Wednesday, February 18, 2009


By Roger Pe

Rain or shine, the streets of Ho Chi Minh, formerly Saigon and commercial hub of Vietnam, are always ‘flooded’. Flooded with motorcycles, so to speak, thus making them one of the most dangerous for pedestrians in Southeast Asia.

On main avenues, on its French-inspired boulevards, newly built roads, even on narrow alleys, Vietnam is awash with motorbikes. One can be sidewiped by these kings of the roads at any unguarded moment.

Neighbor Cambodia is another country inundated with motorbikes. To the uninitiated, the collective thundering sound of these machines is frighteningly deafening.

In both countries, the sound of motorbikes means either the sound of life emerging from the ashes of years of turmoil or the sound of death crashing from a tragic accident.

Where motorcycles are providing cheap transportation alternative because of low-income affordability, gloom is also sitting behind the boom.

There isn’t a single week on Vietnam’s national tv that you won’t hear about accidents involving motorcycles. And God knows how many more are unreported.

A World Health Organization study reports that nearly 1.2 million people involving 25 years old and under from all over the world die of road accidents involving motorcycles every year.

In 2007, after spending 9 years of lobbying the Vietnamese government to introduce compulsory helmet laws, Ho Chi Minh-based Asia’s Injury Prevention Foundation scored a major breakthrough. The bill it was pushing was finally enacted into law.

The bill was passed not because of statistics on deaths and physical disabilities caused by motorbike accidents but on the strength and effectivity of an advertising campaign created by Ogilvy & Mather Vietnam.

The ad campaign aimed at changing Vietnamese people’s attitude towards helmets (that they ruined hair and make them look stupid) showed gruesome outcome of accidents when people fail to wear helmets.

Black and white images of crash victims with their skulls in stitches, screwed with nuts and bolts were used on print, digital ads and postcards. The excuses they reasoned out for not wearing a helmet were printed on them. Billboards were mounted not on stratospheric poles but eyeball to eyeball to commuters on conspicuous street corners.

TV ads focused on the burden that falls on families when caring for a victim (often the breadwinner) who has turned physically and mentally incapacitated.

Bus ads were used for the first time in Vietnam, together with a website supporting the campaign. As a result, hospitals reported a significant drop in accident fatalities by as much as 50% with injuries down by 40% compared to the previous year.

The new Helmet legislation was brought forward by more than 6 months in advance, taking into effect last December 2008.

The icing on the cake: The campaign was Vietnam’s first global creative ad winner, honored by Cannes, Clio, One Show and included in the first World Press Awards annual, all in year 2007.

The same campaign was also the country’s first IPA Effectiveness Award winner in 2008, achieving a higher purpose than just winning creative awards: winning and changing people’s minds. Credits: ECD, Copywriter and Art Director: Ted Notnam; Photographer: James Domingo; Managing Director: Katryna Mojica

JWT CHENNAI "Reynolds"

Monday, February 16, 2009




Had an avid follower of Arnel Pineda not posted his video
on Youtube, Neal Schon, god of rock group Journey, would still be looking for a replacement for Steve Perry. Pineda would still be hopping from one stage to another searching for that one elusive shot at fame.

Had Nadia Santos, an advertising copywriter, not spent an hour in an internet cafĂ© one rainy night, she would still be among thousands of faceless people slugging it out in Ayala’s corporate jungle.

Thanks to Friendster, she met her handsome British prince - a graphic artist and an heir. Soon enough, the ‘frog’ traveled half the globe, offered to marry her and brought her to U.K.

At age 56, Ruby Almazan retired from her nursing job in the U.S. and devoted her life taking care of her two grand children. At home, when the kids are sleeping, she whiles away her time on her eldest daughter’s laptop. Little did she know, two of her long lost friends way back from elementary grades lived on the same city, same neighborhood, and believe it or not, same street. She found them on Facebook.

Without Facebook, how would you think Obama would have fared in the popularity game? We all know the answer.

Digg it. Twitter it. Linked it. Flickr it. Yahoo it. Blogger it. Google it. Multiply it. Orkut it or call it, MySpace. The name of the game is social networking and it is hot. So scorchingly hot, advertisers are either intruding or paying their way in just to get into your own private Idaho.

