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: