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.
WATCH MR. CLEAN KALAMANSI TVC HERE
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".
LISTEN TO MR. CLEAN "KUSKOS-PIGA"
& KUSKOS-PIGA-PATAKJINGLE HERE:
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.
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!
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!"
CLIENT: PROCTER & GAMBLE PHILIPPINES
AGENCY: ACE/ SAATCHI & SAATCHI ADVERTISING
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Jimmy F. Santiago
COPYWRITER: Nancy T.Tizon
ART DIRECTOR: Bingo Bautista
ARTIST: Abe Montañez
PRODUCTION HOUSE: Filmex
TV DIRECTOR: Ishmael Bernal
JINGLE COMPOSER: Jose Mari Chan
SINGER: Ayen Munji
CASTER: Flor Salanga