Thursday, December 28, 2017

144. TASTE THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT! Liquor Christmas Ads, 1936-1966


The long Christmas season in the Philippines, is indeed, the time to eat, drink and be merry….for tomorrow, we drink some more! Then, as now, when the holidays arrive, spirits and liquor products vie for  consumer’s attention by launching special Christmas ads in the hope of being included in his shopping list. Here are a few of them:

GINEBRA SAN MIGUEL, Old Filipino Custom, 1936

GINEBRA SAN MIGUEL,the world's no. 1 selling gin, has a heritage of excellence spanning more than 180 years. It was originally a product of Destilerias Ayala, Ic., founded in 1834. Its distinctive “marca demonio” label was designed by then-student Fernando Amorsolo, now a Philippine national artist. This Graphic ad from 1936, situates  GINEBRA SAN MIGUEL as part of  old Filipino Christmas customs, that also include serving noche buena lechon.

SAN MIGUEL BEER, Real Pleasure for the Holidays, 1957

SAN MIGUEL BEER  is the Philippines’ best known, and larget-selling  pale lager produced by San Miguel Brewery. It is a beer rich in history, as its parent company was established back in 1890. This midcentury Christmas ad of SAN MIGUEL BEER features two popular showbiz personalities at that time—the lovely Paquita Roces (the original Camay Girl) and the debonaire Fil-Danish actor, Ric Rodrigo.  Paquita was married to screen star Armando Goyena; while Rodrigo, husband of Rita Gomez, would win Asia’s Best Actor award in 1969, for the movie “Igorota”.

SUNTORY, Perfect for Christmas, 1963

SUNTORY Whiskey has its beginning s way back in 1899, when Shinjiro Torii began experimenting with the production of western-style whiskey in Japan. He managed to do that—and more—for in 1937, he created SUNTORY, a truly Japanese whiskey with a distinctive Japanese character—a masterpiece of Eastern artistry. La Fuerza Inc., of the Lim Family, became he local partner of SUNTORY in the 1960s, and this 1963 print ad was part of the product push for the Christmas season.

VOS BRANDY, Keep their Spirits High! 1964

La Fuerza Inc. was a distillery, incorporated in the 1950s  by the Lim family. Its local output were the Siu Hoc Tong energy liquor, C-88 and VOS Brandy, (Very Old Special brandy) which would gain prominence in the Philippine market in the 70s and 80s. Its commercials, known for being campy and sexist, introduced viewers to its most well-known slogan—“Pang romansa…espesyal!”, mouthed by a starlet holding a VOS Brandy bottle. But back in 1964, this VOS Brandy & Gin Christmas ad was pretty standard, safe and direct to the point.

TANDUAY RHUM, say 'Mabuhay'! 1966

TANDUAY RHUM,  by Tanduay Distillers, Inc., is an iconic brand of liquor with origins in a distillery in Hagonoy, Bulacan, acquired in 1856, by Ynchausti and Compania. A plant was built in Isla de Tanduay, near Quiapo and became the Tanduay Distillery. By the 1930s, its rum products were branded as TANDUAY RHUM. In 1934,  Elizalde & Company, Inc.  acquired  thedistillery and  operated it under the  name Tanduay Distillery, Inc. It became a leading producer of rums, liquor brands and other spirits. This 1966 ad capitalizes on TANDUAY RHUM as part of Philippine holiday drinking tradition, a drink hat "adds lilt and luster to the festive air".

Thursday, December 21, 2017

143. Call for Philip Morris! SEASON'S GREETINGS! 1965-1970

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, from Philip Morris' Johnny Bellhop, ca.1965