Why not? At conservative estimate, half a billion people are networking online. Over 220 million people alone are hooked on Facebook, one of the most wildly popular, if not the most preferred by A, B and upper C socio-economic class, spanning across age groups. Some say, the great equalizer, it is about to overtake Blogger (222 million registered members), according to New Media Update podcasting news.

Burger King absolutely knew where to turn when it wanted to gain back health-conscious customers. It used a “Whopper Sacrifice” application on Facebook (allowing members to delete 10 friends to get a free burger). Fox Entertainment also advertised its film “Juno” knowing it could capitalize on Facebook’s huge membership base.

On Facebook, you may also find the uppercrust, incognito or otherwise – royal class, celebrities, diplomats, public officials even presidents.


When your grand mom wore beehive hairdo, they called this current craze Slum Book. When your uncle wore tight, ankle length pants, they called it Autograph Book. When your Auntie Esang always sang “Puff, The Magic Dragon” in the bathroom, they called it Photo Album. Back then before the holocaust, many Annes simply called it Diary.

Of late, social networking has evolved into a powerful marketing tool and the two are ever intertwined. Bloggers consciously or otherwise promote themselves. Naturally, marketers gravitated and this new amazing media become lucrative to, you guessed it, advertisers.


A simple log in, half the world will know who you are, what you do, why you’re in your current state of mind and how you got there.

Social networking, if you have time or plenty of it, can bring career upswing, emotional rewards, fame (or just 15 minutes of it), or bring back good and bad memories.

Research, business, medical and social education applications are some of the benefits one can get while social networking.

Some say some sites encourage ‘voyeurism’ into the private domain of members. Is your staff busy working on company deadline? Chances are they are or ‘busy’ networking.

Some companies are shutting Facebook off their office premises arguing they slow down productivity. Data theft is also being reported to be on the rise.

What people say in their updates can also be incredibly misinterpreted or used against them by people who may want to unearth trouble, as one blogger disappointingly narrated. He struck them all on the list.

Want to widen your network of friends? Go ahead and have fun. Just be wary and careful whom to invite or accept.

BBDO MEXICO "Mars Mexico"

Tuesday, February 10, 2009




By Roger Pe

When mobile advertising in the Philippines wasn’t referred to as cell phone advertising yet and the country, whose population is approaching the 90 million mark, hasn’t earned the SMS capital of the world title, trucks and vans of varying sizes lorded that medium. Hundreds of marketers’ logos were in the vehicles’ back and side panels. Photos of products and brands reached innermost city alleys and far-flung towns.

As new printing technology arrived and photography with tasteful art direction became the standard, things started to look palatable. Digital enhancements became common.
Food shots made you drool and lured everyone out of their homes. Fastfoods and restos became giant kitchens for families, schoolmates and office buddies - down to an ordinary Juan or Inday.

Colas made you smile and thirst for more. Celebrities were born, some re-borne with newly found fountain-of-youth. Alas, digital printing moved advertising-on-moving-vehicles on two-way streets.


Edsa, the famous highway where People Power changed the political landscape then especially is now a kaleidoscope of colors. Where boring red JD and white DM buses plied the route before, it is now a palette of vibrant crimsons, yellows, purples, blues and greens of varying tones, a riot of colors brought to life largely because of one idea. The Wrap.

Obviously not a crap idea, Wraps (digitally printed designs on moving vehicles) are easy to mount, all-weather resistant, cost-efficient and make moving vehicles attractive to weary commuters. No wonder they have caught forward-looking advertisers.

And why not?

On an ordinary day, tens of thousands of people see advertising messages on moving vehicles and are exposed to brands when and where traditional advertising cannot. Multiplied by weeks or months, millions of captive viewers see them every year.

This doesn’t include rush hours when bumper-to-bumper traffic occurs along city streets and highways. People on these long queues not only are captive viewers but eventually become receptive. Simply put, advertisers don’t run on empty - brand awareness or recall-wise.

Now you know why advertisers on MRT and LRT trains see the value of wraps.


