Saturday, June 24, 2017

115. History in Ads: IDEAL THEATER, Movie Ads, 1929

RAMON NAVARRO in THE FLYING FLEET. 1929. Print ad, Graphic Magazine

The advent of the moving picture during the first decade of 20th century Philippines, relegated the old performance arts like zarzuela and the moro-moro to the background. In time, movie houses began sprouting in Manila—and IDEAL THEATER—built in the last quarter of 1910, initially made of wood,  would be hosting the best of Hollywood movies.

Source: Beyond Forgetting,
IDEAL THEATER was founded by five Manila families—the Roceses, Tuazons, Teoticos, Guidotes and Basas. It originally had a seating capacity of 400 people, with tickets at 20 centavos for the orchestra, and 40 centavos for balcony.

The theater could be accessed thru Plaza Goiti and along Dulung Bayan St. Its permanent address would become Rizal Avenue after buildings between Dulung Bayan and Salcedo streets were demolished to give way to the new landmark Avenida.

IDEAL THEATER became a byword in city entertainment ever since its first film offering, “The Exodus”, a French production from Gaumont Film Co. After Italian movies, American-made films of Fox, Universal and Famous Players proved to be blockbuster hits among moviegoers.

This led to the expansion and renovation of IDEAL THEATER in the early 1920s, that saw its stature rise as the theater that exclusively showed first-rate Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) films. It would be renovated in 1933 again, under the helm of Architect Pablo Antonio (now National Artist), who gave it a distinct Art Deco look.

THE VIKING, an MGM epic filmed in color. Print Ad, Graphic Magazine. 1929

It was again refurbished in 1955; its screen and stage were widened, and its seating capacity expanded from 1,000 to 5,000. At its prime, the fabulous IDEAL THEATER stood as one of the finest moviehouses in the country, providing its patrons with maximum viewing enjoyment owing to its modern amenities, ambience and elegant features such as its spectacular lobby.


 Sadly, IDEAL THEATER was closed in the 1970s, and further fell  into disarray in the 1980s with the construction of  the LRT (Light Railway Transit) along Avenida. Shortly after, IDEAL THEATER,  was demolished,  its hallowed place taken over by a shopping center.

THE TRAIL OF '98. 1929. Print Ad. Graphic Magazine.

These 1929 movie film ads sponsored by IDEAL THEATER are a testament to its reputation as the crown jewel of movie entertainment in “the most beautiful city in the Far East”.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

114. Creative Guild TV Ad of the Month, August 1989: GOLD EAGLE BEER, “Pagbabalik”


One of the strong contenders for the Creative Guild TV Ad of the Year for 1989 was a commercial for GOLD EAGLE BEER, entitled “Pagbabalik”, produced by PAC-BBDO (Philippine Advertising Counsellors) for San Miguel. GOLD EAGLE BEER has been making headway since it was it was introduced in the early 1980s as a flanker brand. McCann-Erickson had originally handled its launch with its “Let the Gold Eagle Fly” campaign, showing a man releasing an eagle in the air.

When the brand moved to PAC-BBDO, the agency created a successful campaign—“Para sa Iyo, Pare Ko”,  starring the rowdy “Bad Bananas” gang (Christopher de Leon, Edgar Mortiz and the late Jay Ilagan) in 1988.

The next year, folk icon Freddie Aguilar was tapped to appear in a new ad that still carried the theme, but with a more subdued, nostalgic mood and tone. The San Miguel connection with San Miguel was also strengthened with a message overlay, “May pangalan ‘to, pare ko” (This beer’s got a name, friend).


The GOLD EAGLE BEER “Pagbabalik” TVC follows the homecoming of Freddie Aguilar in his old town, after making a name for himself---where he is warmly received by long-time friends, neighbors, town mates and his barkada. The jingle, sung by the folksinger, talks about going back to one's roots, and the importance of keeping one’s name—which is an implicit reference to San Miguel, the name behind GOLD EAGLE. Two versions were made—one, a mostly instrumental version (“Freddie”), and the other, utilizing the full jingle (“Pagbabalik”)


The commercial was well-received for its cinematography that captured the rustic,, provincial feel of an old town, and for the jingle that could very well have been the theme song of a balikbayan or an overseas Filipino worker. When the Creative Guild of the Philippines convened to vote for the best ads of 1989, GOLD EAGLE BEER’s “Pagbabalik” was selected as the best TVC for August. It also was a nominee for Best Direction (Vitt Romero), Best Cinematography (Rody Lacap, Jun Kraft, Fred Manansala), Best Jingle (Charo Unite, for both versions), Best Production Design (Joey Luna, Aped Santos, Gino Marasigan).

