Sunday, March 26, 2017

101. GLO-CO TONIX: The Hair and Skin Grooming Secret of Filipino Matinee Idols, 1951

Early 1936 GLO-CO print ad.
One of the most popular brands of cosmetics before the war was GLO-CO Beauty Products that had brands like Gloco Beauty Crème Soap, Face Powder and Tonix hair and Skin Tonic. The GLO-CO personal care line, manufactured and distributed by Cromwell Cosmetic Export Company, Inc., (later, Cromwell Commercial Co.), reached the peak of its popularity in the 1950s, with the help of brilliant marketing.

Like Camay and Lux, GLO-CO—first advertised in 1936-- employed famous movie stars to appear in their advertising—both Philippine male and female icons of the silver screen. GLO-CO products were soon being branded as “Hollywood beauty products”, despite the anachronism.

Its unisex line of grooming products, GLO-CO TONIX (along with Brilliantine and Liquid Brilliantine) was actually pushed by male celebrity endorsers—to give fragrant care to skin and hair. A few of these print ads from 1951, which appeared on the covers of the leading movie magazines of the day, appear below:

RODOLFO “RUDY” RUIZ says “a massage of GLO-CO TONIX leaves my scalp stimulated—I feel wonderfully refreshed!”. This popular movie actor began his career in the 1940s and was touted as the heir-apparent of the late star Rudy Concepcion. He has already done a few films when he signed up for the Merchant Marines, a job that took him to Japan where he met his wife, Japanese actress Shirley Yamaguchi. The marriage was short-lived, Rudy returned to Manila and moviemaking—doing well-received post war films like Aklat ng Pag-Ibig with Rosa del Rosario (1951),  Ang Buhay at Pag-ibig ni Dr. Jose Rizal  and Heneral Paua (1956).

“I like its masculine fragrance best!”, says PANCHO MAGALONA of GLO-CO TONIX.  The debonair son of a  Philippine senator, Pancho was one of the most well-known leading men of the late 40s-50s. With his wife Tita Duran, he starred in many Sampaguita Pictures blockbuster movies that catapulted the Tita-Pancho love team to national popularity. He appeared in some Hollywood films like The Hook (with Kirk Douglas) and Merrill's Marauders (with Jeff Chandler) that were shot in the Philippines. This  Famas Best Actor ( 1958,  "Hanggang sa Dulo ng Daigdig") is also best-known as the father of the late master rapper, Francis Magalona.

There’s nothing better than GLO-CO TONIX for perfect grooming”, says the actor-director-producer  FERNANDO POE SR., The celebrate movie personality  made 1930s films like Zamboanga and Giliw Ko, and also directed the first Darna film in 1951. The Spanish mestizo movie icon is also a doctor of dental medicine and a member of the Philippine army. Poe died in 1951 of rabies, at the peak of his career and in the middle of a film production, so this GLO-CO print ad was one of the last project he finished. He is the father of another Philippine movie legend, Fernando Poe Sr., one of his sons with Bessie Kelly.

Other handsome movie stars featured in GLO-CO TONIX ads included Jose Padilla Jr. , Manuel Conde, Efren Reyes, Armando Goyena, Tony Arnaldo and Oscar Moreno. Looking at these ads, you could see that that they are professionally-crafted and photographed, had a single-minded promise (“excellent hair and skin care that leaves a pleasant fragrance”), and strategically placed as back covers of magazines. No wonder, GLO-CO remained at the forefront of personal and beauty care through the rest of the 1950s.

Sunday, March 19, 2017


GLENDALE BUTTER--the better butter with the better taste, says Uncle Bob. Print Ad, 1970

In 1970, Procter and Gamble PMC launched GLENDALE Pure Fresh Butter, its response to the well-entrenched Anchor Butter, already the Philippines’ largest selling butter that was introduced way back in 1966. Procter & Gamble PMC was the current leader in margarine spreads, so it was no surprise that it forayed into the butter market.

