Sunday, May 29, 2016

62. Brand Names That Became Everyday Pinoy Words #3: FRIGIDAIRE (Pridyider)

Almost all refrigerators have come to be called as "Pridyider" by folks growing up in the  60s,. thanks to "Frigidaire", a brand made by General Motors. The brand, introduced in 1958, also gave us the term "fridge", the diminutive of refrigerator. Print ad. 1961.

Like the television, the electric refrigerator was first introduced in the Philippines in the 1950s. Before that, housewives preserved their food in ice boxes, cooled by ice. One of the earliest refrigerator brands to reach the Philippines was called “FRIGIDAIRE”. It was such a very popular brand—despite the availability of other  refrigerator brands like Felda, Electrolux, Admiral (distributed by Yutivo Steel) and General Electric—that after while, Filipinos started to refer to any refrigerator as “FRIGIDAIRE” (or “pridyider”).


The “FRIGIDAIRE” brand had its beginnings in 1913 when the first electric refrigerator was offered in the market. . Alfred Mellowes redesigned it in 1915 and the next year,  the Guardian Frigerator Company was put up in Detroit, Michigan  to manufacture Mellowes' refrigerator. General Motors bought the company in 1918 and named its refrigerator “FRIGIDAIRE”, which they mass-produced and marketed. The new breakthrough home appliance provided much convenience in preserving and storing food like never before and families quickly began snapping them up.

By 1929 FRIGIDAIRE had sold one million units and business expanded exponentially. The product was further improved in  1931, when FRIGIDAIRE scientists developed Freon--a safe and revolutionary coolant. In 1958,  FRIGIDAIRE rolled out its  50 millionth product and became worldwide bestseller. That same year, FRIGIDAIRE was introduced in the Philippines, where it was manufactured by Refrigeration Industries Inc., with the full technical backing of General Motors Corp. Refrigeration Industries Inc. was a 100% Filipino-owned subsidiary of the Gregorio Araneta Inc, with an assembly and manufacturing plant in Quezon City.

1965 FRIGIDAIRE AD, expounds on the refrigerator's durability.

The early "Sheer Look" FRIGIDAIRE models had many modern features like instant internal lighting, easy-pull out shelves, hydrator bin, and egg and butter compartments. Initially, they were exclusively distributed by the American company, Erlanger and Galinger Inc., which had branches in Cebu, Bacolod, and Davao. Later, they could be seen at the showrooms of  United General Industries, Inc, and even Botica Boie.


Other outlets were quickly added nationwide—Pioneer Appliances, Inc., Cosmopolitan Jewelry, Merit Merchandising and DMC (Distributors and Marketing Corporation) and its provincial branches.

“First name you think in refrigeratorsFRIGIDAIRE” was bannered in early product ads—which apparently was true since the brand name became top-of-mind among many upper and middle class Filipino families. 

PRIDYIDER, horror movie poster
FRIGIDAIRE would go on and produce its first air cooled window air conditioners,  first compact electric range, and the first laundry center with washer and dryer—but Filipinos would always associate the name only with refrigerators.

Eventually, “pridyider” became an everyday word in our language, finding its way into our pop culture. There was even a top-notch MICAA basketball team in the late 70s called “FRIGIDAIRE" and at least two horror movies involving a “Pridyider” were produced.

In 1979, White Consolidated Industries (WCI) bought Frigidaire from General Motors, which, in turn was purchased by AB Electrolux of Sweden in 1986.

Electrolux continues to produce FRIGIDAIRE refrigerators today. One thing remained constant in this fast-changing world; then, as now, we call refrigerators--"Pridyider!"

Monday, May 23, 2016

61. Promotional Premiums: CAFE PURO FOLK DANCE GLASSES, 1967

INSTANT CAFE PURO FOLK DANCE GLASS PROMO, Launch Print Ad, featured the ceremonial dance of the Maranaos, called "Singkil". It was popularized by the world-famous Bayanihan Dance Troupe. 1967.

Cafe Puro Folk Dance Glasses
INSTANT CAFE PURO was a product of the original Commonwealth Foods Inc. that was founded in 1951. 

It produced ground coffee beginning in 1952 and in 1956, ComFoods Inc. opened the country’s first instant and soluble coffee manufacturing plant. 

Café Puro—known for its brewed coffee taste—became its flagship brand. By the 60s, Cafe Puro was an established local coffee brand that became very popular nationwide.

In 1967, flavor-rich Instant Café Puro, launched a promotion that promised to bring exciting news to your coffee table. Café Puro was packaged in crystal glasses tastefully decorated with Folk Dance designs in various colors.

There was a selection of 12 dances to choose from, from Singkil, Maglalatik, Pandanggo sa Ilaw to more exotic dances like Tahing Baila and Bontoc War Dance. 

Instant Café Puro’s Folk dance promo proved to be a hit—consumers started collecting the durable glasses illustrated with folk dances made popular by the world-renowned Bayanihan Dance Troupe.