AGENCY: Philippine Advertising Counsellors-BBDO
ART DIRECTOR: Pit Santiago
PRODUCER: Vivian Abalos
SINGER: Freddie Aguilar
PRODUCTION HOUSE: Provil, Unitel ('Freddie' version)
DIRECTOR: Vittorio Romero
CINEMATOGRAPHERS: Rody Lacap, Jun Kraft, Fred Manansala


1990 Creative Guild Ad of the Year Program
youtube:, uploaded by Filmmaker Vitt Romero, published on May 11, 2014
youtube:, uploaded by Filmmaker Vitt Romero, published  May 13, 2014

Monday, June 12, 2017

113. The Modern Fast-Frozen Ice Cream: PRESTO ICE CREAM ADS, 1978-1979

PRESTO ICE CREAM. Flavorite for July, Print Ad, 1979
In the 1970s, Magnolia Dairy Products pretty much lorded it over the Philippine ice cream market, but there were a few more players that dared challenge the leader. Some of these included the 60s brand Silver Bell, the scoop ice cream station Coney Island, and Selecta Ice Cream which was sold in limited quantities in supermarkets.

Then, in 1975, Consolidated Food Corporation owned by the taipan John Gokongwei, ventured into ice cream production and introduced PRESTO ICE CREAM, which, to Magnolia, loomed as a serious contender to deal with. After all, Gokongwei  had a history of aggressively marketing its products that found favor in the Philippine marketplace.

Beginning in 1954, when he put up Universal Robina Corporation which launched snack items like Jack ‘n Jill, candies like Nips, Maxx, Dynamite, and noodles, like Nissin’s. Gokongwei wanted to diversify like what multinational companies were doing, and so in 1961, he put up  Consolidated Food Corporation which produced two initial successes—Blend 45 and Great Taste Coffee,  brands that at one point soundly beat Café Puro and Nescafe,

CFC had used the brand name PRESTO earlier, in the late1960s, for its chocolate snacks. Now it wanted to capitalize on that already-familiar name by calling its newest ice cream product--PRESTO ICE CREAM. It  was directly aimed at Magnolia, but with a twist—it was significantly cheaper than the ice cream leader. “Anything you’ve always wanted in an ice cream, for less!”, the colored print ads bannered.
What more could you want in an ice cream? Dec. 1979
To Magnolia’s well-entrenched “Flavor of The Month”, PRESTO responded with “Presto Flavorites for the Month”, and during special times like the Christmas holidays,  not one, but two “flavorites” were launched. 

PRESTO, too, had counterpart products for Magnolia’s Frozen Delights—a line of ice cream novelties.  PRESTO Funwich—two chocolate cookies with ice cream in between-- attained popularity in the late 1970s, and so did PRESTO Tivoli Ice Cream Choco Bars, Funsticks, Heaven in a Bar and Calypso Cream Bars.
Made with the modern 'Fast-Freeze' Process, 1979

PRESTO ICE CREAM touted its modern “Fast-Freeze” process of manufacturing ice cream. Fast-frozen ice cream means ice cream at the peak-of-freshness.  At its height, PRESTO even lent its name to the Gokongwei-owned basketball team, that played in PBA from the 70s thru the 90s –the PRESTO Ice Cream Makers.

Despite the initial hoopla and the millions spent in pushing the brand, PRESTO could not make significant inroads into Magnolia’s turf. Magnolia countered with the price brand Sorbetes, but even then, by the late 1980s, the rising cost of materials started to affect the local ice cream industry. CFC stopped its PRESTO Ice Cream production altogether by the mid 1990s, as the ice cream landscape changed when RFM bought the Selecta brand and turned it into a market leader, overtaking Magnolia by 1997, this, despite a joint venture by Nestle. 

Today, PRESTO  still exists in the URC porfolio—but only as a cream cookie brand, under the “Jack and Jill” line. With its demise, PRESTO  Ice Cream joins other discontinued Gokongwei product ventures like Yahoo Juice Drinks, Robina Chickens and Mark Electronics.
Universal Robina Corp. website:

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

112. Creative Guild’s 1989 Print Ad of the Year: AYALA LAND, “Grass to Glass”

SINGULAR STROKES, From grass to the top of its class. 1989 Print Ad of the Year!

