Monday, June 27, 2011


By Roger Pe
Philippine Daily Inquirer, June 15, 2011

“I am one who believes that one of the greatest dangers of advertising is not that of misleading people, but that of boring them to death.” - Leo Burnett

How many ads have bored us to death we immediately flipped the newspaper page to the next?

How many commercials made us snore because they looked and sounded like a strategy document?

“Our job as marketers is to provide a springboard for ideas to come to life and allow our audiences to experience a magical feeling,” McDonald’s Vice President for Marketing Margot B. Torres says in a lively discussion on how advertising can have intrinsic brand appeal.

The recent Tambuli Chief Marketing Officer of the Year awardee, is all agog about her “Brand Enchantment” watchword and she’s keeping it tightly guarded, letting no stone unturned in making McDonald’s as engaging as it gets every single day.

A great fan of Guy Kawasaki, author of best-seller “Enchantment”, Torres is one fine example of a marketing person, who, like wine, keeps getting better every time.

She refuses to become a marketing relic, even traveling the globe to learn what’s new in marketing biz (she’s currently in Cannes to spearhead PANA’s participation in the festival’s Young Marketers Academy, an intensive learning for companies keen to invest in their future brand leaders).

“It’s not even about the ad, nor about the tv spot. It’s all about changing hearts, minds and actions. It’s about brand connection. And it should hit home,” she says.

Leo Burnett Manila, McDonald’s sole above-the-line branding partner, couldn’t agree more. The agency has come up with another winner (“Memory”), a tv commercial that has become overwhelmingly popular the past few weeks.

Without a tranche of media money for frequency, Burnett’s latest tv spot has caught wildfire and has become talk of the town.

Talk about cost-efficiency and word-of-mouth, it’s getting to be everyone’s favorite, mirroring life as it unfolds entertainingly.

While other ad agency creatives are holed up in the posh comfort of their offices waiting for inspiration to come, “We conceptualize our ads right where it happens – where else, but in McDonald’s stores,” Leo Burnett’s dashing Executive Creative Director, Raoul Panes says.

Indeed, life is one big sitcom and it happens everyday at McDonald’s. Panes and his young team keenly observe that, what’s new for the day, and what people do.

Always a heartbeat away, they listen to the pulse and find out why people hang out at McDonald’s.

“It’s the only way to get precious insights and to be real,” Panes says, mentor of young talents at Burnett who is also the drill master, making sure all ideas coming from the agency are crafted well to the last detail.

Entertaining Commercial, Enchanting Brand
Ah, sweet bird of youth. We’ve been searching for that elusive fountain to make us stay forever young. Maybe we should stop a while and need not go far?
Three young-at-heart grand daddies, your local versions of Tony Curtis, Frankie Avalon and Ricky Nelson, are watching the world pass by at McDonald’s and reliving the memories of their fun days gone by.
Still very much in vogue, we see them in their straight-leg pants-checkered-polo-sweaters-cardigan-shirt days.
A now bald “kulot” (curly) enters frame with a Sundae treat for three. He notices buddy’s iPad on the table. Before he could even tinker it, he is told: “Konti na lang memory ko e, sino ka na nga?” (I don’t have much memory, double meaning referring to alzheimers and gadget’s memory, who are you again?).
“A lot of great campaigns have been done for McDonald’s. Many great minds have poured their thinking into this brand. I owe it to the McDonald’s to do my part in raising the game,” Torres continues to essay as she profusely mentions her love for the brand with the iconic golden yellow arch.

The research girl who began her marketing journey because of a “hair disaster” tells her job as a dream job. “I’m lovin’ it!”

10 jobs and 24 years later, Torres is now a full-blown expert in the country’s marketing firmament and considered one of the best and most active.

She’s also done a dream task: turning the brand around and hitting a record-high 23% market growth, unprecedented in the brand’s history.

The tireless dame of Filipina marketers is also the acknowledged brain behind several industry projects: BBDO's Project AHON for the 21st Philippine Advertising Congress to help victims of typhoon Ondoy, PANA Brand Camp showcasing talents of young Filipino marketers in Cannes Lions Festival that won Silver Lion, and PANA's ‘Narito Ako’ campaign to ignite national pride.

Early on, she also received McDonald’s Asia Pacific Middle East Africa Women’s Leadership Award, for consistent demonstration of McDonald’s brand values, leadership behaviors and collaborative approach in contributing to the entire McDonald’s system.

Owing her success to “love” and “luck”, the former PANA and Philippine Advertising Congress chairwoman is always proud to say: “I am lucky to have a boss who empowers me, and to be able to work with people who are great in every respect,” she beams with pride.

