Saturday, August 19, 2017

124. Brand Stories: BEAR BRAND MILK in the PHILIPPINES

BEAR BRAND, the oldest milk brand of Nestle in the Philippines, has been nurturing the health of generations of Filipinos for over 100 years. It was produced by the Bernese Alps Milk Company, established in 1892 by the famed hotelier  César Ritz, with master cook, Auguste Escoffier, on a vast tract of land brought from the von May family.

In 1895, it began producing milk in exportable quantities that became the legendary “bärenmarke”—Bear Brand. The iconic package bears the illustration of a sitting mother bear feeding her baby bear on her lap with a nursing milk bottle, a brand character that has since remained unchanged.

BEAR BRAND Sterilized Milk was available locally as an imported brand since 1906, and one of the first to be extensively advertised. Turn-of-the-20th century ads identified the product as “Leche Suisa” (Swiss Milk”), bearing the “Marca Oso” (Bear Brand). It was soon being referred to as “Marca Oso” or “gatas oso” by Filipinos at that time.

BEAR BRAND Sterilized Milk came in 155 ml. tin cans, and were exclusively imported by local Philippine agents, Lutz y Compania, later taken over by Sprüngli & Co., a big importing company with offices at 28 Calle David in Manila.

The milk was extensively promoted via advertising and sponsorships of national events, and it left its mark in the first ever Manila Carnival of 1908. BEAR BRAND was the sole product in the company’s prize-winning float hat featured a giant bear, along with a giant BEAR BRAND milk can.


1929, BEAR BRAND AD,"Best by the Test", GRAPHIC MAGAZINE


1936 BEAR BRAND AD, "Health Personified" ,GRAPHIC 

By the end of the first decade of the 20th century, BEAR BRAND Marca Oso became a household name, and it would continue to endure for the next 6 decades.



By 1967, BEAR BRAND was available in 3 sizes: Small 150 g. can, Big 500 g. can and Family 950 g. can. It was also available in Full Cream powdered form, sold in one pound, vacuum-packed, reusable aluminum can.

1964 BEAR BRAND AD, 'Good Looks", Sunday Times Mag.

1965 BEAR BRAND AD, "Nimble", Sunday Times Mag.

BEAR BRAND was eventually acquired by the world's largest food and beverage company—Nestle. As early as 1895, Nestle products like Milkmaid, were being marketed in the Philippines. It was only in 1911 that the Nestle and Anglo-Swiss dairy Company was put up in Binondo to set up its operations here.

1967 BEAR BRAND AD, "3 Sizes", STM

1967 BEAR BRAND AD, "Best Milk Around", STM.

World War II forced the suspension of its operations, but after the war, the company re-emerged as Filipro Inc. In 1976, BEAR BRAND came under Filipro Inc., with the launch of BEAR BRAND Instant Filled Milk Powder.

1968 BEAR BRAND AD, with Bb. Pilipinas, Pilar Pilapil, STM

1968 BEAR BRAND AD, with model Baby Santiago, STM

Ten years after, the company finally became Nestle Philippines, which, to this day, continues to be driven by its mission to nurture generations of Filipino families, with quality brands known the world over—including the history-rich milk with the mark of the bear—“marca oso”BEAR BRAND.

Nestle Phils. website:

Allother photos: Alex R. Castro Collection, sourced from various magazines indicated,

Friday, August 11, 2017

123. Punong-puno ng Sarap: MAGNOLIA SORBETES, 1983

1983 was a period of turmoil in the Philippines, marked by destructive typhoon Bebeng, a major earthquake in Luzon , and the killing of Marcos opposition leader Ninoy Aquino in August that would catalyze protests all over the country, culminating in the People Power Revolution.  

It was against this uncertain backdrop that Magnolia launched its MAGNOLIA SORBETES, a line of local flavors that are sure to please, generously filled with chunky fruit bits, and other tasty ingredients--"punong-puno ng sarap!"

There were four initial flavors—Halo Halo Fiesta, Queso Rico, Ube Macapuno and Fruit Salad—all familiar favorites, as the product concept aimed to replicate popular, sought-after “sorbetes” flavors  that one could easily pick from a cart from one’s friendly neighborhood sorbetero.

The  launch materials included a full color introductory ad and a jingle-based TV commercial that featured mouthwatering food and consumption shots, and employing showbiz personalities like Toby Alejar, actor/model Marty Merino and dancer Ida Ramos.


In 1996, SMC went into joint venture with Nestle that resulted in the Magnolia-Nestle Corp. Two years later, SMC withdrew but Nestle continued producing  ice cream under the Sorbetes name. In 2004, after a 10-year absence, Magnolia Ice Cream returned to the market with its classic ice cream products. Magnolia Sorbetes was promoted by its food supplier arm (Great Food Solutions)  but its present website no longer lists the Sorbetes brand in its product portfolio.