In 1989, the competition bounced back to the Ace/Saatchi & Saatchi court. “Yan ang campaign!”, creative director Jimmy Santiago says of the witty, imaginative print ads the agency came up with for AYALA LAND.

Although Saatchi had made ads for Ayala center in the past, AYALA LAND itself, the developer of Makati, was a new client and they came to the agency with a very simple objective. Ayala bossman Jaime Zobl de Ayala wanted to distinguish AYALA LAND from other Ayala companies, “to establish its independence”, Santiago says. “It wanted an entity as an entity itself”.

Two important winning characteristics of the product were foremost in santiago’s mind. First was Ayala’s renowned Midas touch ability to turn rugged real estate into land with the value of gold. Then there was the familiar Ayala image as eco-developers, lovers of nature who took the trouble to bury electric cables so as not to bother the trees.
SERIES CONNECTION. "From Grass to Glass" was actually a part of a print ad series.
The winning campaign was not the first one presented, Santiago reveals. The first few proposals overemphasized the ecological angle, coming off as “a bit too benevolent, too nationalistic”. Client was flattered but politely reminded agency that they were, by the way, developers.

Santiago promptly swung back to the Midas angle.Art directors Melvin Mangada and writer Isabel Gamboa liked the idea of truning something into something else. Mangada toyed with a charcoal pencil and a coarse paper until he produced a single-stroke drawing of sharp baldes of grass metamorphosing gracefully into skyscrapers. Gamboa added the play of words,”From grass to glass”, and that becamethe title of AYALA LAND’s elegant, award-winning  first print ad.

“It was the continuity of words and visuals that made it interesting”, Santiago recalls. “the effortless visual and verbal transition evoked change that was dramatic, but smooth and constructive as well. It was the perfect reinforcemt for Ayala’s image as a considerate conglomerate, a developer with a heart. AYALA LAND heartily approved the ad, and more variations followed: “From swamp to swank”, “From rocks to roads”, “From idle to ideal”. He ads appeared in four double spreads in several major newspapers for one month, as well as in a slew of souvenir programs and commemorative publications involving the high-profile company.
FROM ROCKS TO ROADS OF GLORY: Less well-known than the winning version is this ad from 1989.

AYALA LAND got the identity it wanted; tenants themselves were  soon making the distinction. Don Jaime got some added prestige to boot: the ads were entered in international competitions and brought home several awards.

AGENCY: Ace/ Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising
ADVERTISER: Ayala Coproration
PRODUCT: Ayala Land
ART DIRECTOR; Melvin M. Mangada
COPYWRITER: Isabel Beltran Gamboa
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE: Tina Dario-Esguerra
PRINT PRODUCER; Francis Maniego
ILLUSTRATOR: Melvin M. Mangada

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. 28.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

111. Kalinisang Kuskos-Piga: P&G’s MR. CLEAN KALAMANSI, 1987

A guest article from NANCY TIZON-TRUSCOTT former Mr. Clean copywriter.

By the mid-1980s, MR.CLEAN detergent bar had become the overall laundry market leader in the Philippines, surpassing Superwheel and Ajax. After all, the brand was fully supported with aggressive advertising (“Sylvia La Torre’s Labadami, Labango” was instrumental in promoting the brand—it would be selected as one of top 25 commercials of all times at the 2002 Pilak Awards) and continuous product developments. For example, the current Mr. Clean at that time was infused with “Solarex” sun-brightening power.

There would be more introductions of revolutionary variants, starting with the breakthrough MR. CLEAN KALAMANSI that resulted in clean, citrus-scented laundry—“linis bango ng kalamansi”. Its launch ad was printed with green ink that had the citrus-y scent of kalamansi—almost similar to the “scratch ‘n sniff ads” popular in the U.S., a  technique that’s a first in the Philippines. The TV commercial was developed separately—and it gave birth to the coined term “kuskos-piga” (scrub-squeeze) that was soon being mouthed by housewives all over the country. And who could forget a character from the commercial named Bulak—not a child, but a baby goat! Nancy Tizon-Truscott recalls her experience in the making of this delightful commercial.