The products of PHILIP MORRIS International Inc. became known to the Philippines only in 1955, when a licensing agreement was reached with La Suerte Cigar and Cigarette Factory to manufacture and sell PHILIP MORRIS branded-cigarettes in the country. It was PHILIP MORRIS’ first exclusive agreement outside of the U.S.
SEASON'S GREETINGS from Philip Morris, 1966
La Suerte Cigar & Cigarette Factory (La Suerte),44 Fortune Tobacco Corporation (Fortune),45 and Sterling Tobacco Corporation (Sterling)46 are domestic corporations engaged in the production and manufacture of cigars and cigarettes. These companies import leaf tobacco from foreign sources and purchase locally produced leaf tobacco to be used in the manufacture of cigars and cigarettes
MALIGAYANG PASKO, Call for Philip Morris, 1970
For over 40 years, La Suerte produced and sold PHILIP MORRIS, until Fortune Tobacco Corp. was established in 1965, which then took over the manufacturing and marketing of the brand, including another American favorite, Marlboro.
soource; wikipedia
PHILIP MORRIS advertising featured the iconic bellhop trade character which was conceived back in the Word War I years.  Hotel lobbies then were used as meeting places to meet people, talk business—and smoke. Initially, an illustration of a bellhop was used in early ads, and part of his duties was to page people, hence the slogan “Call for Philip Morris”.

Milton Biow, head of New York Biow Agency that handled the account, had the idea of‘humanizing’  the illustrated bellhop on PHILIP MORRIS ads. He found him in the person of a 23 year-old, a shade under 4 feet, 59-pounder Johnny Roventini (b. Aug. 15, 1910/d. Nov. 30, 1998) who was a real-life bellboy working at the New Yorker Hotel. He was asked to holler “Call for PHILIP MORRIS!”, which he did so in his high-pitched voice, not knowing that he was paging a product, not a person.

Johnny Bellhop was finally found and became the most successful spokesperson for PHILIP MORRIS. He appeared on TV and in print ads, lent his distinctive voice to a PHILIP MORRIS radio show, and is credited with spurring the growth of broadcast media.

Source: The Mouldy Spud , Uploaded July 27, 2010

Johnny prefaced the highly-popular “I Love Lucy” program of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz with his signature call--"Call for Phil-ip Mor-rees"”—in perfect b-flat, and helped keep the ratings soaring.

The iconic bellhop cigarette character was not unknown to Filipinos, thanks to the popularity of the early PHILIP MORRIS ads that featured him. In fact, the bellboy  was ‘copied’ by La Insular Cigarettes, for its local print ads in 1929. 

It was only in 1965 that the bellhop was used for PHILIP MORRIS magazine ads in the Philippines. The Christmas ads shown here feature a faithful illustrated likeness of Johnny Roventini, whose call for PHILIP MORRIS made him one of the most recognizable faces on media.

At the prime of his career, Johnny was earning a hefty $50,000 annual salary, thanks to his personal appearances that made him one of the most recognizable faces on media. Considered a “living trademark”, Johnny’s fame and success was enhanced by his ready smile and welcoming hands that won the admiration of people who came to see him.

from Isa Munang Patalastas

Friday, December 15, 2017


In 1983, the corporate campaign of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) , which traced the bank’s rich, historic past that includes  the distinction as being the first bank in the Islands—was launched amidst much fanfare, glowing reviews and a sense of pride.

The centerpiece material was an incredible TV commercial, part of an ambitious “Heritage” campaign that brings to focus the impressive 123 year heritage of the country’s first and largest bank. SS&C Lintas Worldwide-Manila, led by creative head Richard Gerardini,  was tasked to do the campaign that took all of 6 months to plan--from Dec. 1981 to June 1982.
BPI GIRL NIKKI PRIETO, Now a Tarlac congressman, wife of former 
presidential candidate and former Sec, of Defense, Gilbert Teodoro.

As the commercial included many period scenes, locations were scouted all over the Philippines. The location crew went to Vigan for a look-see, but the old houses were all whitewashed and the roads asphalted, so the search shifted to the south—and thankfully, Nasugbu and Taal—old Batangas towns—were chosen. The streets were dressed up to look like Pasig and Binondo, during the 1900s American period. The featured actors, the supporting cast and the extras were all costumed by leading production designer and wardrobe expert, Laida Lim Perez.

Casting was another major challenge.  Most of the talents were recruited by Mad Gallaga (wife of film director Peque Gallaga) who assembled name stars like Joel Torre (fresh from “Oro, Plata, Mata”) and Ronnie Lazaro, to take part in the ad, along with local townsfolk who portrayed farmers, fishermen and vendors.

