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.

1 comment:

  1. Did Glo-Co have some radio or theatrical ads during its existence?

    ReplyDelete