One of my most memorable TV commercial shoots ever in my 20 year advertising career was the shooting of the classic MR. CLEAN "Bulak" TVC in the late '80s. MR. CLEAN was one of the top selling detergent bars of our client Procter & Gamble. The product was constantly improved with the addition of  known effective cleaning ingredients like "kalamansi". This gave birth to the campaign line "kuskus-piga" after the washing practice of scrubbing and squeezing kalamansi juice on stained clothes.  Later, with the addition of bleach to the product, the line morphed to "kuskus-piga-patak".


The slice-of-life "Bulak" TVC was cinematically directed by the late great Ishmael Bernal and set in a remote village in  bucolic Asin Valley in Benguet province. It tells the story of a sheep farmer in search of his lost baby goat, Bulak. He finds him hurt and entangled in a thorny bush. When he brings him home, his wife notices the lamb's blood on his shirt which she then confidently washes with MR. CLEAN with bleach.
AGENCY & PRODUCTION STAFF. Seated: L-R: Director Ishmael Bernal
CD Jimmy Santiago, writer Nancy Tizon. Standing: agency producer
Jack Dumaup, art director Bingo Bautista of Ace/ Saatchi & Saatchi.
Like many out of town shoots, this wasn't without its complications. Initially a three day shoot, it became a five day shoot after one of the cameras broke down and a new one had to be brought in all the way from Manila. Cast and crew were billeted in an inn in Baguio and most days, we got up before dawn for the nearly two-hour ride to Asin Valley. And to think that the night before, we ended the day's shoot at past midnight. Most nights, we barely got two hours' sleep. 

MR. CLEAN CREATIVE, Nancy Tizon with ad talents, acct. supervisor
Chatie Bantug of Ace/Saatchi & Saatchi..
While we were shooting, it seemed the whole village came to watch with great interest, including friendly but heavily armed NPA rebels!  At our first meal on set, I could barely eat because the village children were watching us hungrily as we ate. Fortunately, our production house FILMEX was so kind and generous that they cooked enough food to feed the entire village. This shoot must have been the most exciting event  to have happened in their tiny village in many years!
TIME-OUT! Direk Ishmael Bernal playing charades with agency people
during a break in the commercial shoot in Asin, Mt. Province.
This MR. CLEAN "Bulak" commercial successfully sustained MR. CLEAN's dominance in the detergent market. It also became immensely popular. At the time, a Jollibee commercial featured a kid who lost her doll named "Jennifer." A popular joke went the rounds with the question, "Sinong kasama ni Jennifer nung nawala siya? " And of course the answer was, "Si Bulak!"

ART DIRECTOR: Bingo Bautista
ARTIST: Abe Montañez

TV DIRECTOR: Ishmael Bernal
SINGER: Ayen Munji
CASTER: Flor Salanga

Jingle Source Credit: 
MR. CLEAN KALAMANSI,, uploaded by vibesey, 7 May 2017
Strictly Commercial: THE JINGLES COLLECTION, by Jose Mari Chan

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

110. Brand Stories: COSMOS (SARSI) of Cosmos Bottling Corp.

COSMOS 1963 print ad. At its peak, it was the no. 1 sarsaparilla soda in the market.

One of the more popular alternative soda brands in the Philippines after the war was a product of the Manila Aerated Water Factory, located on Misericordia St., Manila. It was founded way back in 1918 by Wong Ning, a Guangdong native who migrated to the Philippines. He would be arrested and jailed by the Japanese during World War II for his association with the Kuomintang government, where he would tragically die in prison.

VERY EARLY COSMOS AD. 1955. Only 5 centavos per bottle!

The eldest of his 7 children—Henry Gao-Hong Wong—rebuilt the business post-war and renamed it in 1945 as COSMOS Bottling Corporation.


Its main product was a flavored beverage called COSMOS Sarsaparilla. Sarsaparilla—similar to root beer—is made from the roots of the sarsaparilla vine, and is considered as a tonic drink with medicinal value. The flavor is not alien to Filipinos, as root beer was introduced by Americans in their regime; Royal, and early soda brand, carried the same flavor.

'SARSI' IS COSMOS. This 1968 ad calls the sarsaparilla drink--Sarsi!

Print advertising was begun in the mid 1950s. Soon, COSMOS found its way to Filipino homes and became quickly a favorite, holding its own against leaders Pepsi and Coca-Cola. The company, would prosper under the management of  the Philippine-educated Henry, who was armed with a doctoral degree in Economics from the University of Santo Tomas. COSMOS Bottling Corp,,under his helm, became the second largest manufacturer of soft drinks in the Philippines.