The casting of the BPI Girl was another matter—the agency team wanted someone who has not appeared in any magazine cover or commercial, and the client wanted an embodiment of class, chic and timeless mystique. Monica Louise “Nikki” Prieto (now Teodoro, a  Tarlac congressman and wife of Gilbert Teodoro), then an international marketing student from a Swiss university, was the final choice.  But her school schedule allowed her only 10 days of leave—so the shooting of the 60 sec. commercial couldn’t go beyond 2 weeks. Prieto was promptly sent her round-trip tickets so she could come home for the Philippine shooting.
TV commercial cast.
The multi-awarded Image Films, Inc., one of the most experienced and prestigious production houses in the country was given the blue chip BPI assignment. Gen. Manager Amar Gambol contacted Pio de Castro III for the directorial job.  De Castro, who had been shooting films for10 years, was mentored by National Artist Gerry de Leon. 

DIRECTOR PIO DE CASTRO III (+) . He would be honored by the
Creative Guild of the Ph. with a posthulous Lifetime Achievement Award.
His credentials not only include internationally-awarded ads (PBM Steel “A Nation is Growing”, Kodak “Times of Your Life”) but also mainstream films like “Soltero”, and “Ina, Kasusuklaman Ba Kita?”. Commissioned to compose the jingle music was no less than Jose Mari Chan.

"Cherished Part of Me" Jingle Here:

The filming took up to 12 days of hard work, and every single day had its own challenge. Billboards and electric wirings had to be taken down or camouflaged with tree branches and cadena de amor vines, and whole rowhouses in Taal had to be whitewashed in Taal to reflect the look of the era. A town Marian procession with lit carrozas  had to be staged. And even Nikki Prieto’s modern girl gait had to be toned down to reflect the demureness of an early 20th century Filipina. Where an average 60 sec. ad cost about Php 200,000 to produce in the 1980s, the bill for the BPI ad cost up to several times more.

But everything was worth the wait, and the laborious hours that went into the final crafting the TV ad. When BPI president Xavier Loinaz previewed the film, he instantly fell in love with it. When the “Heritage” TVC aired in early 1983, it was hailed for its epic proportions, Filipino theme, technical and production design excellence,  and a memorable tuneful score. These significant impressions were not lost in the next Philippine Advertising Congress Awards as “Heritage” won a slew of technical and craftsmanship awards.

AD AGENCY: SSC Lintas: Manila
ART DIRECTOR: Olive Mestidio
PRODUCTION: Image Films, Inc.
DIRECTOR: Pio de Castro III
CASTING: Mady Gallaga

SOURCES:ISLANDS, a publication of the Bank of the Philippine Islands, vol. 1 no. 2, “Heritage: The Making of a Commercial, by Ma. Socorro Naguit, pp. 25-28.  July 1983.

Monday, December 4, 2017

140. JOHNSON’S BABY POWDER. Early Ads, 1953-1971

JOHNSON'S BABY POWDER Print Ad. ca. 1972.

 It was only in 1956 that the American pharmaceutical giant, Johnson & Johnson, set up its Philippine office, but years before that, its flagship product, JOHNSON’S BABY POWDER was already enjoying the good patronage of Filipino mother and their babies.

It was this product that shifted the reputation of Johnson & Johnson from a medical company to a “baby company”.

Invented in 1893, JOHNSON’S BABY POWDER was made from Italian talc that had a more soothing effect than the plasters J&J manufactured earlier. Talc also provided effective relief from diaper rash. The product was a success and was launched in the market the following year.

JOHNSON’S BABY POWDER , in the familiar tin packaging, was initially imported and sold by JOHNSON’s BABY POWDER was known locally as “Talco Johnson”.

Early Johnson's Baby Powder Ad, 1953

Availability of the product improved when the local J&J office on Dasmariñas St. took over the distribution of the U.S.-made Johnson’s product. Demand was so great that J&J contracted a local trading firm, Shiro, to manufacture JOHNSON’S BABY POWDER locally, in limited supply (J&J would soon set up its manufacturing plant in Pasig).

Marketing efforts were also stepped up, and J&J turned to professional advertising to support the lead brand. In the next couple of years, JOHNSON’S BABY POWDER was promoted solely for baby’s use—for the effective protection of his delicate skin against rashes and chafing. 


Though the slogan “Best for Baby. Best for You” appeared in 1959 ads, the message continue to focus on babies’ complexion.


For adults, Johnson’s also launched a medicated powder that was advertised in the early 1960s, but this did not catch on.

A PAIR OF JOHNSON'S BABY POWDER 'Mom & Das" ads. 1964.

