Wednesday, October 18, 2017

133. Why Don’t You Shop Around With a Friend? 680 HOME APPLIANCES INC.

In the late 70s and 80s, 680 HOME APPLIANCES INC. built a reputation as the go-to place for affordable domestic appliances and electronics, big and small, for the home, for school and for work. It was well known for its wide range of products—from calculators to electric fans, lamps and TV, rice cookers and gas ranges-- all at bargain prices. To top it all, it gave away lots of freebies too!

680 HOME APPLIANCES began its store operations in August 28, 1968 at its first and original store on 680 Rizal Avenue, Sta Cruz. Manila—hence the name, 680. Just 11 years after, the company moved its main office to a spacious 5-storey building on a sprawling 3,300 sq. m. lot along EDSA, on 839-841 Edsa, Diliman in Quezon City.

It was just a matter of time that 680 HOME APPLIANCES expanded its operations base to P. Burgos, Makati (1989), Imus, Cavite (1995) and the following year, Dasmariñas. Later in 1996, the Baliuag branch opened, followed by the one in Tanay (1997).


As well known as its easy-on-the-pocket merchandise is 680 HOME APPLIANCES' brand of advertising. Shot mostly in betacam formats, they looked rather unfinished, and amateurishly directed. Most memorable was its jingle, with a cloying, but easy-to-recall music and lyrics that went something like: ”why don’t you…shop around, with your friends…”. Why, 680 HOME APPLIANCES even managed to snag celebrity endorsers to appear in its TV ads!

youtube, 680 Home Appliance,, uploaded by fishbolero, 2 Jan. 2008

Saturday, October 14, 2017

132. Is That Who I Think She Is? CHERIE GIL for CITROBELLE, 1979

CITROBELLE is a brand name of a skin cleanser produced by Oro Laboratories in the early 1970s. It was used to clean facial skin that ordinary washing cannot do, to help remove blackheads and prevent pimples and acne problems. Just like its major competitor Eskinol, CITROBELLE contains tiny cleansing granules in a medicated citrus-y solution, leaving skin soft and younger-looking.

CITROBELLE print ads appeared in major weekend magazines, featuring generic female models touting the efficacy of the product with its unique Lemon Action.  

Still going strong five years later, CITROBELLE enlisted an up and coming teener with an impeccable showbiz pedigree.

The only daughter of actress Rosemarie Gil and 60s singer-actor Eddie Mesa, Evangeline Cheryl Rose Eigenmann y Gil (b.12 May 1963) had made several early appearances in films and TV as an actress and singer, using names as Sherrie Gil, Cherry or Cherrie Gil. Not many know that also did commercial modeling, bagging a 2-year contract to model for CITROBELLE  Skin Cleanser at the tender age of 16.

CITROBELLE, Print Ad, Woman's Home Companion, 1979

She did at least 3 versions of these CITROBELLE print ads, but her big break came when people took notice of her in the  1980 film, “Problem Child” with Lloyd Samartino. That paved the way for many more appearances and recognitions in films, teleseryes and stage. Gil’s memorable body of works include: Manila by Night (1980), Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan, Oro, Plata, Mata (1982), Sana’y Wala ng Wakas (1986), My First Romance (2006).  She is best known for her role as the antagonist Lavinia Arguelles in the movie, “Bituing Walang Ningning”. As a singer, she recorded  her only hit song, “Boy”, in the late 70s.

CITROBELLE AD, Woman;s Home Companion, 1979

A favorite soap star,, she did her first TV drama, May Bukas pa, in 2000. In 2006 she was cast in the hit TV remake of Gulong Ng Palad, and was in the 2010 fantasy, Grazilda on GMA 7. Her latest guestings include Alyas Robin Hood (2017) and Tadhana, as Madam Bital.


Monday, October 9, 2017

131. Brand Icons: SUSTAGEN’S SUSY AND GENO, 1985

The adorable duo that drove Filipino kids to pester their mothers to buy cans and cans of Sustagen came to life in 1985. SUSY AND GENO were the marketing brainchildren of Mead Johnson, the company behind the nutrition supplement , Sustagen. Mr. Chichi Barros, Consumer Products Director for Marketing conceived the idea of having a tandem of adorable mascots who will epitomize the values of parents and children alike.