SARSI AD, Featuring the 1968 Miss Asia, Macy Shih,  and her court, ca. 1969

This paved the way for the Wong family to put up the COSMOS Aerated Water in Hong Kong in 1947, with its own plant on Castle Peak Road.  COSMOS, too, became a favorite brand, and soon, they expanded their plant and equipped it with state-of-the-art bottling machines that could produce 3,000 bottled Cosmos per hour, in Sarsaparilla, Orange, Cream Soda, Lime, Lemon, Mulberry, Grape and Pineapple flavors. The Hong Kong operation was taken care of by younger brother Hubert and Freddy Wong. After 1966, the COSMOS Hong Kong business seemed to have faltered, although its corporate registration is still active today.

SARSI AD. With Miss Asia 1969, Wong Kyung Suh of Korea as endorser,

THE SARSI SOCIETY, With Miss Asia '69 and her court. ca. 1970.

The sarsaparilla flavor of COSMOS was such in demand by the late 1960s, and consumers by then had started calling it “Sarsi”—and so the name stuck, even though the bottles still bannered the COSMOS name up front. COSMOS in orange flavor was relaunched in the early 70s as SUNTA.

CHRISTMAS AD, With the 1969 Miss Asia. ca. 1969

LET'S SARSI TOGETHER! With India's Zeenat Amman, Miss Asia '70.

By a cruel twist of fate, the brilliant Henry--only 53-- died of a stroke caused  by his brain tumor in 1970. Several family members were unprepared to fill in the leadership vacuum left by the patriarch, as there was no training for succession.

THE SARSI SOCIETY, With Carolyn Masibay, Mutya ng Pilipinas 1971.

Still, advertising and promotions continued through the 1970s, with colored ads featuring Miss Asia and Mutya winners (COSMOS was into events marketing; it was a major sponsor of Miss Asia and  Mutya ng Pilipinas). One of its most memorable commercials was the “SARSI with Egg” TVC presented by imported talent Danny Vanni, who endorsed an unconventional usage for drinking Sarsi—with a raw egg stirred in, yolks and all. Such a combination supposedly ensured heightened energy.


The business floundered until, in RFM Corporation acquired it from the Wong Family in 1989, thus ending the Wong family’s hold on COSMOS which they have had for 7 decades. The products were briefly revitalized by a new “Bagong Tunog” (all-Philippine music) campaign conceptualized by Basic Advertising.


In 2001, Coca-Cola Bottlers Phils. (under the combined control of San Miguel and Coca-Cola Company) would acquire 83% of COSMOS Bottling from RFM, to give it ownership of 90% market share of the Philippine soft drink market in the Philippines. It was delisted from the Philippine Stock Exchange in 2013.

PSST. PASS IT ON! Sarsi Print Ad, 1975.

At its peak, COSMOS Bottling Corp., were the makers of Sarsi (Sarsaparilla), Sunta (Cosmos Orange Flavor), Sarsi Light,  Pop Cola, Cheers Lemon and Orange, Jaz Cola and Sparkle.

COSMOS PRODUCTS RELAUNCH. by Basic/FCB Advertising. 1989.

Cosmos Aerated Water – in Hong Kong from 1947

“The Fall of the Once Mighty Cosmos Soft drink Company”.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

109. Tsikletin Mo Baby!: CHICLETS “Mas Hilig ng Bibig” Campaign, 1980

TSIKLETIN MO, BABY! Frames from the very successful CHICLETS TV ad.

Adams CHICLETS—those peppermint-flavored gums in their familiar thin yellow packs—were already well known to Filipino in the 1960s. CHICLETS was created by Thomas Adams, who, upon the prodding of Mexican Antonio Lopez de Sta. Ana, produced the gum from “chicle”—a soft, chewy substance extracted from sapote tree.

ADAMS CHICLETS, 1964 print ad.

He mass produced his gum after receiving chewing gum machine patent in 1871 and began selling them in drug stores under Adams, Sons and Co in 1876. It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that the product was fully developed as the CHICLETS that we know now, now--candy-coated, and boxed in thin packs. Adams was eventually absorbed by the American Chicle Co., one of the world’s largest producers of gums and mints.