It was not until 1964 that an attempt to expand its usage to adults was made in subsequent campaigns with reference to JOHNSON’ S BABY POWDER’s gentleness as “best for baby, for you”.

It would only be later, in the 70s and 80s, that ads targetting specific audiences i.e. other than babies-- like adults and youths—were produced to create broader appeal, by taking out the “baby-ness” from JOHNSON’S  BABY POWDER.

"Ikaw Lamang, Wala ng Iba" was one such campaign that was created by agency McCann-Erickson in the 1980s, which featured the product being used by teens.


youtube, Johnson's Baby Powder TVC 'Wala nang Iba" TVC 1980s, uploaded by Jackie Arjona, published 6 Nov. 2010.
Johnson & Johnson Philippines website

141. Creative Guild Print Ad of the Year 1987: VISINE EYEDROPS, “Visibly Refreshing”

Ace Compton, now officially known as Ace/Saatchi & Saatchi, scored its third Print Ad of the Year victory in 1987 with “Visibly Refreshing,” an ad for a mini-pack version of VISINE, Pfizer Philippines’ popular eye drops. “Visibly refreshing” had been running as a campaign for some time, and long-time client Pfizer, had wanted to use the brand name to sell the new 6 ml.  budget version. Client originally planned to use a predictable parade of progressive bottle sizes, but CD Jimmy Santiago and his concept team had other ideas.

The search for an “unmistakably optical device,: was conceived by art director, Ariel Dalisay.  Copywriter Robert Labayen lent his copy expertise, which Dalisay laid out over an entire page--jumbling and arranging the letters like those of an eye chart, commonly displayed in doctors’ offices.

Starting with a huge “A” at the top of the “chart” , Dalisay punctuated it with a shot of the product being peered at from under a small magnifier. Additional info copy—“Get a pack from this store”. “In tamper-resistant packs, too.”, and the battlecry “VISINE—Gets the red out in 60 seconds”—all fit satisfactorily into the full page, full color ad-cum-outlet poster without distracting from the intently recognizable visual device.

“That was the big idea”, Santiago recalls. “The eye chart for an eye product—the connection was almost seamless.”

VISINE stayed with Saatchi for several years after the ad was run.

AGENCY: Ace/ Saatchi & Saatchi
ADVERTISER: Pfizer, Inc.
PRODUCT: Visine Eyedrops
COPYWRITER: Robert Labayen
ART DIRECTOR: Ariel Dalisay

Perfect 10: A Decade of Creativity in Philippine Advertising, written by Butch Uy. Published by the Executive Committee of the Creative Guild of the Philippines. 1995.p. 24.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

139. Where Are They Now? THE UYTENGSU CHILDREN of Alaska Milk Products

THE 3 MODEL COO's (Children of Owner) Michael, Candice, Wilfred Jr. Uytengsu

Fred Sr. & Bonnie Uytengsu
The ALASKA MILK empire was begun by a Wilfred “Fred” Uytengsu Sr, who had grown up separated from his family for part of World War II. As a teen, he did forced labor for the Japanese under grueling conditions, such that he contracted malaria, and was sent home. After the war, his godfather, Robert Williams, sponsored his  studies in the U.S. and at 16, Uytengsu began an industrial engineering course in Stanford.

 After graduation, the young engineer began a career in the food industry, and in the late 1950s, he established the General Milling Corp., a flour mill business that became so successful that he ventured into other businesses—including livestock, feeds, and dairy. Thus in the 1970s, ALASKA MILK was born.

ALASKA MILK became the a leading name in the Philippine milk industry, moreso when it began  rolling out its advertising campaign in the mid 70s. What made the ads more memorable was the presence of the three Uytengsu children in the ads produced by ALASKA’s ad agency, Reach  Inc. The three children—Wilfred Steven, Candace and youngest Michael were the children of Wilfred Sr. with Bonnie Brooks, an embassy official assigned at the U.S. Embassy in Manila.

Youngest Michael Uytengsu is best remembered as the young boy in the 1974 ALASKA MILK TV commercial, in a basketball duel against Cisco Oliver. (Read the article here: Michael Uytengsu, Alaska Boy) He also was featured in the packaging of the short-lived ALASKA Quick Cooking Oats.