Sustagen, with its “23 Resistensya Builders”was, undoubtedly, a superior chocolate-flavored health supplement, but it looked and felt so serious to most kids. 

The mascots were the perfect answers to make the premium brand more relatable. SUSY was designed as a young girl with lots of charming personality, a perfect complement to the friendly, wholesome GENO.

The SUSY AND GENO tandem,  both embodiments of happy, healthy children, turned Sustagen as the no. 1 selling milk in the 80s decade. SUSY AND GENO not only appeared in countlessTV ads, but also went on school and supermarket  tours to perform, dance, sing and promote the health benefits of the brand.


The brand mascots were the stars of their own Sustagen’s Kiddie Club, that had over 45,000 members at its peak. They went around the Philippines—attended town fiestas,  visited classrooms, hosted week-end gatherings, led puppet-making workshops,  and received countless invitations to grace birthday parties! Wherever they went, SUSY AND GENO spread the message of good health together with Mead Johnson’s professional nutritionists who often accompanied them on tours.

The high cost of mounting these activities forced their temporary retirement,  but by late 1990s, SUSY AND GENO staged a comeback. In 2013, SUSY AND GENO were seen again as adult mascots, leading separate lives and careers. This generated some interest on facebook, where the drama of their reunion played out.

SUSY AND GENO are often held up as perfect examples of the effective use of mascots in marketing promotions and communications—especially to kids who have to grapple with abstract ideas such as health, nutrition and friendship. The brand mascots have succeeded in explaining these in fun, engaging ways that allow kids to learn without losing their sense of wonder.


Susy & Geno Photo: De la Torre, Visitacion. Advertising in the Philippines: Its Historical, Cultural and Social Dimensions. Tower Book House, 1989. P. 102.
youtube: Sustagen Con Yelo,, uploaded by Want Promo, publihsed 12 Feb. 2010
youtube: Susy and Geno (A Case Study):,, published by Ace-Saatchi & Saatchi-PH, Aug. 13, 2014

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

130. Brand Stories: RADIOWEALTH, INC. (1930)


Since its foundation in 1930, RADIOWEALTH has been making appliances with an eye to the future, putting out modern products which become pace-setters in the local appliance market.

It was started by a visionary from Camarines, Domingo M. Guevara (b.1909/ who took up a correspondence course to become a radio technician—even as he was manning the family farm. 

After a land dispute that made him decide to move to Manila, Guevara set up a a one-man radio repair shop that would grow to become the country’s most dominant, well-known name in electronics and appliances before Japan-made products took over the market.

The enterprise, fittingly called RADIOWEALTH, would make Guevara one of the richest and most successful modern-day industrialists of his time.


The company’s history has interesting highlights:


1930 - Founded by Domingo M. Guevara as a radio repair shop an later, as a radio dealer.


1935 – Incorporated, started importation and distribution of radio sets.


1951 – Under exchange controls, launched assembly of radio sets.


1955 – Pioneered in the manufacture of TV sets.


1956 – Started the manufacture of electronic components such as transformers, coils, chassis and metal parts.


1958 – Started the manufacture of room air  conditioner.


1963 – Started the manufacture of local televison tuners under a license from Standard Kollsman Industries, the major manufacturer of TV tuners in the U.S.

1964 – Introduced TV sets with the implosion-proof Shellbond picture tube.


1965 – Introduced Koldpoint refrigerators


1966 – Organized nationwide Radiowealth franchise dealerships.


1967 – Introduced the RW-RCA TV. Added ranges, beds, pianos, to its household appliance lines. Received Presidential Award for pioneering in electronics.

1968 – Acquired production facilities for manufacturing Worthington central and packaged air conditioning systems.


1969 – Introduced the revolutionary Apollo 19 TV with Bubble Screen, the Nocturne LSD stereo with Light and Sound  Diascope and the Interlude AC-DC operated stereo.

This year, RADIOWEALTH developed the Professional modular super solid state component stereo, the Apollo 16 and the Apollo 17 TV.


The company also designed and invented an authentic voltage regulator which saves appliances from damage resulting from voltage irregularities. The inexpensive device is now on the market.