ADAMS CHEWING GUM. Made to compete against Juicy Fruit. 1965

In 1962, pharmaceutical firm Warner Lambert bought American Chicle Co., which included the Adams brand of gums like Dentyne, Trident, Certs, Cloret mints and of course, CHICLETS.

The CHICLETS thus became available in the Philippines around 1964, in Peppermint, Spearmint and Tutti-Frutti flavors. The next year, CHICLET sticks in foil wraps were launched to compete with Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit. CHICLETS were marketed and advertised on leading weekly magazines, with illustrated print ads in color.


Warner-Lambert Philippines signed up with local agency Basic Advertising in 1978, after the U.S. headquarters ok'd the arrangement. In 1979, the agency started production of  CHICLETS TV commercial—“Mas Hilig ng Bibig” (More Preferred by your Mouth)—made waves for its catchy, repetitive jingle with a melody adapted from the song “Mexican Hat Dance”, and a catchphrase—“Tsikletin Mo, Baby!”, coined by ad icon, Herminio “Minyong Ordoñez (+). The TVC hit the airwaves in the 2nd quarter of 1980. With its fast intercuts, split screens,  expressive close-ups of gum-chewing models—plus the use of the local language—the CHICLETS commercial did wonders for the brand, grabbing the market leadership from old-time rival, Juicy Fruit Gum.

AGENCY: Basic Advertising
ART DIRECTOR: Rudy San Pedro
DIRECTOR: Jun Urbano
CLIENT: Warner-Lambert Phils.Inc.

youtube, Lessons from Chiclets:, , ulpaoded 13 June 2013, by ogilvy do. Thanks, Paolo Mercado.Popi Gutay for the details.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

108. Is That Who I Think She Is? BELLA FLORES, for CAMAY SOAP, 1955

CONTRAVIDA CAMAY GIRL, BELLA FLORES, Camay Soap print ad, mid-1950s.

“The Soap of Beautiful Women”CAMAY—was introduced by Procter and Gamble PMC in 1950, a product that enjoyed such a high profile, that the first boxes  of the beauty soap were sent to Philippine President Elpidio Quirino.

Few years after, the brand rolled out its first advertising featuring—of course—the Philippines’ most beautiful women. Movie queens Carmen Rosales, Paraluman,  Gloria Romero, Alicia Vergel, Norma Blancaflor, Rosa Rosal and Miss Universe Armi Kuusela graced the early ads, followed by young ingénues in the mid 50s—Nida Blanca, Letty Alonso, Charito Solis.

Most of these CAMAY models were chosen not only for their beauty, but also for their wholesome charm, grace and spotless image. It was a surprise then to find, included in this elite list—an actress who earned a reputation as the premier “villainess”—kontrabida of Philippine showbiz—BELLA FLORES.

Born as Medina Papa Dancel in Sta. Cruz, Manila on 27 Feb. 1929, she was a Far Eastern University  college sophomore  when she was discovered for the movies. In 1950, she made her first film, Tatlong Balaraw, an action movie starring Jose Padilla Jr. and Anita Linda. 

It was Dr. Jose Vera-Perez who christened her "Bella Flores"--beautiful flower. Snapped by Sampaguita Pictures to appear as the cruel stepmother of Tessie Agana in the mega box-office hit, “Roberta”, Bella’s popularity suddenly rose. Her iconic ‘kontrabida’ performance turned her into a hot star, and soon she was reprising her evil role in such films as Rebecca (1952), Munting Kerubin (1952), Gigolo (1956), Prinsesang Gusgusin (1957),  Anghel sa Lansangan (1959) and Alipin ng Palad (1959).  Bella was certainly hated by fans for her despicable treatment of Vilma Santos in Trudis Liit (1963) and in Kaibigan Kong Santo Nino (1967) for which she won a FAMAS Best Supporting statuette.

But of course, when Flores first appeared in the CAMAY print ad series, P&G executives would have no way of knowing that she would be typecast in villain roles---characters that movie audiences loved to hate. To them, she was as beautiful as her name—Bella!—and thus perfect for CAMAY.


Her effective portrayals clearly showed how good an actress she really was. In fact, Flores continued acting for most of her life, until she suffered a hip injury that caused her death on 19 May 2013. She even managed to complete a short film for Bench, about how it is to be a kontrabida , a role she relished all her life.