Magnolia Sorbetes picture inset:
Magnolia Sorbetes TV Ad: uploaded by Marty Merino, 9 Oct. 2007:

Sunday, August 6, 2017

122. The Face That Refreshes: SUSAN ROCES, Celebrity Endorser of the 1950s-60s.

COCA COLA COUPLE. Susan Roces appears in one of her earliest ads, with love team Bernard Bonnin, for Coca Cola's 50th Anniversary. 1957.

 Queen of the Philippine  Movies, SUSAN ROCES (born Jesusa Purificación Levy Sonora,  28 Jul. 1941 in Bacolod) began her movie career at age 8, when she was cast in the movie “Mga Bituin ng Kinabukasan”  by Nepomuceno Productions.

SUSAN ROCES in a Philippine Charity Sweepstake color print ad, 1960

Dr. Jose Perez, Sampaguita Pictures’ big boss “re-discovered” her as a teen beauty, when she was already in Manila, an interna of La Consolacion College. She passed her screen test and was given the screen name “Susan Roces” (after Susan Magalona and the Roces Publications).

.SUSAN ROCES does a LAVORIS Mouthwash and Gargle print ad, 1961.

 First introduced in “Miss Tilapia” and “Bokingera (Daw)” (1956), Roces would rise to become one of the most celebrated and influential actresses of the 60s era, especially when she went free-lance, acclaimed as the queen of Tagalog cinema, for such movies as “Susan, Susay Susie”, “Susanang Daldal”,  (1962), “Bayan Ko, Lumaban Ka” (1965), “Maruja” (1967), “Divina Gracia” (1970)  “Patayin mo sa Sindak si Barbara” (1974). She would win a back-to-back Best Actress Famas award for “Maligno” (1978), and “Gumising ka , Maruja” (1979).
SUSAN ROCES for LIFEBUOY SOAP, with Romeo Vasquez, 1960

Roces reached a milestone  in her career  when she married widow of Fernando Poe Jr.[, who left her a widow in 2004.  Daughter Grace Poe is a senator. On TV, Roces was in “John en Shirley”, an ABS-CBN comedy show until October 2007. She currently is still in the top rating “FPJ: Ang Probinsyano” series which began in 2015.

At her peak, Roces was avidly sought by companies for endorsements—from Coca Cola to beauty and personal products like Lux. Now regarded as an icon of Philippine movies, the much-loved and respected actress continues to appear in TV commercials for such products as RiteMed and Champion. Then, as now, Susan Roces has the face that refreshes, and a voice that sells.


Susan Roces, First Lady and Eterenal Queen of Philippine Movies,

Sunday, July 30, 2017


VICKS, the leading name in cough , cold flu and pain medications, began in the 1890s as a concoction of pharmacist Lunsford Richardson, who developed a menthol-based salve that releases soothing vapors when applied to the body. 

He named it after his brother-in-law, Dr. Joshua W. Vick,  who helped him in setting up his business. Richardson created 21 products which he sold under his newly- formed Lunsford Richardson Wholesale Drug Co. in 1898, which became Vick Chemical Co.

In the 1930s, the company merged with William S. Merrell Chemical Co. to become Richardson-Merrell. In time, VICKS became a successful global brand, and the products reached our shores after the war, distributed by VICKS International. The initial products were VICKS Vaporub and Cough Drops.

In the 1950s, VICKS was actively promoted in the Philippines via Print and Radio advertising. It became a household name when VICKS started a radio show on DZRH, entitled “Reyna ng Vicks” in which housewives and mothers recounted their saddest sob stories. The one who could elicit the most reaction via audience applause, was crowned as “Reyna ng Vicks”.  A film version starring Susan Roces hit the movie screens in 1958.

After various mergers and acquisitions, it became Richardson-Vick, Inc., in 1980 . Procter and Gamble (P&G) acquired the company from the Richardson family and its advertising  began in 1987, initiated and managed by the local P&G office, and which continues to this day.


VICKS VAPORUB. The most popular VICKS product was created in 1919. During the Spanish flu epidemic in the U.S. in 1919, Vaporub sales tripled to $2.9 million in just one year. It was th first VICKS product to become available in the Philippines after the War.
VICKS VAPORUB, in jars and tins. 1959

VICKIE SANTOS, VICKS brand charactre, 1950s.

