Tuesday, June 27, 2017

116. Is That Who I Think She Is? PILITA CORRALES for EMBASSY CIGARETTES, 1956

Sometime in the 1950s, an imported cigarette brand was launched in the Philippine market---EMBASSY CIGARETTES. EMBASSY Extra, which came in soft packs of 20 sticks, were made available through W.D. & H.O. Wills,  a British tobacco importer and cigarette manufacturer in Bristol, England. It was one of the founding companies of Imperial Tobacco. EMBASSY Filter was introduced in 1962 and, by the late 1960s, was the most popular brand of cigarette in the UK, taking 24% of the market in 1968.

EMBASSY CIGARETTES was promoted through radio program sponsorships—in a stragety that was utilized by most major consumer brands in the 50s. It sponsored DZBB radio musical shows—one of which starred a young, up-and-coming Cebuana mestiza singer, 17 year-old Pilar “Pilita” Garrido Corrales.  Fresh from a finishing school in Spain, Pilita sang her way to audience’s hearts with her repertoire of  romantic Spanish songs and native ditties. Pilita became the signature model for EMBASSY CIGARETTES, and the small ads even featured her singing schedule n DZBB.

In 3 years, Pilita would move to Australia, sailing in 1959 with with actor-magician John Calvert for some engagements. En route, they were shipwrecked off Australia’s northern coast and rescued by the Navy. The duo went on to perform in Sydney, Darwin and Melbourne. Pilita was an instant hit, and was featured on the popular TV shows. Pilita was signed up by Astor Records and  became the first female recording star in Australia to score a hit on the pop charts with the song. ‘Come Closer To Me’—long before Olivia Newton-John and Kylie Minogue.Considered as one of the ‘Great Dames of Victorian Radio and Television’, Pilita was honored by having a street named after her in the 70s. in the Forest Hill district of Victoria.

 In 1963, she returned to the Philippines to establish her career in her own country,l where she gained further fame. Her signature song A Million Thanks to You by Alice Doria-Gamilla was translated in seven languages.  Her recorded songs with George Canseco became classics; foremost among these is “Kapantay ay Langit”, which Pilita turned into a hit.  In 1972, she was named Best Performer at the 1st Tokyo Music Festival (1972), singing Canseco’s “My Daughter”. She bested international artists including the highly regarded Olivia Newton-John. Pilita was also the first Filipino to sing in Caesars Palace.

Indeed, her enduring fame and popularity outlasted the cigarettes that she first endorsed in 1956. In fact, almost 50 years after, in 2007, Pilita was chosen to become ANLENE’s Bone Health ambassador  in a TV commercial that featured her with her trademark back-bending singing pose. ANLENE is a calcium- and vitamin-rich milk specifically formulated to build stronger bones


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, flickr.com
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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cG4z-CDRJNI, uploaded by Filmmaker Vitt Romero, published on May 11, 2014
youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TDKIzlLygA&t=8s, 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:http://www2.urc.com.ph/
youtube, Presto ice Cream TVC 1980, published by John Castillo Soberano, My 7, 2017

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

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

SINGULAR STROKES, From grass to glass...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, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfMlXw_UZ5g, uploaded by vibesey, 7 May 2017
Strictly Commercial: THE JINGLES COLLECTION, by Jose Mari Chan