BENCHINGKO/FILMS PRESENTS KONTABIDA 1010, published on 6 Aug. 2012.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

107. A Light of Hope: HOPE CIGARETTES, 1979

In the mid 1970s, Fortune Tobacco Corporation of Lucio Tan, ruled the Philippine cigarette market led by brands like More, Westpoint, Camel, Salem, Champion and HOPE INTERNATIONAL LUXURY CIGARETTES, sold as mentholated sticks. The company was founded in 1966, with a decrepit plant made of GI sheets and scrap lumber in Marikina, equipped with second hand machines. It would grow to become one of the five largest privately-held cigarette manufacturers in the world.

The success of their brands were largely due to their massive tri-media advertising and promotions, which was handled by their agency, J. Romero and Associates. There was a deliberate decision to give the Fortune cigarette line an imported image, and in fact, most of the brands in their early advertising, featured Caucasian talents.

HOPE CIGARETTES were advertised on the basis of their “mentholated freshness”. The TVCs showed foreign talents engaged in such exhilarating Western leisure like sky-diving, sky wake-boarding and speed boat racing to drive home the “freshness” story. Sure enough, HOPE CIGARETTES became the largest luxury cigarette in the country.

But what made even HOPE CIGARETTES more popular was a jingle that had a genuine American feel courtesy of the singer who sounded like Karen Carpenter—then one of the leading voices of the airwaves.

“There’s a light of HOPE…when you light a HOPE…there’s a light of HOPE for you…”, went the jingle, sang soulfully by the singer—Claire de la Fuente, then 21, who was assigned by composer George Canseco to sing the jingle. It accompanied a TVC which aired in late 1979, that featured paragliders soaring on yonder blue skies.


The song took HOPE CIGARETTES to an all-time high in terms of awareness and popularity, but it also catapulted the singer to fame. As the campaign evolved, the jingle was rearranged, and, in subsequent versions, popular lines from the lyrics (“there’s a light of hope) as well as the melody would be integrated in future incarnations of the jingle.

In 2010, Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing Inc. and Fortune Tobacco created a new corporation called Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation (PMFTC). HOPE CIGARETTES would continue to be a prized part of the product portfolio in the next decades. HOPE would have a period of highs and lows—the recent blow was the implementation of the reformed sin tax in January 2013 that jacked up its prices. But, for a well-known and well-loved brand,  always “there’s a light of hope” for its future!

Hope Luxury Cigarettes TV Commercial 1980 (Digitally Restored and Remastered Version, by Lian Las Pinas, published 14April 2017.

Friday, April 28, 2017

106. THE ART OF DUNKIN’ DONUTS, according to Lydia Velasco-Cruz

DUNKIN' DONUTS MUNCHKINS AD. Illustrated by Lydia Velasco-Cruz. 1984.

America’s favorite coffee and baked goods chain was founded in 1950 by William Rosenberg in Quincy, Massachusetts. DUNKIN' DONUTS has come to be one of the largest food chains in the world with presence in 36 countries.

 It was only in 1981 that it came to the Philippines, when Golden Donuts Inc.,based in Mandaluyong, acquired the Dunkin’ Donuts franchise.The corporation is owned largely by the Prieto family, which also owned the local franchise for Shakey’s, Racks and Tia Maria, among others. Golden Donuts, Inc. opened its first ever shop at the Quad Car Park in Makati, and began serving food-loving Filipinos the first Dunkin’ Donuts. Its menu included filled and plain donuts, Munchkins, coffee, hot and cold beverages, croissants, bunwiches, brownies, muffins.

The donuts proved to be a hit, and Ace-Compton Advertising, which had already been working on the Shakey’s account, was also assigned the Dunkin’ Donuts chain.

The creative team included a talented female art director, Lydia Velasco-Cruz, one of the few in the male-dominated field of advertising art.

 Lydia Velasco, (b. 1942 ) was the eldest child in a family of nine brothers and sistaters, the daughter of Jose Velasco, a noted LVN set designer. Her first job was selling fish in her native Navotas and in Malabon. But she heeded her artistic calling and enrolled in Fine Arts, major in Advertising, at the University of Santo Tomas.

 After graduation, she landed a job as an artist at Philprom, where de. she honed her art direction skills for over a decade. She went on to become a full-fledged Art Director for several multinational advertising companies, with a long and productive stint at Ace-Compton Advertising. Lydia worked on the blue chip Procter and Gamble PMC account, and was also assigned some Johnson & Johnson brands like Reach Toothbrush and Modess Napkins. She would actually illustrate the artworks herself with her mastery of pastel crayons.