Later in the year, after giving away these beautiful glasses, Instant Café Puro offered Party Pitchers and Beverage Shakers that replicated the folk dance designs of the glasses.  These premiums were available in all variants: Le Cafe, Soluble Café Puro and Instant Café Puro.

Today, these Café Puro Folk Dance Glasses  can be found in collectible shops and thrift stores—still collectible after all these years. They make better freebies than those pricey mugs that today's brewed coffee shops sell--all you get is their company logo. In 1967, you get to drink and dance with Instant Cafe Puro!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


THE PHILIPPINES IS MARLBORO COUNTRY. The local adaptation of the immensely-successful Marlboro advertising campaign featured familiar scenic spots like lakes in exotic Zamboanga, Banaue Rice Terraces, Taal Volcano and Manila's skyline--instead of rugged Western frontiers. 1965.

Pix: philosophyofshaving.
Marlboro Cigarettes of Philip Morris  gave the advertising world the most iconic brand image of the century—the Marlboro Man—the macho and rugged American cowboy that catapulted the cigarette brand as the best-selling cigarette in the world.

The Marlboro Man campaign was a sharp detour from the 50s beginnings of the brand, when Marlboro was advertised to appeal to women smokers with a taste that’s as “mild as May”.

The agency Leo Burnett, in its attempt to expand the appeal of Marlboro, created the masculine icon accompanied by the slogan “delivers the goods on flavor”.

The campaign was an immediate success, and the Marlboro Man was rolled out nationwide in the U.S. in 1955, resulting in sale of over $5 billion, an astounding 3,124% increase from 1954.

The agency then shifted to other manly types—from tattooed men, devil race car drivers and ball players—all of which proved to be effective.


The cowboy character however, came back in 1964—in a new mythical environ---the Marlboro Country, where these virile men in white hats rode their horses into the sunset, sat quietly before campfires, with flames crackling, an open Marlboro pack in their hands. The slogan was an invitation to "Come to where the flavor is”. The memorable soundtrack music was actually from the 1961 movie "The Magnificent Seven",  composed by Al Caiola. The version of Oscar award-winner Henry Mancini became very popular. 

MARLBORO MAN trailblazing in Taal. Print Ad. 1966

The Marlboro Man in Marlboro Country was launched in the Philippines at the beginning of 1965. It made use of images of the American cowboy considered by Leo Burnett as "an almost universal symbol of admired masculinity.”

The Marlboro Country settings, however, were localized, perhaps to connect with Filipinos. Instead of  America’s wild frontiers, the Marlboro Man was seen marveling at the world’s smallest volcano in Taal , viewing  the vintas of Zamboanga, contemplating the wonders of Banaue Rice Terraces and watching the high rises of modern Manila.

MARLBORO MAN at the World's 8th Wonder-Banawe Rice Terraces,1966

The print ads were obviously re-composed, but the bizarre visual anachronisms did not matter to the Filipino consumer—the local adaptation of the U.S. campaign was a blockbuster hit, sending hordes of  consumers huffing and puffing Marlboro sticks.

The ominous health care warnings against cigarettes as a cause of lung cancer were publicized in 1957. But even when cigarette advertising was banned from TV in 1971,  the Marlboro Man continued to fuel the growth of the brand, By 1972, Marlboro was the No. 1 tobacco brand in the world.

MARLBORO MAN gets lost in the concrete jungles of Manila. Print ad, 1965.

But more upheavals were coming as anti-smoking movements spread all over America. A Master Settlement Agreement in the 1990s abolished outdoor advertising for cigarettes.  Then , the Food and Drug Administration won regulatory control over the tobacco industry that led to the limiting of sale of branded merchandise, the banning of sports and entertainment sponsorships, and youth market targeting.

It was just a matter of time that the Philippines followed suit. On 23 June 2003,  Republic Act 9211 or the "Act Regulating the Packaging, Use, Sale Distribution and Advertisements of Tobacco Products and for Other Purposes" was by Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In 2007, TV,  radio, movie theaters and outdoor advertising were banned, and in 2008, event sponsorships. The law also prevents celebrities from endorsing tobacco products in advertising. Promotion is limited to point-of-sale and sari-sari store and  in select establishments like restaurants, bars and billiard halls.

MARLBORO MAN RETURNS, Back Cover, April 2000 issue of LIFE Magazine.

The Marlboro Man – a commercial icon both revered and reviled and revered—continues to make its presence felt  in the U.S. today, albeit not in traditional mainstream channels but in direct-to-consumer communications.

A sad postscript to the campaign were the deaths of models David Millar (d.1987, age 81), Wayne Mclaren (d.1992, age 51), David McLean (d.1995, age 73), and Eric Lawson (d.2014, age 72) who all appeared as Marlboro cowboys in countless Marlboro Country ads. They all passed away from cigarette-related lung diseases.

