Tuesday, September 18, 2018

183. Brand Icon: WHITE CASTLE WHISKY GIRL, 1974

CARMI MARTIN, WHITE CASTLE GIRL, 1984-1986

One of the most unforgettable brand ambassadors for a product beginning in the 1970s was not your usual prim and proper college girl type (like Miss Magnolia), or your  fashionable ladies from high society  (like the Rustan’s VIP Council)—but rather a woman in a red bikini.

To make for a dramatic entrance, the WHITE CASTLE GIRL galloped into our TV living room astride a white horse, hair blowing in the wind, as the image of a castle loomed in the background. TV audience—especially male viewers—could not help but stayed glued to the screen as the strains of the catchy jingle, “White Castle, White Castle Whisky, White Castle Whisky ang bilhin”, followed her 30 sec. ride into the hearts of the drinking class. 

MR. JULIUS LIMPE
CEO, Destiliria Limtuaco
WHITE CASTLE 5 Years Old Whisky had always been a national favorite for many years, the product of Destileria Limtuaco, the country’s oldest distillery. The business was founded by 36 year old Amoy immigrant Lim Tua Co, who put up the distillery within 2 years of his arrival in the Chinese enclave of Binondo.  One of his earliest successes  is the medicinal wine, Sioktong.

Unfortunately, Lim Tua Co—who adopted the Christan name Bonifacio—died in 1887. So too, did his only son, Carlos, his heir apparent. A nephew, Lim Chay Seng took over the business in 1926, and shifted the production from Chinese drinks to Western spirits. Thus--WHITE CASTLE WHISKY came to be. It would become one of the company’s flagship brand, blended and aged to perfection in oak barrels, to give the whisky smooth, full-bodied taste, aroma and golden color.

WHITE CASTLE GIRL, EVANGELINE PASCUAL (1974)
Picture courtesy of: JOSE BENIGNO SALVADOR

The business flourished when his son, American-educated James Limpe took over the helm in 1937, a position which was passed on in 1958 to son Julius Limpe, a business graduate the University of Indiana. Julius became an expert blender of all sorts of liquor and spirit, which he patented and produced,  while steering Distileria Limtuaco to its pre-eminent position in the industry.

WHITE CASTLE GIRLS, AGNES RUSTIA (1975) & PEACHY VENERACION (1978)
SOURCE: www.limtuaco.com

To him also goes the credit for creating the imagery of the WHITE CASTLE GIRL. After all,  Mr. Julius Limpe was also an artist, so he also put his creativity to work in WHITE CASTLE WHISKY marketing and advertising. He conceived of a narrative that was fairy-tale like—a princess in a red bikini chanced upon a group of men while on a bareback ride on the beach astride her white horse.


WATCH "WHITE CASTLE WHISKY" CLASSIC 1978 TVC HERE:
(Source: ADman 1909,  Jul. 19, 2007)

To distract the men who had taken fancy on her, she brings out a bottle of WHITE CASTLE and drops it on the sand, diverting the men’s attention to the drink. The ruse worked and the princess in the red bikini rides safely back to her castle with a red turret. Sylvia Licauco had the honor of being the first White Castle Girl

WHITE CASTLE GIRL, TETCHIE AGBAYANI (1982). SOURCE: www.limtuaco.com

Along the way, the “princess” element was dropped, which, in a way was alright, as the first WHITE CASTLE GIRL to appear in a promotional material—i.e. calendar-- was a beauty royalty—Evangeline Pascual, Miss Republic of the Philippines 1974 and Miss World runner-up. It would seem that Miss RP automatically became a WHITE CASTLE GIRL, as in the case of Agnes Rustia and Peachy Veneracion.

WHITE CASTLE GIRL, LORNA TOLENTINO, 1982.
SOURCE/ Photo Credit: Jose Benigno Salvador

Two years before her Playboy splash, Visitacion “Tetchie” Agbayani reigned as the 1980 WHITE CASTLE GIRL. Even former child star, actress Lorna Tolentino, rode the bandwagon in 1982, at age 21.

WHITE CASTLE GIRL, CARMI MARTIN, 1984

The WHITE CASTLE GIRL exuded a sexier air with the casting of voluptuous Carmi Martin from 1984-86. From thereon, that bombshell mold was used in the selection process.

WHITE CASTLE GIRL,LYKA UGARTE, 1986. SOURCE: www.limtuaco.com

The pouty beauty Lyka Ugarte, was a perfect follow-up to Martinl she held the for 2 years. Star of ST (Sex Trip) movies Cristina Gonzales snuggled with the white horse in the 1992 calendar.  Glydel Mercado’s topless appearance in 1996. At the turn of the new millennium, the WHITE CASTLE GIRL started to look more provocative with her come-hither poses, as seen from the calendars of Angela Velez, who did several versions from 1999 to the first half of 2000s. The horse became an afterthought.

WHITE CASTLE GIRLS Glydel Mercado (1996) & Angela Velez (1999)
SOURCE: www.limtuaco.com

To drum up excitement, a nationwide search for a new WHITE CASTLE GIRL for 2007 was launched, resulting in the victory of beauty queen Gemma Gatdula. Her reign went awry when she was dethroned; she was replaced by former Wowwowee dancer, RR Enriquez. Current WHITE CASTLE GIRL is actress Meg Imperial.

WATCH WHITE CASTLE GIRL "LORNA TOLENTINO" TVC HERE:
(Source: Liquor Express, posted May 20, 2018)

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it".--this saying might as well apply to WHITE CASTLE advertising. Apparently, the campaign with the WHITE CASTLE GIRL continues to work, and thus endures to this day, give or take a few refreshments. After 4 decades, the girl in the red bikini continues to charge on her white steed, past the white castle with a red turret—as fast as the galloping sales of WHITE CASTLE WHISKY!



SOURCES:
WHITE CASTLE WHISKY CLASSIC PHILIPPINE TVC (1978): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQT4qU6mlT8, posted by ADman 1909,  Jul. 19, 2007.
LORNA TOLENTINO-WHITE CASTLE GIRL 1982, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=us4DAWw8Mws, posted by Liquor Express, May 20, 2018.
MANY THANKS TO MR. JOSE BENIGNO SALVADOR FOR THE USE OF HIS WHITE CASTLE PICTURES (Evangeline Pascual,Lorna Tolentino, White Castle paper label), PEP.PH  and MR. BORJ MENESES (for Gemma Gatdula's photo)

2 comments:

  1. Sir, you forgot the 1988 calendar girl, Ma. Isabel Lopez and 2007's calendar girl, Roxanne Guinoo (now Yap).

    ReplyDelete
  2. I could not possibly put everything in one article!

    ReplyDelete