DUNKIN' DONUTS AD, Art direction by Lydia Velasco-Cruz

Her Dunkin’ Donuts assignment was a nice break from the more rigid P&G ads that she used to do, and it allowed her a freer rein to experiment with drawings, art direction techniques, typography and composition. In 1988, Lydia left advertising to be a co-partner of Lightmoves Photo/Design, Inc., but the changing business environment forced her to give up the business and return to her first love: painting.

BREWED COFFEE AD, art direction by Lydia Velasco-Cruz, 1984

She joined Malang’s Saturday Group and rediscovered the feel and power of her brush,. Soon, she was mounting her own exhibits, and became known for her massive, heavy-set beautiful women engaged in their work—selling wares, fish, flowers and fruits.

CHRISTMAS AD, DUNKIN' DONUTS, art directed by Lydia Velasco-Cruz, 1984
Today, this former Dunkin’ Donuts art director is one of the country’s most celebrated female painters; her works are in private homes and galleries around the world, and are prized at international auction houses. It’s been a long and arduous journey, but for Lydia Velasco-Cruz----it’s worth the trip!

Friday, April 21, 2017

105. PALMOLIVE SOAP, “Like Mother, Like Daughter” Campaign, 1965

WHO IS THE MOTHER? WHO IS THE DAUGHTER? The future actress-comedian Tessie Tomas--known then as Teresita Hermosa--poses with her mother, radio icon Laura Hermosa--in this launch ad for Palmolive's new camapign that sought to point out t-its consumer promise of delivering "younger-looking skin". 

PALMOLIVE SOAP was produced in 1916, and it was only 12 years later that the soap was imported by the company of Arthur Brent, for sale in the Philippines. Brent’s company was the pre-cursor of Colgate-Palmolive Philippines.

The soap got its name from its ingredients—palm oil and olive oil. It was the second brand of the company, after Colgate, and would become one of the best-selling soaps in the world. In the Philippines, PALMOLIVE was also one of the leading beauty soaps in the market along with Camay and Lux. Ad agency Grant Advertising (which became Bates-Alcantara, then DYR-Alacantara) acquired the account in 1949.

In 1965, a new campaign for PALMOLIVE SOAP was launched which created talk-of-the-town buzz and would endure for many years.  Its proposition latched on to the promise of giving “younger-looking skin”. A TV commercial version dramatized this in a commercial that featured a Santacruzan where the Reyna Elena was recognized by a female onlooker who tells his malE friend—“Classmate ko siya 5 years ago!”.  To which the male friend quipped—“Bakit mas mukhang bata pa siya kaysa sa iyo?”. 

The compelling story was translated to a print campaign entitled, “Like Mother, Like Daughter” which sought to visualize mild PALMOLIVE’s  ability to give clean, clear, and radiantly beautiful skin.
tandem in 1967 and 1970 Palmolive print ads.
The main picture of the ad shows a real-life mother and daughter, posed side-by-side. The headline read—“Sisters?…or Mother and Daughter?”.  The perfectly-cast ad draws the reader to the youthful appearance of the mother, whose looks are comparable to the daughter. It invites the reader to look at the picture and pick out the mother (or daughter)—a clever way to go around the rules of comparative advertising which was not allowed in Philippine advertising at that time.

The first models for this barrier-breaking PALMOLIVE campaign were the radio personality Laura Hermosa and her 15 year-old daughter, Teresita Hermosa. Teresita would go on to become a creative director of a multinational agency and find greater fame in showbiz as the award-winning comedienne-actress, Tessie Tomas.
THE BURGOS AND THE FARGAS mother and daughter tandem
in 1966 and 1970 Palmolive print ads.
The campaign lasted for at least 5 years, and the ad looked pretty much the same except for some copy tweaks. In subsequent years, the ads carried headlines like “Like mother, like daughter”, and a more direct call-to-action, “Which one is Mother?"

PALMOLIVE SOAP, took a backseat with the introduction of the highly-popular PALMOLIVE Shampoo line. It was in recent years that the soap was resurrected as a line of PALMOLIVE Naturals, each formulated with a distinctive ingredient to suit a person’s needs.


Tessie Tomas photo:
Palmolive vintage ad:,palmolive/Recent