A block of GLENDALE Pure Fresh Butter was made from one and a half gallons of fresh cow’s milk—a competitive advantage that it leveraged on in its print ad campaign. To help push the product, popular TV personality “Uncle Bob”—aka Robert Stewart—was tapped to endorse the new butter brand, appearing in full-page, full-color print ads in leading weekend magazines.

Robert Stewart arrived in the Philippines in 1943 as a United Press (UP) war correspondent. He stayed on after the war, having met Loreto Feliciano, a Kapampangan widow with 3 kids, whom he married. Robert started the Republic Broadcasting Republic Broadcasting System (RBS), DZBB, DZFF and DZXX. Loreto did the marketing for the stations, and eventually, they would also establish Channel 7 in the 1960s. He first appeared as “Uncle Bob” on 30 Oct. 1961, as a news anchor for “The News with Uncle Bob”.

He would retain the monicker  “Uncle Bob” when he became the host of the widely popular children’s show, “Uncle Bob’s Lucky 7 Club”. It was the first live children’s TV show that was aired on Saturday morning, with Uncle Bob dishing out memorable catchphrases as "hot-diggity-dog" and expressions like "pum-pa-rum-pum".

A supporter of Pres, Garcia, he was threatened with deportation by the Macapagal government in 1961, but officials backed off when a deluge of letters from children expressing their support flooded Malacañang.

Photo from
Stewart had other shows like “the Maestro & Uncle Bob” (with pianist Federico Elizalde) and “Uncle Bob & Friends” (with Joselito Pascual). Disillusioned by the Marcos government, he moved to the U.S., leaving his “Uncle Bob’s Lucky 7 Club” to his son Jody Stewart, till it ended in the late 1980s. 

The much-loved uncle to thousands of Flipino kids passed away  in Phoenix, Arizona on 6 April 6, 2006, and his remains were returned to the Philippines. and his remains were cremated before being returned to the Philippines on April 25.

As to the fate of GLENDALE Pure Fresh Butter, it remained on the market shelves for just a few years, unable to make a dent in the successful Anchor butter business. The “cream and sunshine butter” continues to dominate the butter segment of dairy spreads in the Philippines today.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

99. Brand Stories: STAR MARGARINE, Philippine Manufacturing Company (PMC)

STAR MARGARINE, in a new, more colorful air-tight packaging with a lid. 1955.

The company that would come to be known as the giant  Procter & Gamble PMC  started in 1908 as a partnership called the Manila Refining Company, with the purpose of manufacturing candles and fertilizer. In 1913, the company was incorporated into the Philippine Manufacturing Company (PMC), initially capitalized at Php One Thousand pesos, which was later increased to half a million.
 It shifted its objective to the manufacture and selling of coconut oil—as up to 1914, there was only one coconut oil mill operating in the country. Besides, edible oils in the Philippines came largely from pork lard and imported peanut oil from Hong Kong and Shanghai.
HAPPINESS IS A STAR. early 1951 print ad.
In 1917, PMC employed a chemist to develop edible products from coconut oil—and in 1919—PURICO was introduced to the market---the first vegetable shortening made in the Philippines. The reception to this coconut oil-based produt was overwhelming so PMC sought to produce another consumer food product.
It would take 12 years to introduce the first vegetable-base margarine to the country i—known then in 1931, and still now—as STAR MARGARINE. The creamy-rich flavored golden yellow margarine was fortified with Vitamins A and D, and came packaged in small, circular tins, branded with a . By the time Procter and Gamble of Cincinnati, Ohio acquired PMC in 1935, STAR MARGARINE had already a steady following.
From the 1940s to the 50s,  STAR MARGARINE was actively pushed in the trade as well as through advertising,  a marketing tool that P&G always believed in. Black and white print ads in leading women’s and general family magazines were used to promote the healthy benefits of STAR, using the early slogan—“Stars for Flavors”. The use of STAR as filler for sandwiches or a spread for bibingka and puto was encouraged in the early print ads.
Then, in 1951, a major product development was introduced---the addition of Vitamin B1 in STAR. Vitamin B1 was touted as an effective ingredient against beri-beri which was a common affliction of Filipino children in the 50s.
In the 1960s, STAR MARGARINE shifted to energy stories in its print ads, even targeting young adults in the brand’s quest for a broader appeal. It was only a decade later that P&G and its ad agency, Ace-Compton Advertising, re-looked at theVitamin B1 ingredient of STAR MARGARINE, which happened to be a growth-stimulating vitamin. Thus, the campaign,”Iba na’ng Matangkad!” (Being Tall Makes A Difference) was born. The famous tagline embodied the aspiration of the generally height-challenged Filipino to tower—and triumph--over the competition.