RADIOWEALTH subscribed to professional advertising and the brand was actively promoted tri-media and in-store. The brand continued to flourish through the  70s, but the influx of Japanese brands caused major shifts in brand preference. RADIOWEALTH,  thus, embarked on a “Buy Filipino” Campaign.


But by then, Guevara was secure in his RADIOWEALTH business and had branched out to other other lucrative pursuits.  He even forayed into politics –elected a delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention that he thought he could use  to advance his platform of industrializing the Philippines.


When Martial Law was declared, Guevara’s business plan was jeopardized, especially since he was one of 7 delegates who voted against martial law. Because of this, he was pressured by the Marcos government which wanted to take over his successful business. Knowing it was futile to fight Marcos, Guevara—whose health has been affected by the turn of events—together with his wife, fled to the United States.


RADIOWEALTH eventually closed, signaling an end of a shining era of industrial revolution. But Guevara’s legacy remains in Mandaluyong, where a busy, bustling street on where his manufacturing plants stood-Libertad St.--has been renamed after him—Domingo M. Guevara St. the self-made industrialist died in the 1990s.


Various issues of the Sunday Times Magazine, 1963-1972
Various issues of Philippine Free Press, 1955-1960

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

129. KATIALIS AND BALATKINIS: A Tale of Two Ointments and the Brothers that Created Them.

KATIALIS, formulated by Dr. Lorenzo Reyes, B&W print ad, 1946.

The most successful local skin ointment in history was formulated in the 1930s by Dr. Lorenzo C. Reyes (b.?/d. 1985) and mixed by his chemist brother, Manuel, at his Locre Laboratorio in San Lazaro, Manila. The name of  KATIALIS topical ointment was coined from “KATI”(itch) and “ALIS” (go away), and was widely marketed as an effective solution to skin diseases such as “tagihawat, anan, anghit, buni, alipunga, bungang araw, bulutong tubig, balakubak, sunog sa araw, masamang butlig, ulsera, sugat, pekas, galis, pigsa, butlig pagkatapos mag-ahit, sigid ng lamok, surot at iba pang maliit na hayop”.

KATIALIS was available in small jars, and was one of the first medicine brands advertised as being Philippine-made. Its whimsical ads showed allegorical figures like angels, biblical characters (the 3 Kings, for instance, bearing KATIALIS jars as gifts) and wild animals (to represent various skin ailments). After over 80 years, KATIALIS is still available in the market today. 

BALATKINIS, formulated by Dr. Manuel C. Reyes, B&W print ad, 1948

After concocting Katialis for 10 years for his brother, Manuel struck it on his own and came up with a copycat brand, BALATKINIS  in 1947. Like KATIALIS, the new BALATKINIS was guaranteed to effectively remove “galis, buni, pigsa, tagihawat, butlig, anan, pekas, alipunga, sugat na maliliit at kagat ng hayop tlad ng lamok, surot, pulgas, atbp.”

BALATKINIS also had its share of print advertising, going as far as capitalizing on the fact that its maker is the same Manuel C. Reyes, ”na sa loob ng 10 taon ay siya rin ang gumawa ng Katialis (pormula ni Dr. L. C. Reyes). Despite following the same marketing formula of the pioneering skin ointment, BALATKINIS did not quite take off, and failed to replicate KATIALIS’ pedigree of success.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

128. 1984 Creative Guild’s Radio Ad of the Year: GILLETTE’s RUBIE BLADE, “Harana” RC 30s.

The Creative Guild’s very frst radio ad of the year drew inspiration from the popular slice-of-life format, but further injected situations with a delightful brand of anticlimactic Pinoy humor.

As Bill Ibañez, then associate creative director of McCann-Erickson, now creative director at Great Wall Avertising and father of the RUBIE “Harana” 30-seconder ad, likes to say “Humor is my specialty. And Filipinos love it when a situation has a humorous twist.”

Source: flickr, Arne Kuilman
The client was Gillette Philippines, a 15-odd-year associate of McCann-Erickson, and the product was RUBIE Blade. When Ibañez took over the account, a popular campaign and a TV campaign starring the late comedian Vic Pacia were already airing. Client wanted to employ radio to encourage the men in downscale rural market to please shave.