Candice or Cindy  Uytengsu, was the featured model in the Daisy Reconstituted Long Life Milk line, punctuating the commercial with her saying “Pick a daisy. It’s healthy..naturally!”. Her mother, Bonnie, made a cameo role in the launch commercial.

The eldest, Wilfred or simply Fred Uytengsu, appeared in a corporate Christmas Ad of ALASKA MILK, in 1975, along with his siblings.  He was just 14 at that time.

Over the years, Fred Sr. traveled between the Philippines and California, as the three kids grew up in Atherton, California, close to the Stanford University Campus. Fred Sr. would live to see ALASKA MILK CORP. flourish and become an icon brand in the Philippines, He would turn over the reins of the business to his son Fred Jr, in 1998, He died in 2010, at age 82. The three children are all American citizens.

Picture of Wilfred and Bonnie Uytengsu: “Honoring an Engineer’s Journey”,
Picture of Wilfred Steven Uytengsu Jr.
Picture of Michael Uytengsu:

Thursday, November 16, 2017


The Philippines caught the Music Television (MTV) fever in the 1980s, which used music videos presented by by video jockeys or VJs. The creatively-produced videos used early computer techniques, quick, out-of-synch editing, spliced with mood footages and unrelated visuals—a fresh look that appealed to the young generation of that time.

"You'll never look at music the same way again"—the 24 hour MTV channel proclaimed—and it delivered that promise, building a world-wide fanbase while exerting significant influence on its audience.

Ad agencies took note of this—and Lintas: Manila—sold the bold idea of using MTV style ads for Philippine Refining Co.’s CLOSE-UP TOOTHPASTE, which is positioned as the toothpaste for  young Filipinos. Maria Lourdes “Diame” Alba, the woman behind this concept, relvealed that the use of an MTV-style commercial to relaunch the gel toothpaste that has been in the market since the early 70s, was an experiment in breaking out from the mold of youth advertising.

Since it was difficult to present the MTV imageries using a traditional storyboard, the Lintas creative opted to make a rough video using past CLOSE-UP footages edited with computer effects, using Gwen Guthrie’s reworked “Close to You” song.The ideas was met with the PRC marketing team’s approval, then headed by Peter Dart and Angie Lacson.

Lintas: Manila then assembled a creative production team headed by Director Jun Reyes to produced the longest commercial in history: 2 minutes and 17 secs.—a fanciful, a little irreverent, a bit amusing and a romantic music piece—that was promoted a a TV event. When the CLOSE-UP “Close to You” ad unfolded on Philippine TV in early 1987, the MTV was met with amazement  and acclaim, with many thinking it was a slick, foreign material.  Teeenrs went agog over the commercial, and college-age students lapped it up, and the ad became a marketing case study in schools.

WATCH THE CLOSE-UP “Close to You” MTV Ad here:
Published by ALGLecaroz, 18 Sep. 2011

 Since then, Lintas:Manila have produced 3 more MTV style commercial versions—“Closer to your Love”, by Al Jarreau and “When I Fall in Love” (1988)  by Natalie Cole. 

WATCH CLOSE-UP "When I Fall in Love" TVC  1988 Here:

A local recording company packed a CD selection of love songs entitled CLOSE-UP Love Songs”,  inspired by the campaign. The CLOSE-UP ad also won a slew of Gold trophies at the 1987 Philippine Advertising Congress,winning for Best TV, Personal Products; Best in P.O.P. and Collaterals; Best in  Production Design; Best Multi-Media Campaign.

ADVERTISER: Philippine Refining Co. (PRC)
PRODUCT: Close-Up Toothpaste
AGENCY: Lintas: Manila
ART DIRECTOR:  Jo Chua/ Nap Jamir
PRODUCER: Bong Malsi
DOP: Boy Yñiguez
ANIMATOR: Pete Jimenez


De la Torre, Visitacion: Advertising in the Philippines, Tower Book House, 1989.
youtube: "When I Fall in Lovewith Closeup",, Uploaded by Closeup Philippines, 2011 Nov. 20
youtube, #1 Closeup,, Uploaded by ALGLecaroz, 2011 Sep. 18

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

137. FRANK H. HALE: THE MAN BEHIND ESCO SHOES, The Shoe of Quality, 1929

Reprinted from the Frank H. Hale Permanent Collection Brochure, presented by the American Historical Collection.

