on to create many more San Miguel Beer ads, jingles and slogans. Dennis Garcia—who would also gain fame by being a part of the iconic purveyor of original Pilipino music, the Hotdog Band---came up with “O, Anong Sarap—so good, ayos na ang kasunod!”He later re-wrote the second part into “Isa pa nga!”, which became even a more popular catchphrase, it replaced “so good…” permanently.

The agency was recognized for its pioneering use of Filipino talents, themes and values in its commercial in 1979 when PAC received the prestigious Tanglaw Awards from the 4 A’s (Association of the Advertising Agencies of the Philippines”.

After the dreadful Martial law years, San Miguel Beer continued to portray the vibrant and hopeful Pinoy spirit in its campaign “Ito ang Beer!”. Dennis worked on the San Miguel account again in 1990 when he was lured out of his expat job in Malaysia by McCann Erickson, to help keep the client in a multi-agency pitch. The chemistry resulted in the successful “Kahit Kailan, Kaibigan” campaign and helped McCann keep the multi-million-peso account .

“A big idea is big only once,” Dennis, once said. And that was what happened in 1971, when people lapped up his very first campaign for San Miguel Beer in 1971, and never had enough of it—“O, Anong Sarap! Isa Pa Nga!”

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

83. Creative Guild’s 1984 Print Ad of the Year: ASTRA THREADS, “SUPERMAN”

Creative Guild’s 1984 Print Ad of the Year: ASTRA THREADS, “SUPERMAN”, Ace-Compton

The Creative Guild’s very first Print Ad of the Year in 1983 “Superman” was a fitting testament to the sheer power of the image. It would also be the first among the eight winning ads coming from an apparent hotbed of print advertising excellence, Ace/Saatchi & Saatchi, then known as Ace-Compton. 

The client was Allied Threads, an established British thread manufacturer with worldwide operations, but whose product, ASTRA THREAD, was locally known only among neighborhood dressmakers.

“It was a low involvement product”, recalls Jimmy Santiago. “Who really cares much about thread!”.

The client, whose previous advertising experience involved no more than a few fashion posters and some technical TV material harping on the product’s strength, had walked into the Ace-Compton office and announced that they wanted to advertise their product in print.

It was, Santiago recalls, just the kind of job Ace-Compton loved—“A product that gave us the flexibility to be creative without worrying about global constraints”.

The product brief, recalls then creative director Mon Jimenez (now co-CEO of Jimenez/ DMB&B) contained such brass tacks, unappetizing product descriptions as fiber composition, thickness and the like. 

“If you looked at the thread under a microscope.” Jimenez recalls Astra’s titillating claims,”you would see the strands of cotton that made the product much stronger than cheaper products”.

While Jimenez and company sett;ed immediately upon strength as the chief selling point, Jimenez himself refused to take the reader through the whole microscope routine once again. 

In fact, he eschewed any use of scientific data altogether. “We needed a simple idea that would be its own proof, and idea so powerful it would sell itself.”

The questions were then asked, Who would need such prodigiously strong threads? And what image would make this benefit so clear that consumers wouldn’t feel the inclination to ask any more smart questions that the ad didn’t have the space nor the time to answer?

Santiago recalls that it was Jimenez who hit upon the Superman idea, singled out from among other less vivid options, ”and he was jumping up and down about it. How could you not be strong if you had Superman as an endorser?”

“Well, Superman certainly needed strong thread,” Jimenez assert. “And when people have accepted Superman who’s not exactly a real person, then there’ any danger of them looking at the ad and saying,”No, that’s not true”.

Art director Salvador Luna, production manager Rudy Maliglig and photographer Eduviges Huang worked on what was to be a cropped, colorful shot of Superman’s firm shoulder. The picture conveniently conceals the man of Steel’s face, and only a portion of the big, bold trademark on his chest is visible, but there was certainly no mistaking the subject for anybody else.

Superman;s eye catching blue jersey, accentuated by the nice drape of his solid red cape,is conspicuously torn at the shoulder. In an ingeniously contrasting image of gentle persuasion, a decidedly feminine pair of manicured hands, pinkies poised, is set to run a needle through the costume, using of course, you-know-who’s worthy product.

The visual was so clear, copywriters Margarita Arroyo and Alex Castro needed to top off the analogy with a single one-liner, prudently placed above the fine print on product composition and color variety. “Astra is Strength”, the text reads, and the product gets added distinction from the use of its logo.

Did it work?
Santiago reports that Astra became immediately identifiable—“It became most recognized among all other brands of threads”—and the print ad won a Clio citation.”It worked so well,” Jimenez adds,”that they eventually had to go to the serious stuff after that.” At least Superman had its day.

  • Creative Guild of the Philippines, 1984 PRINT AD OF THE YEAR
  • Creative Guild  of the Philippines, APRIL 1984 PRINT AD OF THE MONTH
  • Creative Guild of the Philippines, APRIL 1984, TV AD OF THE MONTH
  • Philippine Advertising Congress, AWARD OF EXCELLENCE, Print,1984
  • CLIO Awards, FINALIST CITATION, New York, 1984

PERFECT 10: A Decade of Creativity in Philippine Advertising, Published by the Executive Committe of the Creative Guild of the Philippines. 1995. Butch Uy, Alya Honasan

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


PRISCILLA aka Presentacion "Esen" Bataclan, Kolynos Girl

 KOLYNOS DENTAL CREAM was an American-made toothpaste brand created by Newell Sill Jenkins in 1908.  It was already being advertised in Philippine magazines in the 1930s. Radio then, was already becoming a popular medium for entertainment and promotion then and many companies in the U.S. used it as a channel for marketing. Kolynos was one such product known for program sponsorships.

Kolynos print ad, 1936. Graphic Magazine.

 In 1936, KZRM held auditions for radio singers and one of those who tried out was a 14 year-old high school sophomore from Cavite—Presentacion Bataclan. So impressed were the executives that they gave her a program of her own—The Kolynos Hour. She made her singing debut in 1936 under the screen name Priscilla. Known on-air as “Priscilla, the Kolynos Girl”, she would become the No. 1 radio personality of the Commonwealth Era.

Ariston Avelino and singer, Rafael Artigas.

 “The Kolynos Hour” ran for just fifteen minutes, every Mondays and Fridays—but it lasted for a good three years. Priscilla became a household name, and the radio station was besieged with fan mails (200 letters a week!) and requests for autographs. She earned the then incredible sum of Php 7.50 a show.

 The Kolynos Girl came to typify the toothpaste belle of radio at her likeable best, her toothsome smile and 14-karat crooning voice popularizing songs like Stardust, I’m in the Mood for Love, My Reverie, All the Things You Are, and When Your Love Has Gone. She recorded for RCA and later, Lebran, Bataan Excelsior and Villar Records.

KOLYNOS TOOTHPASTE AD, 1955. The Sunday Times Magazine

 In the next years to follow, until the outbreak of the War, Priscilla divided her time between the radio and the movies. During the Japanese Occupation, she performed at the Life Theater. It was while headlining a show at the Metropolitan Theater that she met her husband, musician-saxophonist Bernardo Aristorenas, whom she married in 1944.

PRISCILLA, as a professional singer, actress, 1951.

 After the war, Priscilla did camp shows for U.S. armed forces and became active again on-air when radio became a flourishing industry in the 1950s. She, along with the Mystery Singer (Cecil Lloyd), signed up with Station KZRH and got top billing in Philippine Refining Company-sponsored shows.

She free-lanced on “Pepsodent’s Hour (another toothpaste brand!), sang on “Vick’s Variety Show”in 1951 and was in the popular “Student Canteen”.

PRISCILLA, minding her gift shop "Eyeful" along Mabini St. 1966

 Overseas, Priscilla sang in Okinawa for a year at the Castle Terrace Club, then made the rounds of clubs in Taipei and Hong Kong. The Aristorenases returned to Manila in 1964 and put up a souvenir gift shop along Mabini St., called “Eyeful”.


 Today, the Kolynos Girl is now an nonagenarian, who resides in relative anonymity and quiet in Alabang Hills. Little does one know that for almost 3 decades, she ruled the airwaves as a singing product ambassador , a broadcast icon, and a leading voice in the golden age of the Philippine radio industry.

Sunday Times Magazine, 23 Nov. 1966
Literary Movies Magazine, 1951

Tuesday, November 8, 2016



CORTAL, was introduced in the early 50s as a revolutionary fever, colds and pain reliever. Cortal was basically an aspirin-based medication that has two more active ingredients that work synergistically to fight fever and pain, safely and quickly.

 Widely advertised and easily available, Cortal tablets became the most popular medicine for the relief of headache, fever, and colds—easing out other available medications like the U.S.made-Bayer. Even with the rise of another competitive brand, Cafiaspirina, Cortal’s market lead was insurmountable.

 As expected, other minor players in the analgesic market capitalized on Cortal’s success. In an age where there was no advertising board to police unfair advertising ng practices, another pain relief brand unabashedly copied Cortal’s winning marketing strategies.


Cortapen was the name of the pink tablet brand that fought head-on with Cortal. Its name alone—Cortapen—was similar to Cortal. While Cortal relief was “fast, safe, sure”, Cortapen promised to be “effective, immediate, reliable”.

 Cortal, in its advertising, introduced a sword-wielding mascot called ‘Captain Cortal”, as a symbolic figure “pain fighter”.

Cortapen responded with its own mascot—Corta, the “stop-pain cop”.


 The early print ads of Cortal followed a comic strip format—the Captain Cortal series--featuring short, problem-solution stories that appeared on weekly magazines,

Of course, Cortapen did the same—it ran its own comic strip ad with Corta.

 This kind of copycat advertising would have been prohibited today by the Philippine Board of Advertising, as the Cortapen ads are blatant rip-offs of Cortal’s creative executions. There is enough basis to warn Cortapen of unethical advertising practice—but this was in the mid 1950s, where ad rules and regulations were nonexistent.

 Cortapen would disappear from botica shelves in the early 1960s, while Cortal would soon be overtaken by the safer acetaminophen and paracetamol analgesics beginning in the late 1970s.

featuring NEIL ETHERIDGE (2011)

Cortal is still available today, reformulated and updated to meet the changing times. In fact, it continues to be advertised, although sparsely—a like this recent TV commercial featuring Neil Etheridge of the Philippine Azkals football team.