“A lot of men out there were still using primitive implements to get rid of their bristles.” Ibañez explains. Such grooming innovations included two coins used as a makeshift tweezers or even splinters of wood. That is, if the gentleman ever bothered with his bristles at all.

Ibañez decided to utilize the popular jingle , which made a simple but very attractive promise, If you shaved with RUBIE, you would look good. “Ahit RUBIE, Ahit Pogi”—the eqution of the brand name with a Filipino slang for “handsome” was only of the cmpaign’s winning elements. Ibañez went a step further by pushing the satisfied user over the deep end; the hero becomes so handsome that, by the end of the commercial, he has a new problem altogether, “He becomes too good-looking for his own good.”

In “Harana”, only one of the several presentations of the delicious RUBIE dilemma, a fellow with the unsavory name of Tiagong Tuchang pays court to Kathleen, whose mother immediately puts the light out on the suitor because of his unshaven state. Calling him “tuchang” , a terribly coarse kind of bristle, is bad enough. “Yung hindi nag-aahit! Yung mukhang piña!”, the mother exclaims, and the listener goes to town figuring out how unbelievably fuzzy Tiago really looks.

RUBIE is presented as a resolution, and the playing of the jingle signifies that the hero has taken matters an razor into his own hands. He returns to Kathleen, who is so taken by the serenade (and the newly-trimmed serenade) that she asks for an encore. The crow of  rooster and a young man’s moan, “Josko, umaga na!” is the final twist and the hilarious revelation of just how many encores the now desirable Tiago was obliged to give.

Listeners began to await the next RUBIE Blade radio commercial like radio drama or comic installments, “The listener knew it was an exaggeration, because there was no attempt to present the situation as logical,” Ibañez recalls. Thus, they laughed heartily at the final turn of events, which, in subsequent versions, always had the hero ending up with more than he bargained for—as in a shotgun wedding, pehaps, or having more than one barrio lass demanding his attention.

From the distinguishing sound effects that set the ads apart from auditory clutter—a series of urgent knocks, or, in the case of “Harana”, the strum of a guitar---to the familiar characters and easily recognizable values, the RUBIE ads hit the Pinoy at his very heart. “They were indigenous and romantic,” Ibañez says. “The strength of the campaign was in fact that people recognized themselves in it.”

Enough to keep RUBIE Blade in the market for years to come.

ADVERTISER: Gillette Philippines
PRODUCT: Rubie Blades
AGENCY: McCann-Erickson
PRODUCER: Baby Enriquez

Article written by the late Butch Uy, forPerfect 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. 66-67

Sunday, September 10, 2017

127. Brand Names That Became Everyday Pinoy Words #4: CUTEX

CUTEX AD, Detail from a ca. 1960 ad.

In the nail-painting craze of the 60s, the word CUTEX became a generic term for nail polish products. It became such a dominant name in the Philippine nail care market that all nail polishes were called “CUTEX”.  When someone asked, “What’s your Cutex brand?”, he or she  actually meant—“what is your nail polish brand?”.

The beginnings of CUTEX could be traced back to 1911 when the Northam Warren Co, of Connecticut developed its first ever nail care prouct-- a cuticle remover. 

Three years later, it created the first nail tints to color fingernails. Using pigments developed from automobile paints, the product evolved into the CUTEX Liquid Nail Polish. Prior to this, ladies prettified their nails using paste or powder tints. Other nail polish manufacturers would follow suit, and by 1925  virtually all nail polishes came in liquid forms.
CUTEX AD, ca. 1960
A major breakthrough happened in 1928 when CUTEX launched a nail polish remover with acetone as base ingredient. The product proved to be such a hit, so it was sold alongside CUTEX nail polishes.

CUTEX products became available in the Philippines in the 1930s, a decade that saw the introduction of new innovations—the gentler, nail conditioning “CUTEX Oily Polish Remover” , and a more opaque, glossier nail polish cream (1934). CUTEX Polish Foundation- the first nail treatment product that resulted in chip-free nails with longer-lasting finish—was introduced in 1938.
CUTEX MANICURE SET, pPrint Ad, Graphic magazine, 1936.