In her speech at Tambuli Marketing Effectiveness Awards, Torres made a meaningful message:

“Marketing has the ability to reflect who and where we are as individuals, as Filipinos, as a country. Long after we are gone, the campaigns that we aired would remain. This is what the next generation would see and remember us for- our time, our life, our culture.

With such a powerful tool, responsible marketing is incumbent upon us. It is our duty and our responsibility to help in shaping the values of the youth and take part in nation building.” Enchanting message.

Client: McDonald's Philippines, Agency: Leo Burnett Manila, Executive Creative Director: Raoul Panes, Creative Director: Dante Dizon, Art Director: Ryan Giron, Copywriter: NiƱo Gupana, Accounts: Sue Ann Nolido, Maik Alturas, Tria Sordan, Director: Henry Frejas


By Roger Pe
Philippine Daily Inquirer, June 8, 2011

Does creativity have a citizenship? How far can a good idea travel? Can foreign campaigns transcend borders and appreciated in places other than their own? Can a local ad do the same?
Way back in the 50s, Philippine media, had already acquired some sprinklings of foreign flavor. Hundreds of years of Spanish rule and largely being Americanized afterwards, these influences helped shape what is Filipino pop culture today.
America gave us a great fill of imported shows on television. We, too, feasted on Uncle Sam’s tv commercials like Marlboro, Nike, Levi’s … to kids teaching the world to sing in perfect harmony, Coke.
From the 80’s, 90’s, to the last decade, we grew up not only with American brands but knew others as well: Rolls Royce, Armani, Volvo, Louis Vuitton, Sony, BMW, to name just a few.
Colonial? Maybe it’s about time to drop the word. Progressive thinking? More like it. We learn from the world, the world learns from us. Afterall, that’s where the world is heading and being too insular isn’t exactly a good mindset for business.
Long before the upheaval that changed the world’s advertising landscape, multinational ad agency networks in the Philippines have already pushed the globalization process, airing foreign-made ads to enhance their brands’ global presence.
Symbiotically and though not as frenetic as other foreign brands, the Philippines has also made inroads, going regional, even global in some markets, using true-blue Filipino concepts.
So what’s the big noise in using a foreign ad in local media? Let’s listen to the experts, local and foreign, of course, but let’s pause for a commercial break:


Seven pretty and sexily clad angels portrayed by world-famous fashion models Adewole Bretty, Sara Samson, Josipa Jankovic and Magda Klebanska, drop one after the other from heaven with a loud thud creating a raucous.

In the town plaza, they stare at a gorgeous, innocent young man with sexual innuendoes. The song "Sexy Boy" by “Air” sneaks in and the ‘seduction’ unfolds.

An angel suddenly smashes her halo to the ground. All others follow in succession. Viewed as strongly suggesting public sex, a comment on the web sees it as “right at the point when public sex is about to begin.”

For sure, the Bartle Bogle Hegarty London-made tv ad would make the catholic church blush, and the bishops, the ones who also balked at a seemingly innocent local tv ad recently, would have none of it on Philippine tv.

Sacrilegious? Judge it for yourself.

“It is just a tv commercial, for Christ’s sake. The device is figure of speech to dramatize consumer benefits,” a local copywriter fumes.

The creative idea behind the ad was to show that Axe’s new variant Excite is so good that when you spray it, women can’t control themselves.


Asked online, via Skype and social media, ad people from across the globe sent in their nuggets of wisdom:

Multi-awarded tv commercial and film director Sockie Fernandez, says: “It really depends on the ad and insight of the material. If it resonates with me then I may enjoy it but if not, I may not connect with the material inspite of its excellent production values.”

McCann Worldwide New York, Senior Vice President and Group Creative Director Marco Cignini, says: “Some markets translate quite easily. Some definitely do not. It's always best to create a spot tailored to a specific market.”

Cignini, whose wife is a pinay, says it is largely because of the economy. “I can understand why brands would try to capitalize on the savings,” he says.

Hongkong-based Creative Underground ECD Sherri Maxwell has this to say: “A foreign commercial in a local market will most probably only work if it deals with universal human truths, global humor or insights that transcend culture. I always liked: "Think global, act local."

Brand Mentors President and CEO Willy Arcilla, enumerates the good and bad side of using foreign ads: “Good, because it is cost-effective, consistent, provides foreign cachet and leverages on global best practices. Bad, because it lacks local relevance, discourages local creativity and employment.”

Newly hired JWT Hongkong Executive Creative Director Sylvester Song says: “Coke and Nike for example, still maintain their brand essence, yet in every market globally they adapt a bit if needed.

Song believes that “if you really want to reach an audience, you need to speak their language and be culturally relevant.”

According to Song, Red Bull, a Thai brand, is a perfect example. “It has become a successful global brand, but look at what they needed to do to become that,” he says.