VICKS COUGH DROPS. The popular menthol cough drops were launched in 1931, and were instant hit, selling 25 million pacakges in the first year. By the 1950s, they were widely available in local drugstores. Flavored versions--Wild Cherry and Lemon-- were made to appeal to kids.
VICKS COUGH DROPS, for Children, 1959
VICKS VA-TRO-NOL. Also introduced in 1931,  VICKS Va-tro-nol Nose Drops was launched in 1953 in the Philippines. The drops provided relief from nasal congestion, bit did not catch on with the Filipino public.
VICKS INHALER. The instant stuffy nose reliever-in-a-tube, first produced in the U.S. in 1951, was launched in the Philippines in 1959. Its advertising was the first to use a celebrity, matinee idol Jaime de la Rosa, as its print model.
VICKS FORMULA 44.  VICKS Cough Syrup, the first liquid cough syrup introduced by Vicks was launched in 1952. As VICKS Formula 44, the syrup provided 8 hours of long-lasting relief to cough sufferers.
VICKS IMPACT. The short-lived anti-cold VICKS Impact tablet for cold and fever was introduced in 1959, but did not flourish.
Information source:
Picture source:

Monday, July 24, 2017

120. PUREFOODS SMOKEY’S SAUSAGE WORLD: “The Sausage Surprise of your Life!” Jingle, 1982

SMOKEY'S TRAY LINER featured sausage trivia such as this, used at the Quad outlet, 1982

Since the 1960s, Pure Foods Corp. was a dominant meat products company whose hotdog, sausage and processed meat products were favorites on many Filipino tables. In the 1980s, the company decided to enter the fast-food industry through outlets that offered an assortment of hotdog-based products, from plain dogs to fancy sandwich preparations,  freshly prepared and sold at reasonable prices.
SMOKEY'S TRAY LINER, agency-designed for the 1st Quad outlet, 1982.

The first step was to create a name for the said fast food concept, and the task fell to Ace-Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, formerly Ace-Compton. The Creative Team drew up a list of name studies that were whittled down to 3 Finalists—Steven’s, Sidney’s and SMOKEY’s.
SMOKEY'S TRAY LINER. Illustrated by  account executive, Dinky.
After the names were subjected to Focus Group Discussions, the winning name was chosen—SMOKEY’S. A product descriptor was appended to capture the wide variety of sausage offerings, and thus the full brand name became SMOKEY’S SAUSAGE WORLD.
SMOKEY'S TRAY LINER. 1982, "Hotdog with a  Healthy Purpose"
The first outlet of SMOKEY'S was opened on November 1982 at the Quad Car Park in Makati City—the first sausage parlor in the country. The launch was complemented with full advertising support. To get across the message that there’s more to sausages than just hotdogs---the agency creative came up with the thematic line—“Get the sausage surprise of your life!”.


A jingle-based commercial  was produced that dramatized the surprising varieties— from the juiciest, tastiest to the fanciest and hottest hotdogs in town! While we do not have the commercial, we still have the jingle that was composed by award-winning jinglemaker, ms. Charo Unite and ably sung by Jakiri.
SMOKEY'S SAUSAGE TRIVIA: Secrets of Roman Victories, 1982
After its successful launch, Smokey's franchise became popular to independent business entrepreneurs in Metro Manila. By 1989, franchising was expanded to include provinces, thus making SMOKEY’s a national name. 

In 2002, Purefoods, the top meat products company was merged with the country's number one brewery corporation, San Miguel, giving birth to the new San Miguel-Pure Foods Corporation. 


Now simply known as SMOKEY’s, its carts and kiosks continue to give customers the most enjoyable and delightful sausage surprises of their lives.

COPYWRITER: Alex R. Castro
COMPOSER: Charo Unite
ARTIST: Jakiri


Sunday, July 16, 2017

119. Karapatdapat sa Paghanga: ROBIN HOOD POMADE, Print Ad, 1953


In the 50s, young Pinoy lads dabbed their hair with "brilliantine" pomade to create the pompadour look that was the rage of the era. Popularized by James Dean and Elvis, the iconic men's hairdo was completed with cowlick that was forced to curl in front of one's forehead with more dabs of pomade. Early brands included imported ones like Vitalis, Yardley and Brylcreem, but cheaper, local brands dominated the market from the late 40s-60s, like "Palikero", "X-7", "Verbena", "Le Conte" . One post-war brand, "ROBIN HOOD MEDICATED SOLID BRILLIANTINE POMADE" (in both cream and liquid brilliantine forms) attained a measure of popularity with young Pinoy lads of the era.

Created by Beauty Chemical Lab which had a plant along Benavidez St., Binondo in Manila, ROBIN HOOD caught on with the young crowd, favoring its extra-heavy brilliantine effect on hair.

The brand icon shows the bemoustached hero-outlaw who robbed the rich to help the poor---ROBIN HOOD--all in his red tights glory. Curiously, the package graphics show him wielding a sword instead of the bow and arrow that identifies him as an archer, first and foremost.