It is no wonder that CUTEX became the world’s best-selling nail care brand for many decades. The brand was highly advertised in beauty- conscious Philippines, and print ads regularly came out from the 1930s thru the 1980s. Its heyday was in the 1960s when the company was bought by Chesebrough Pond’s.
The CUTEX dominance was seriously threatened by a Japanese brand—Caronia, which invested heavily on TV advertising and made gains in the 1970s-80s. Eventually, CUTEX gave way to younger, newer brands. It remained available on store shelves, however, although it was not marketed as aggressively as Caronia and other fast-rising nail care brands, which led to its being viewed as a somewhat passé , with an old image.

It was only in 2010 that CUTEX marketing was restored and intensified once more,  mostly through digital and online platforms. This was after the product was acquired by Arch Equity Partners, in September 2010. 

Despite several transfers of ownerships and the changing landscape of the beauty business, CUTEX Nail Polishes continue to be an indispensable partner of today’s generation of Filipinas who want to nail their look right—from their fingers to their toes!!

Friday, September 1, 2017

126. RC COLA: “The One with the Mad, Mad Taste!” TVC (1968)

ROYAL CROWN COLA or RC COLA, 1950s-70s bottles. Personal Collection.

Not very many know that the American soda brand,  RC COLA, was introduced in the Philippines by Cosmos Bottling Corporation, producer of such popular drinks as Cosmos Sarsaparilla (Sarsi), Cheers, Pop Cola, Sunta. RC COLA is actually a century-old brand, known originally as Royal Crown Cola, created by pharmacist Claud A. Hatcher of Georgia  in 1905. The flavor, as we know it, was reformulated by chemist Rufus Kamm in 1934.

By the 1950s, Royal Crown Cola was an established company, the first to sell soft drinks in a can, and later the first company to sell a soft drink in an aluminum can. It was advertised and marketed internationally with an updated brand name,  RC COLA, and found its way to the Philippines sometime in 1968.

The U.S. –made TV commercial made its appearance on local TV in the late 60s, bannering the line “RC COLA..the one with the mad, mad taste! RC!”.  Chanteuse Nancy Sinatra starred in 2 versions of RC COLA commercials, first aired in her TV special ‘Movin’ with Nancy’ in late 1967.  This is the version that hit the Philippine airwaves that showed Sinatra flitting from one column to another as she sang the upbeat jingle:

WATCH THE RC COLA "Nancy Sinatra", 1968

In 1996, Cosmos Bottling sold RC COLA to San Miguel Corp.  In 2001, when SMC acquired Cosmos, it sold its brands to Coca-Cola Bottlers Phils. Inc, but ended its license to produce RC COLA (along with Sunkist and Jolt Cola).
Former Cosmos executives who believe in the brand, partnered with Zest-O  to form Asiawide Refreshments Corp., which reintroduced RC COLA, under license  from RC Cola U.S.A. With 9 bottling plants,  80%-plus distribution level and a market share of RC COLA is the country’s third best-selling brand today.


ARC Refreshments Corp. :
RC Cola bottles and cans photo:

Saturday, August 26, 2017

125. Casting Coup: POND’S ELITE PRINT AD MODELS (1957-1961)

POND’S, the skincare cream that has been beautifying and protecting women’s complexions in an ever-changing world for over 150 years now was the creation of American pharmacist, Theron Pond. In 1846, he developed the Pond’s Extract, with a unique tea extract from witch hazel that helped restore skin damage below the surface.

POND’S became the world’s first skincare brand during a critical time in the 1940s , when women assumed more  jobs as the men went to war.  

Breakthrough products introduced during this period include POND’S Cold Cream, the world’s first moisturizer not to require refrigeration, and POND’Ss Vanishing Cream, which made women’s skin soft, supple and dewy.

POND’S Company was merged in 1955 with the Chesebrough Manufacturing Co., which already had an extensive line-up of facial care products. 

POND’S Cold Cream and Vanishing Cream were introduced to the Philippine market, to great reception. The imported products were sought after by Filipinas who wanted to try the product “used by world’s loveliest women”.

In an effort to support this aspirational need, POND’S employed the most elite women in high society to appear in its print as—a list that included a former First Lady, a senator’s wife and daughter, a future female senator, a statesman’s daughter and many more. 