FRANK H. HALE Old timer, industrialist, and friend 
of the Filipino people
At the time of his death in Manila in 1952, pioneer shoe manufacturer of the Philippines, Frank H. Hale (b. Aug. 30, 1872) was called “Friend of the Filipino People.” He was also known as “Mang Isko” by millions of Filipinos, who gave him this nickname in appreciation of his contribution to Filipino life. His vision was that every Filipino replaced his or her chinelas with a pair of sturdy, stylish, and affordable shoes.

The brand ESCO became a household word, and its shoes were soon being worn even in remote areas of the Philippines. Mr. Hale became the largest exporter of shoes to the U. S. and Europe. At the outbreak of WWII, Esco was the largest manufacturer of shoes in the Philippines and, according to some economists, possibly in the whole of Asia.

1929 ESCO PRINT AD, from Graphic Magazine.

From humble beginnings as a volunteer cobbler with the U. S. Army aboard one of the American ships sailing to the Philippines in 1898, followed by his setting up shop in Fort McKinley under the auspices of General Pershing, Hale built what became Esco.

1929 ESCO PRINT AD, from Graphic Magazine.

Having grown up on a wheat farm in California that suffered from a wheat market disaster in the U. S., he was determined to create something needed in the Philippines to last for generations to come and to be a stable organization staffed by Filipinos for Filipinos.

1929 ESCO PRINT AD, from Graphic Magazine.

Reinvesting all profits made, he turned the cobbler shop into a modern industry. He arranged for machinery, backed by royalties, to be brought from United Shoe Manufacturing in Boston, Massachusetts, and imported the finest leathers from the U. S., Italy. Argentina and Australia, to manufacture fine shoes capable of competing worldwide in terms of style and strength.

1929 ESCO PRINT AD, from Graphic Magazine.

ESCO became the manufacturer for leading brands in the U. S. and Europe, as well as the contractor for military and industrial shoes in the Philippines. Manpowered by 100% Filipino skilled workers, ESCO became a model corporation where employees were given housing, medical, social and sports facilities. Employees’ families thrived, and some opened up their own businesses backed by ESCO resources.

1929 ESCO PRINT AD, from Graphic Magazine.

Hale then experimented with Philippine materials, opening Tropicraft Corporation, which experimented steel and plastics to increase the strength and life rattan furniture. His admiration of the Philippines led him to call it the “Land of Promise, Opportunity.” He was included in Who’s Who with other leaders of agriculture and industry in the Philippines.He also opened Lyric Music House, bringing in the finest musical instruments from abroad for the tastes of talented musicians of the Philippines.

1929 ESCO PRINT AD, from Graphic Magazine.

During WWII, the Japanese military government confiscated the factories and turned them to their own uses. Mr. Hale was interned in Santo Thomas where he helped sew up older co-interns’ shoes. Reconstruction after the war meant adjusting to new conditions within the new Philippine Republic. He was weak by then but nevertheless
returned to success but on a smaller scale.

The exhibit features Mr. Hale’s personal belongings, generously donated by his granddaughter Ruth Hale Cobb Hill to the American Historical Collection.

American Historical Collection:
Various Graphic Magazines from 1929

Friday, November 3, 2017

136. Brand Icon: TITA FRITA of Tita Frita Banana Catsup 1989

1989 TITA FRITA CATSUP AD, with the wholesome Rita Avila.

As Nestle’s Tita Maggi was winding down her reign, another “tita” appeared on the ad scene as the brand name for a condiments line by Zest-O Corporation. TITA FRITA included bottled tomato and banana catsup, and hot sauce.

To launch the new products, the company created a brand character in the mold of Tita Maggi—wearing a chef’s hat, an apron over a colored shirt.

They found the image of TITA FRITA in Rita Avila, then a 24 year old actress with 2 years of showbiz experience under her belt. She had dabbled in commercial modeling in her teen years, and no one knew at that time that her career was about to soar with her appearance in so-called "ST" films, with soft core content.

Surprisingly, the wholesome TITA FRITA character took off when the ads aired, and so did Avila’s rise to stardom as a sexy, and later as a dramatic actress.