Early TV executions dramatized the advantage of being tall—hence a child basketball player performed better, and even mundane tasks as reaching for a fruit hanging from a tree branch was a breeze for a vertically-superior youngster. When statuesque Aurora Pijuan won Miss International 1970, she became the face of STAR. Her popular commercial showed her standing shoulder to shoulder with other international beauties, while we hear her voice-over: “Magaganda sila…Matatangkad..Buti, ako rin!”.

"Iba Na'ng Matangkad-James Yap" TVC

The “Iba Na’ng Matangkad” campaign  endures to this day, even as P&G PMC sold STAR MARGARINE along with Dari Creme, to the Magnolia division of San Miguel Corporation in 1994. It has evolved into “Angat sa Height, Ang Future Mas Bright” (“Increased height, for a brighter future”). It’s pro-growth equity has also crossed over to other San Miguel-Purefoods brands like the Purefoods STAR Hotdogs and Purefoods STAR Corned Beef--which just goes to show that nothing succeeds like success.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

98. Is That Who I Think He is? RONALD CORVEAU for Pepsi Cola

In 1975, Pepsi went worldwide with its ‘Have A Pepsi Day” campaign, and the Philippines adapted the campaign using a massive tri-media campaign that included a series of print ads showing young people in all kinds of everyday situations. The print ads encouraged Pepsi drinkers to “make each day a celebration”—whatever the moment was—a fun day at the carnival…a break from classes..walking hand in hand…or just playing a favorite sport.

The “Tennis Game” print ad version featured a gang of friends having a friendly banter after a brisk set. One of the talents was a smiling, gangly, curly-haired teen sitting on the top bleacher, holding a racket and a half-empty bottle of Pepsi. He would go on from doing commercial modeling to acting in top-rated TV telenovelas and award-winning films just a few years after his Pepsi appearance.

CORVEAU as a movie actor.

RONALD  CORVEAU (b. 1956, as Ronald Maquilan Corveau) found national fame when he was cast to portray Carding Medel in the 1977 TV show Gulong ng Palad. He starred alongside Marianne de la Riva (as Luisa) in the telenovela that was based on a DZRH radio serye created by the late Lina Flor-Trinidad  and written for TV by her sister Loida F. Viriña. The soap became a monster hit for Channel 2, running from 1977-1985,  and made Ronald Corveau into a household name—and a hot property.

GULONG NG PALAD CAST. Marianne de la Riva, Ronald Corveau and
Caridad Sanchez. Photo courtesy of Isidra Reyes

Soon, Corveau was tapped for the movies,  first in “Beerhouse” (1977) and then in the award-winning “Atsay”, opposite Nora Aunor, which won Best Film at the 1978 Metro Manila FilmFest.  Subsequently,  Corveau did “Si Mahal, Nakialam Na Naman”—again with Aunor, followed by  “Kadete” and “Mahal Kong Taksil”,  (1979)., “Biktima”, “Apat na Maria” (1980) and "Gabriela" and “Limang Daliri ng Diyos” (1989)

His marriage with “Gulong” co-star Marianne de la Riva produced two daughters, Ella and Louie. They separated after a few years, when Corveau left for the U.S. De La Riva has also remarried and is settled in New Jersey as a doctor’s wife. She and Corveau, who is a contractor in the U.S., remain in good terms.

Isidra Reyes, for the 'Gulong ng Palad"p B&W photo, Nora Aunor's Leading Men

 Ron Corveau FB page