ROBIN HOOD Pomade was promoted nationally and advertising tin signs like this example were nailed in front of neighborhood stores to attract consumer attention. There were comics-like print ad versions written in deep, poetic Pilipino.

ROBIN HOOD, print ad 1953

Pomades went out of style in the 90s, with hair gels and clay taking their place. But in the distant 50s, there was nothing like ROBIN HOOD to groom you and bring out the the handsome rogue in you. Finally, as its advertising blurb proclaims---gleaming, shining, brilliant hair can now be "thrillingly yours!".

POSTSCRIPT: Sometime in 2012, a cache of vintage ROBIN HOOD pomade stocks as well as point-of-sale materials, mostly tin signs,  were discovered in a Binondo store. These were immediately snapped up by Filipino pickers and collectors.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

118. KENNY ROGERS ROASTERS: “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Goodness” Campaign, 1998

“Don’t forget the muffins!”
Who can forget that line delivered in a tiny, squeaky voice by a hunky male talent at the end of a 1997 KENNY ROGERS ROASTERS commercial? The dissonance in the character and his voice proved to be so memorable that the KENNY ROGERS commercial was soon being spoofed on TB gag shows,  even as a horde of customers began flocking the newest chicken restaurant in town.

Source; wikimediacommons,
The concept of a chicken restaurant was not new back in the country back in the mid 1990s. KFC, the former Kentucky Fried Chicken, was already a dominant fastfood chain serving various chicken products. Enter KENNY ROGERS ROASTERS . Established in 1991 by country musician—and foodie-- Kenny Rogers, in partnership with John Y. Brown, and Kenny Rogers, it first opened its first branch in Coral Springs, Florida.

Just a mere four years later, Roasters Philippines Inc. brought the KENNY ROGERS ROASTERS to Manila. Roasters Phils., was founded by the enterprising Bernardine Sy, whose family was also behind successful consumer brands like Jag Jeans, Lee Jeans, Marie France. She expanded their business portfolio to include food—hence she ventured into franchising, acquired KENNY ROGERS and opened the first outlet at Alabang Town Center on 28 March 1995 to great acclaim.

Two years after, its first drive-thru restaurant opened in Lipa. Filipino customers took to enjoying roasted chicken (as opposed to fired) that they heartily ate along with side dishes, salads, pastas---and of course, the best-selling muffins.  

When it came to pushing KENNY ROGERS ROASTERS with advertising, the brand’s imported image came into play—and the first print ads showed slick product shots straight from an American magazine. If there was a barrier that needed to be broken, it was the high class image that the brand projected that needed fixing. After all, such an “uppity” image can be alienating.

By 1997, powerhouse agency Jimenez DMB&B was getting ready for the impending loss of KFC which it had been handling for over 2 years, due to managerial changes in the company. At that time, Jimenez DMB&B had been handling another Sy business—JAG Jeans—which was performing very well in the fashion market, thanks to the agency’s award-winning campaigns. The agency had long wanted the KENNY ROGERS account, but contractual obligations forbade it to handle conflicting accounts. KFC’s loss paved the way for the eventual addition of KENNY ROGERS to Jimenez DMB&B’s client list.


The first KENNY ROGERS ("Pila" TVC 30s) commercial produced by the agency addressed the image problem of the store by coming up with the “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Goodness” campaign. To show how accessible KENNY ROGERS is, the creative team headed by Raoul Panes and Poch Guevara came up with the idea of having “unseen people watchers”, observing the comings-and-goings inside a friendly KENNY ROGERS restaurant. Through this  peepshow approach, we see how the KENNY ROGERS crowd actually come from all walks of life, ordinary people like you and me—but with extraordinary taste for all that is good, that gives value for their money and that prices great eating experience.


Much of the charm of the commercial, directed by ace Vitt Romero,  relies on the lively, chatty voice-overs of the unseen voyeurs. They were, in fact, provided by the agency creative themselves, led by the Creative Director Raoul Panes, and Jim Battad, an art director. The one voice that stood out for was that of the good-looking hunk at the end, high-pitched and squeaky. It was voiced by Lilit Trinidad, also a creative writer of Jimenez DMB&B.

The new commercials were very well-received and Jimenez DMB&B would go on to produce a follow-up "Ganado" commercial using the same format. It would also keep KENNY ROGERS ROASTERS longer than KFC, which to this day, continues to offer its signature roasted dishes, cooked  on cooked together with the freshest ingredients in all their over 50 Kenny’s stores all over the Philippines.

ART DIRECTOR: Poch Guevara
PRODUCER: Paul Suarez
VOICE-OVERS: Lilit Trinidad, Jim Battad, Raoul Panes
DIRECTOR: Vittorio Romero