Leo Burnett Manila Associate Creative Director Don Mangente says any foreign commercial with a clear message can be easily understood by anyone. He finds Axe “Falling Angels” tv ad great because it’s idea is universal.

“A global ad helps you if your brand is known and used worldwide and you want people to experience the same communication wherever they are,” says
Trackworks Chief Marketing Officer Bing Kimpo.

Rafik Belmesk, Strategic Planner of one of Canada’s biggest ad agencies, nails it on the head:
“In the end, ideas are ideas, and the good ones often translate pretty well. Some commercials play on insights and issues that are so peculiar to specific cultures it wouldn't make sense to air them anywhere else,” he emphasizes.
To summarize, a universal idea will always acquire citizenship anywhere.
If it inspires, culturally sensitive, helps improve local production standards, introduce new way of thinking, and make technology transfer useful, it will be embraced and not seen as invading local creativity.


By Roger Pe
Philippine Daily Inquirer, June 1, 2011

Filipinos they say are fond of drama, that is, when we are engulfed with too much emotion, we tend to overdo it. Are we really overly dramatic or is that an Asian thing?
Well, some people say people from all over the world do the same. When an event happens, they always feel they should have a part in it to feel important.
“Filipinos are thoughtful and caring, it’s our way of expressing we are concerned about someone we know or don’t know,” a friend told us.
Here’s one that’ll make you chuckle: “We have a natural talent for emoting.”
Emote. Hmm, interesting word. Also, perhaps the root word for an ad series that’s not only been getting a big slice of awareness recall, driving people nuts to this pizza chain for delicious cheesy delights, and one that served as an insight and springboard for a campaign that’s raking in the sales.
We’re talking about Greenwich Extreme Cheese Pizza tv commercials - where the agency used the “cheesy” side of Pinoy to mount a successful sales-generating blitz.
How does it feel to be in a mushy situation, when you’re caught unaware displaying your affection to friends?
CJ Jimenez, Publicis-Jimenez Planning Director says, “People believe what happens in real life. When you portray real emotion and reflect it in your ads, you endear yourself to target. It may be embarrassing but who cares? It is just being human, a universal truth,” he says.
On a busy city intersection, a guy (played by budding actor Lloyd Zaragoza) crosses the street not knowing he is about to meet an accident. His eagle-eyed buddy (played by matinee idol John Lloyd Cruz) dashes off like a knight in shining armor and saves him in the nick of time.
As they roll on the ground, Rey Valera’s lachrymose song, “Kung Kailangan Mo Ako” wafts in the air.
Reminiscent of a scene in a Hollywood oldie, “Love Is A Many Splendored Thing,” the guy whose life was almost snapped by the speeding car wrenchingly, say: “You save my life!” - all in over-the-top dramatic tone.
Well, what happens next? The gang hovers around them and chorusly breaks into: “Pare, sobrang cheesy, n’yo ha!” Bingo, it’s time for Greenwich Extreme pizza.
In another series, basketball heartthrob Chris Tiu scores the winning basket in a hotly contested game. As pandemonium breaks loose and rain of confetti pours in, an overly excited player lifts Chris heroically.
The two whoop it up, their teammates watching with glee. As in previous ad, the gang breaks the “mushy moment” yelling, “Pare sobrang cheesy n’yo ha!”
At Burnham Park, John Lloyd Cruz tells a nervous Bea Lucero that he is “ending their friendship.” Before Bea could break into tears, John makes his tour de force acting: “This is the start of our romantic relationship” to the latter’s delight.
All star-studded, all celebrity-filled series, were they all expensive?
The agency doesn’t want to divulge but all Sherrie Chua, Account Director for Greenwich business could say was she’s all praises for client’s negotiating skills.
“We got the celebrities we wanted and recommended, we researched, we planned, we tested, so all’s well,” she beams with delight.
Since then, the line “sobrang cheesy” has made its way to people’s expressions, in a television gag and spoof show, even movies.
The campaign was also very prominent on the globally popular American Idol show, hitting the target right where it matters – bullseye, and for a media placement that could run into millions.
To extend the theme’s campaignability, the team also created “cheesy moments” in televised basketball leagues, adding buzz to its campaign.
What inspires a whole team that works just like hanging out as one big barkada?
Copywriter Martin Sarmenta is itching to pen another ‘cheesy’ storyline for Greenwich. “The brand keeps getting better and better and is an inspiration by itself because it gives me freedom to my ideas,” he says.
If people find Greenwich commercials funny, it could be because the Art Director on the team, RJ Ferrer derives his inspiration from Thai commercials – known all over the awards world for being hilarious.
For inspiration, Head of Visibility Jess Villaruel doesn’t need to look elsewhere. “Everyone is my inspiration, all the people around me,” he says.
The ever supportive and doting Account Director Sherrie Chua, says: “My team inspires me. “Where else will you find a wacky bunch that with a good first-pass batting average with client?”
Sharp and marketing savvy Planning Director CJ Jimenez believes in collaborative work. “That’s the way to go to synergize our thoughts and really gel together.”
Jimenez, a first-rate frontliner who has a deep creative background tucked under his belt knows what he’s talking about. His first and foremost concern is to come up with an inspiring brief to his creative buddies.
A month after launching the campaign, Greenwich Pizza sales increased by 26.48% and total pizza sales increased by 17.82%.
Compared to year ago sales, the brand’s pizza sales increased by 8.84% and total pizza sales increased by 9.70%.
All told, Publicis-Jimenez won slabs of awards for its “cheesy” campaign, including an “Araw” Gold for Best Integrated advertising in 2009 Philippine Ad Congress.
The only QSR with 230-strong outlets nationwide won the highest honor, topping all other major campaigns across different industries, not to mention a Tambuli and other marketing effectiveness awards.
Sweet success. Say cheese to Publicis-Jimenez.
Credits: ECD: Don Sevilla; CD: Noel San Juan, Lec Flores; Art Director: Jess Villaruel, RJ Ferrer
Copywriter: Noel San Juan, Martin Sarmenta
Planning Director: CJ Jimenez; Group Account Director: Chinky Veloso; Account Director: Sherie Chua; Producer: Noel Enriquez; Production House: Film Pabrika; Director: Carlo Directo


Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 23, 2011

There are now more than 500 million active users on Facebook worldwide, 50% of which log in at any given day. An average user has 130 friends and spends over 700 billion awesome minutes per month surfing.

These people interact with over 900 million objects (pages, groups, events, etc.) and more than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) are shared each month.

Wait there is also a “like” button that you can click underneath every single post to signify that you are pleased with what you see. You can make a comment or totally ignore it.

With this brand, or more specifically, ad series, however, the “like” button has reached feverish high, and has even grown to a Fan Page.

As in other fan pages that drum beaters of celebrities purposely put up to jack up membership, Cornetto handlers did it without even lifting a finger. The fans, mostly teens, did it.

Awareness, copy lines verbatim recall, comprehension, humor, overall likability – this campaign by Lowe and Partners, created for Cornetto Unilever, is most likely your favorite, too.

And why not? The campaign is a product of the heart like its logo. You can see love sprinkled all over it by a team whose passion is as intense as that of people where the ice cream originated, Naples.

And the good news is, it is not borrowed from an international campaign.

In an advertising landscape that keeps on changing and local ad agencies are marginalized because of budget shifts to mother networks and aligned agencies, Lowe and Partners’ “Sarap Ng 20 Pesos” tv ad series – “Horror” “Barber”, “Bouncer”, “Sweater”, is a breath of fresh air.

It’s homegrown, borne out of pinoy creativity and based on local insights that the teen market can really relate.

“We’re proud of our work for Cornetto and even more so that some of our agency’s work has gone regional,” says Creative Director Abi Aquino whose team has focused on the brand for a couple of years now.

Aquino, whose creative managerial style includes allowing her underlings to fly, believes in collaborative effort. “I believe every one has an idea worth looking into,” she says with a firm tone.

Aquino and her team squeeze their creative minds to the last drop, regularly churning out a rich number of ideas, and not settling for less. “We make sure that we are ready and have a bounty of options for clients to select from, whether for traditional, new and social media,” she says.

Her equally energetic Art Director John Pabalan, young and most likely a creative director-material, couldn’t agree more. “The group welcomes ideas from whoever, the more the merrier, anybody who can help make the idea in better shape, he or she is definitely in,” Pabalan says.

“Cornetto first used the slogans "Mag-Cornetto ka na lang" ("Just have a Cornetto instead") and "Hanggang Saan Aabot Ang 20 Pesos Mo?" ("How far will your 20 Pesos take you?"). Until today, the latter proves just as strong as when we first launched it,” Account Manager Mel Tomas says.

Before it was marketed in the country, Cornetto enjoyed a successful advertising campaign in Italy using a famous operatic gondolier to sing “O Sole Mio” in many situations and locales throughout Europe.

The campaign ran for ten years (1980 -1990), with its theme recycled back in 2006 and pedestrians, drivers, office workers, even marathon runners in London singing the song. Since then, the ice cream has become one of the most popular ice cream brands in the UK & Ireland.

A cone full of delights, an ice cream that gave birth to a series of highly recalled tv commercials. Most likely, you’ll give it a lot of check marks. Shall we check the “like” button, now?.