Got a spare sedan? Bold enough to put a creative thing on your BMW? Wraps are detachable, peelable, and easily removable anytime. They even protect your car from the elements. Want to make people’s eyes roll? Want to make people’s heads turn? Want to make a personal statement? Do the wrap.

On the road, in drive-thrus, public or private parking lots, vehicle advertising is a virtual non-stop selling machine. Unlike radios or tv sets which you can switch off, leaflets which you can throw away or online advertising which you can click to the next website, it comes to us while we drive to work, go out-of-town or around the city, and travel through countryside north to south, east to west everyday.


Bags Beer Na Beer
Step forward Euro RSCG Agatep. With a batting average higher than big agencies in new business wins, Euro RSCG Agatep is a goliath standing tall. The agency, affiliated with Euro RSCG, one of the world’s most creative agency networks (2006 Global Agency Network of the Year), just bagged Beer na Beer’s creative duties, apart from handling another best-selling Asia Brewery brand (Cobra Energy Drink). The upbeat agency is set to officially announce two more major beverage brands from the same client.

Pueblo de Oro, a world-class golf course in Cagayan de Oro is another new biz win while the agency’s PR arm clinched a prestigious account - Spain’s Tourism Board. With the win, the agency will be dealing with the Spanish government through its embassy in Makati and Spain Tourism Counsellor based in Singapore.

Cathay Pacific Airways, Canon Marketing, Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP), Converse Shoes and Siam Cement Group are the agency’s latest wins.


Ogilvy Manila is lone Philippine finalist in 2008 London International Advertising Awards released by the organizers this week. The agency’s billboard entry “Giant Box” for DHL looks headed to metal with its out-of-the-box display of a giant box suspended on a steel post. The entry credits Gavin Simpson as ECD and writer, together with Jude Lizares, Mike Sicam as Art Director and Nathaniel Figueroa as Print Producer.


The Philippines’ most technologically-advanced post-production house Optima and Unitel formally opened an office in Vietnam last October 3 with more than 180 guests attending from ad agencies, production houses, advertisers and pinoy expat community.

Tony Gloria, founder and tireless driving force of Optima & Unitel launched the event as “Bridging Asia” which aims to connect the Philippines’ best talents, artists and machines to one of Asia’s most promising markets. Gloria cited their edge – world-class technology, highly efficient workflows and efficient management teams. Optima COO Pete Jimenez and Unitel partner, in-house Director Jun Reyes each spoke about their dedication to excellence and respective company’s strengths. Sales Director Jesthela Lizardo will manage Optima & Unitel Vietnam.


At 1521, Wednesday and Friday nights are big and they look like mini Philippine Ad Congress or advertising creative people’s gig. Blame it to Creative Juice Executive Creative Director Tanke Tankeko, one of Philippines’ hottest and most awarded creative directors. 1521, Tanke’s and her partners’ latest crowd-drawer is located at 547 Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City. Get your fill of German beers, Latin grooves, good old Filipino and fusion dishes … even the latest ad biz buzz.


Palanca winner Chris Martinez, former CD at Basic FCB and now a successful screenplay writer and film director, just won the Pusan International Film Festival’s Critic’s Choice Award for his “100” full-length movie. The Pusan filmest is one of Asia’s most important film festivals. Just like Malaysian icon Yasmin Ahmad who bagged a 20,000 dollar prize for her movie “Forget-Me-Not”, Martinez won 20,000 US dollar cash from Korean television station KNN. “100” stars Mylene Dizon as the cancer-stricken woman who chronicles the100 things she must do before she dies, Eugene Domingo and former McCann CD Tessie Tomas.


One Show, Clio, Cannes and Adfest local hero Joey Ong moves to Bates 141 from Ogilvy Activation as Creative Director. Ong was formerly with JWT and Jimenez-Basic.


Thumbs up. Good things we’ve seen around: The ‘Good News’ Electronic board on Insular Life Building. If you’re coming from Paseo de Roxas and crossing Ayala, the view is awesome. The lighted sign spans majestically across the entire building and makes you feel good about its content.
McDonald’s “Talking Wallet”, Bayantel Wireless Landline, Nescafe “Raindrops” and Surf “Petals” television commercials. While they’re not exactly award-winning spots, they’re a joy to watch and decently produced.