It was a casting coup that made waves in the marketing circle at that time, and these vintage print ads show why POND’S advertising was way ahead of its time:

Model: CHONA RECTO KASTEN, Fashion Icon, Daughter of Sen. Claro M. Recto
Maria Priscilla “Chona” Recto Kasten (b. 5 Feb. 1922)  is the youngest daughter of eminent statesman, jurist , poet and nationalist Claro Mayo Recto. Chona became a fashion icon and a sought-after model for her beauty and breeding. She was first married to Johnny Ysmael  with whom she had 4 children, Johnny Jr., Techie, Ramoncito and Louie. Johnny Sr. passed away in 1952, and Chona remarried soon after to American businessman, Hans Kasten, with whom he had a son Hansi.  Chona died in April 4, 1987.

Model: CHUCHAY TUASON, Miss Philippines 1958
Carmen Remedios Tuason was a young debutante when she was crowned Miss Philippines 1958. She failed to go that year’s Miss Universe contest due to her parents’ disapproval. Instead, she attended  the 1958 Brussel’s World’s Fair. A champion bridge player, Tuason has represented the country in many international bridge competitions. Maried to Luciano La Guardia with whom she has a son, Antonguillo.

Model: EVA ESTRADA-KALAW, Stateswoman, 2-Term Senator of the Philippines
Evangelina Estrada Kalaw (b. June 16, 1920) of Murcia,  Tarlac, was a UP Education graduate who had dabbled in theater arts as a student. She  first entered politics in 1953 when she campaigned for Nacionalista presidential candidate  Ramon Magsaysay, who won against incumbent president Elpidio Quirino.  She was elected as a Senator and served two terms under Ferdinand Marcos (1965-72) . Eva Estrada married Teodoro Kalaw, Jr., in 1944, and had four children: 3 sons and a daughter, Chingbee. Kalaw passed away at age 96 on May 25, 2017.

MARIA EVA “CHING BEE” KALAW, who appears with her in this Pond’s ad, is a commerce graduate of Assumption College.  Married first to Dini Manotoc, and later to Bobby Cuenca, she has 4 sons. She heads Rite Management and Financial Corporation is also a member of the  Management Association of  the Philippines’ committee of agribusiness and countryside development.

 Model: LUZ BANZON-MAGSAYSAY. Seventh First Lady of the Philippines
The wife of Philippine president Ramon Magsaysay was born Luz Rosauro Banzon on June 25, 1915 in Balanga, Bataan. She had 3 children with the president: Teresita, Mila and Ramon Jr. With the death of Magsaysay in a plane crash in 1957, she became a widow at age 41 years old when President Magsaysay died in an aeroplane crash in 1957, three years. She led a quiet life, and dedicated herself to the preservation of her husband's memory and legacy. She died on August 17, 2004 and is considered one of the most respected First Ladies the country every had.

Model: LILY DE LAS ALAS-PADILLA, Wife of Sen. Ambrosio Padilla
Considered as one of the most stylish beauties if her time, Lily de las Alas was  the daughter of Senator Antonio De Las Alas of Taal, Batangas. She married Ambrosio “Paddy” Padilla, a former basketball Olympian who was elected to the Senate  from 1957 -1972. The De Las Alas-Padilla couple have 10 children: 6 boys and 4 girls, one of whom—Josine—appeared with her in a POND’s ad.

JOSIE PADILLA, the beautiful Padilla daughter, was a popular campus figure and teen society figure in the late 50s. She married Harvard-educated Ernest Rufino, a scion of one of the country’s old rich families, in 1963. Their children are: Lyra, Joysie, Lui, Ysabel, Ernie and Victor Rufino.

VIRGINIA LLAMAS ROMULO, of Pagsanjan was a student of the progressive Philippine Women's College when she was named Queen of the Manila Carnival 1922. At her Grecian-themed coronation, she was escorted by a young editor and U.P. graduate, Carlos P. Romulo. The two eventually became husband and wife.  Romulo, went on to become a well-respected diplomat, a Pulitzer prize winning author, first Asian President of the United Nations General Assembly, and Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Virginia passed away at age 67 on 22 January 1968. In life, as in death, she was recognized as one of the greatest Filipino women of modern times.

various issue of Sunday Times Magazine 1957-1961