Today, TITA FRITA is  no longer as extensively advertised (now sold as institutional products). However, Rita Avila, aka TITA FRITA, continues to enjoy her showbiz career to this day, on both the TV and film screens.

Tita Frita Photo Source: Mr. & Ms. Magazine, 1989.

Sunday, October 29, 2017


 FILIPINAS LIFE ASSURANCE COMPANY was founded on 27 April 1933, as a subsidiary of Filipinas Compañia de Seguros, in response to the Insurance Commission’s ruling that insurance companies must have separate life and non-life business divisions. The parent company--Filipinas Compañia de Seguros—had been founded earlier in 1913 by Antonio Melian with  brothers-in-law Fernando Antonio and Enrique Zobel  y de Ayala.

The business was briefly interrupted by the war, and when FILIPINAS LIFE resumed its operations, it would flourish and become a dominant name in industrial life insurance for over 30 years thru the 1970s. All the more when FILIPINAS LIFE began advertising on radio, using a high-recall jingle first heard on the airwaves in 1977.


Advertising icon Greg Macabenta of Advertising and Marketing Associates (AMA), penned the lyrics, which was produced by Rusty Velila.  Music was provided by the famed D’Amarillo Studio Orchestra while the singers were billed as “The Filipinas Singers”.Needless to say, the FILIPINAS LIFE Jingle became one of the most widely-heard jingles in the country, catapulting the company topmost in the minds of Filipinos.

In 1990, FILIPINAS LIFE became Ayala Life Assurance Inc. to underscore its transformation into a full-service life insurance company. Twenty years later, it would be renamed BPI-Philam Life Assurance Corp.,( BPI-Philam ) following the sale of BPI’s stake in Ayala Life to Philam Life.

Despite its new name, oldtimers still recall the insurance giant’s former name through the strains of a memorable jingle that woke everyone up in the early morning, singing along with its catchy chorus—FILIPINAS…FILIPINAS LIFE…FILIPINAS LIFE ASSURANCE COMPANY!!

Macabenta, Gregg. How to Make a Benta: Anecdotes, Lectures & Articles from the Advertising Wars Paperback – March 28, 2011
youtube, Filipinas Life (famous 70s jingle), posted by limva123, April 9, 2013. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

134. NESCAFE, “Great Cities of the World” Campaign, 1979-1980

NESCAFÉ’s most successful campaigns in the 1980s was, without a doubt,  the "Great Cities of the World", conceived by the all-Filipino agency, Advertising and Marketing Associates in 1979. In fact, the “Great Cities” campaign turned out to be a pre-cursor of another major NESCAFÉ hit—the “One World of Nescafe” , launched in 1983. But that is getting ahead of the story.

The “Great Cities” campaign was actually NESCAFÉ’s response to the claim of Blend 45 that “everyday, millions of cups are served all over the Philippines”.  Blend 45 then was NESCAFÉ’s chief competitor, primarily because of economics (it was cheaper),with a taste that’s “good enough” (although research shows that if the consumer respondent had money, he would go for Nescafe).

Research also showed that the positive image of NESCAFÉ was being driven by perceptions that it was an “international” and “imported” brand—which are often equated to “higher quality” in a time when colonial mentality was still prevalent in the Philippines.

The “internationality” of NESCAFÉ vs. the local Blend 45 thus became the basis of the campaign’s proposition, articulated by the consumers themselves: “We prefer NESCAFÉ because of its superior taste and quality, being an internationally-accepted brand”.

The next step was for creative chief Greg Macabenta to write the thematic line for the campaign, which he summed up as “NESCAFÉ…enjoyed in the great cities of the world.”  Nestle, represented by marketing head, Mr. Levi Castillo, approved the campaign.

TV commercials were immediately produced, with foreign footages supplied by the McCann-Erickson ad agency, which was shooting similar commercials for Nestle Japan. Scenes of people enjoying NESCAFÉ in Madrid, Rome, Paris and other European cities were featured in print ads, and of course, the campaign  was highlighted by a Manila version of the successful commercial series.

The campaign ran for three years until 1983, when the same concept was reincarnated into the equally-acclaimed launches of  "A Classic Taste The World Enjoys" and “One World of NESCAFÉ" extension campaigns.

Macabenta, Greg B., ”How to Make a Benta - Anecdotes, Lectures & Articles from the Advertising Wars”. pp. 88-89. March 2011