ERIC LAWSON, Marlboro Man from 1978-1981, died of chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease caused by smoking. Picture source:

Thursday, May 12, 2016

59. Is That Who I Think She Is? LORNA TOLENTINO for MUM Deodorant

Lorna Tolentino, the acclaimed grandslam drama queen along with Nora Aunor, Vilma Santos and Sharon Cuneta, began her showbiz career as a child actress at age 8 in the movie “Uhaw sa Kalayaan” in 1969. But the former Victoria Lorna Aluquin (b. 23 Dec. 1961, Concepcion, Tarlac) would blossom into one of the country’s most respected actresses, with over 60 films to her credit, and winning awards along the way from FAMAS, Film Academy of the Philippines to Manila Filmfest and Gawad Urian.

But who would believe that she also forayed into commercial modeling? She was a new teener when she posed for this MUM Deodorant print ad in 1974, that appeared in leading women’s magazines.

MUM was the first was the first brand of commercial cream deodorant, with  a zinc compound as its active ingredient. It was developed and patented by an inventor in Philadelphia in 1888 and was named for the term "mum", meaning "to keep silent". Bristol-Myers bought the small company in 1931, and twenty years later, it MUM was made available in the Philippines, exclusively distributed by Ed A. Keller and Co. Ltd.

Memorable MUM campaigns include the “Ought To be Told” late 1950s print series and the locally-conceived “MUM-yayakap” in the 70s.  It first targeted women, then included males in the 60s. This campaign attempts to capture the emerging socially-conscious teen market, addressing a 13 year old with:  “Dalaga ka na..di ba dapat, nag-MUM ka na? (You’re a woman now. SHouldn’t be using MUM?)

  Picture Source:

Lorna T. may  no longer be  a “dalaga” , but for sure, she remains to be one of the country’s respected actresses, an engaging presence on both TV and the silver screen. She was married to actor Rudy Fernandez from 1983 till his death in 2008. ). Her children, Ralph and Renz Fernandez, are also in showbiz.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

58. Forward the Filipino! POLITICAL ADS OF YESTERYEARS

LIBERAL-MINDED. The mid-term senatorial election of 1963 yielded 4
 LP winners (Ziga, Liwag, Padilla, with Roxas, topping the leaderboard) 
and 4 NP winners (Diokno, Tolentino, Guanzon, Puyat). Print ad, 1963.

As the political candidates of this year's presidential elections go into their last-minute campaigning frenzy, let us take time to look at some of the print ads from Philippine elections of yesteryears, For many years, the polls were dominated by just 2 parties--Liberals and Nacionalistas. In the 1961 elections, Liberal Diosdado Macapagal (28 Sep. 1910/21 Apr. 1997) went up against the incumbent, Carlos P, Garcia, after Independent Rogelio dela Rosa--actor and Macapagal's brother-in-law--pulled out of the presidential race to run again for Senator under the LP ticket. Macapagal went on to become the 6th president of the Philippines. 

In the next presidential elections of 1965, rising star and Nacionalista Party leader Ferdinand Edralin Marcos (11 Sep. 197/28 Sep. 1989), Senate President, ran against Macapagal and won the presidency, serving three unprecedented terms. His hold on power was thwarted when he called for a snap elections that was rigged, but which was actually won by Ninoy's widow, Corazon Aquino. Marcos was ousted during the People Power revolution of 1986.

Marcos' running mate, Fernando Hofilena Lopez, (13 Apr. 1904/26 May 1993) had previously served as Vice President to Elpidio Quirino (1949-1953) and handily won the same post in 1965. He would serve 2 terms with Marcos until Martial Law was declared in 1972. The Lopezes fell out of favor when they denounced the corruption of Marcos. As a result, the VP position was dissolved and the Lopezes were stripped of their political and business assets like ABS-CBN and Meralco.

One of the victorious senatorial candidates in the 1965 elections was Sergio Osmeña Jr. (4 Dec. 1916/26 Mar. 1984) of the Liberal Party. The son of the 4th Philippine president, Osmeña had unsuccessfully ran for VP against Emmanuel Pelaez in 1961, and against Marcos for the presidency in 1969. He was in the U.S. when Martial Law was declared.

The three-termer Ernesto Maceda (26 Mar. 1935) got his start in the Senate in 1971, under the Nacionalista Party. At age 23, the young lawyer was voted as No. 1 councilor of Manila.

The Nacionalista Party senatorial bets in 1971 saw only 3 being elected as Senators. Aside from Maceda, Eva Estrada-Kalaw and Alejandro Almendras won Senate seats, while the opposition Liberal Party got 5, led by the esteemed senator Jovito Salonga. This was after the bloody Plaza Miranda bombing, that wounded the Liberal candidates, many seriously. As we all know, their term as senators abruptly ended with Marcos' proclamation of Martial Law on 23 Sep. 1972.  The rest is history.

With the divisiveness, level of muckraking, name-calling and charcarcter assassinatins going on, it looks like  the May 9, 2016 Presidential Elections will be another history in the making.