Thursday, December 5, 2013


by Roger Pe

Media magazine was Asia’s last word in advertising and marketing for 40 years. It was not your who’s who, what’s what publicity machine. You separated it from the boys for it ran incisive articles on branding and covered marketing successes in the region.

Asia’s first creative awards - the Spikes was originally launched by Media in the 80s as the region’s Oscars of advertising until Adfest shared in the limelight and put a ‘Cannes of Asia’ spin to it.

The Spikes’ Best of Show and several award categories were much awaited. Eventually, it added the agency networks, excellence in media, digital and the people categories (heads of agencies, planners and outstanding creative personalities).

The obelisk-shaped trophy was coveted, not only for its design, but also for the hard currency prestige it brought to the winners.

A couple of years back, the magazine rebranded with an online version and went full throttle as Campaign Asia (not to be confused with Campaign Brief Asia) having bought by Haymarket Media Group, publisher of Campaign, United Kingdom’s leading trade magazine.

On December 11 this year, the eyes and ears of Asian advertising will honor Asia Pacific’s Agency of the Year as well as recognize the year’s best in all categories.

For the first time, two Filipinos will be waiting in the wings to win, for their achievements over the last three years. DDB Philippines group chairman and CEO Gil G. Chua is a finalist in the Southeast Asia Agency Head of the Year and Merlee Jayme of DDB DM9 Jayme-Syfu as Creative of the Year.

Significance of the award

“The year 2012 presented a difficult and challenging time for advertising and PR. We had to “bite the bullet” at making difficult decisions given clients’ downsizing their budgets due to diminishing peso power of the consumer,” observes PR maven Henrietta ‘Bonjin’ Bolinao.

Given the scenario, Business Friday asks some industry folks on the significance of the recognition accorded to recent batch of Filipino admen:

Emily Abrera, Chair Emeritus McCann WorldGroup: “It will be something we can be proud of. It would mean the Filipino ad industry is alive and kicking and can hold its own among its peers in Asia.”

Robin Hicks, Editor, Mumbrella Asia and former Editor of Media Magazine: “DM9’s “TXTBKS” has raised the creative bar in the Philippines and puts the country back on the world’s advertising map where it belongs. The agency’s idea for Smart is now being used by telcos in other countries.

Gil and Merlee now have the task of ensuring that others follow where they have led with genuinely bold, agenda-setting ideas that push through a creative environment often highlighted by scam and copycatting.”

Harmandar Singh, Editor, Adoi and Asian Marketing Magazine Worldwide: “The win will inspire local leadership growth.”

A multinational ad agency Creative Director: “The award is all the more special in the light of continuing changes that is happening. Whoever can manage difficult challenges, put in creative leadership and provide innovative business solutions to clients deserves special plaudits.”

Why the honorees won the judges’ nod? Here’s a peek on their credentials:

Chua started his career as media assistant in 1977 and rose from the ranks as a media planner at the former Advertising and Marketing Associates, Inc, (AMA) a Filipino agency, which went into partnerships with the New York-based DDB Needham Worldwide.

He handled various positions in media, accounts, events management and PR, eventually becoming the owner, Group Chairman and CEO of DDB Group Philippines in 2008.

In his role, Chua heads the country’s most effective and creative business solutions company. Known as a true and committed partner to his people, clients and media, an innovations champion.

When he took over in 1999, DDB had only 28 employees and US$2 million in billings. Under his leadership, DDB’s business in the Philippines grew exponentially.
He grew the partnership into what is now DDB Group Philippines (DDB Philippines, DDB-DM9 Jayme-Syfu, Touch DDB, Tribal Worldwide, DDB PR, and DDB Remedy) offering integrated marketing communications, digital and interactive media, media planning and buying, public relations and activation.

Despite increasing financial pressures, Chua remained resilient to the objective that DDB’s people are to be nurtured, educated and nourished to grow. He ploughed back part of the group’s earnings and invested in training. He maintained staff benefits and offered flexible working hours for mothers and staff, also prioritized empowering his staff.

Indicative of its effectiveness, DDB Group Philippines had a 99% participation rate
in the network’s DDB Voice, scoring higher than any other country in Southeast Asia.

Chua had only one specific goal: for DDB to be recognized as the best in the market, both in creativity and effectiveness. The result today is a dizzying windfall of recognition here and abroad.

DDB Group won the Philippines’ first Grand Prix in Cannes — the only grand prix for the DDB global network this year and a Gold AME (Advertising and marketing Effectiveness) in New York.

Both wins were a first for the country. Back home, the group was also named Agency of the Year, given by the Philippine Quill Awards of the International Association of Business Communicators and Campaign Brief Asia named DM9 as Philippines most creative ad agency.

Recognitions from international and local award-giving bodies have not stopped coming in. As a result, the DDB Group gained numerous new business wins.

Chua played a substantial role across most of these wins, often as accounts manager, a back-seat planner giving out directions, sometimes as creative and always a cheerleader.

He is also known to be an entrepreneur with a big heart who always aimed at giving back.

In 2008, Chua initiated DDB Cares, proving that DDB Group was not just about profitability. “We also believe in giving back to the community, quoting Bill Bernbach, the agency founder: “All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgarize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level.”

Creative of the Year

The other Filipino who is about to score another first is Merlee Jayme, chair and chief creative officer of multi-awarded agency DDB DM9 Jayme-Syfu, which won the Philippines’ first Cannes Grand Prix (for Mobile) this year.

Jayme’s “TXTBKS” for Smart Telecom is about to shatter the Philippine record as the most internationally awarded Filipino campaign in history.

The founding ‘chairmom’ of the youngest ad agency to win 5 Grand Prix awards (4 more from other international award-giving bodies) has judged in Cannes, sat as jury chair in a number of Asian, Ad Congress, Agency of the Year and “Kidlat” creative competitions. She is also part of DDB’s regional council of creative leaders.

Jayme has won a Cannes Media Lion, an impressive number of awards from Clio, Adfest, D&AD, AWARD Australia, The Work, Gold in Spikes Asia, Epica and digital Asian awards. Her DM9 shop was Campaign Asia’s 2013 Creative Agency of the Year.

In 2009, she was awarded the Hall Of Fame Award by the Creative Guild of the Philippines and New York Festivals Creative Achievement Award.

She was jury president for Outdoor Lotus in Asia Adfest, jury member in the prestigious Cannes Lions Festival in France for Outdoor Lions and jury head for Indonesia's biggest award show Citra Pariwara 2012. This year, she was part of the executive jury of the New York Festivals.

Her creative shop has been ranked the Philippines’ number one in the 2010 Campaign Brief Asia ranking and was awarded Campaign Brief Asia’s Most Creative Agency of the Year for the Philippines in 2012.

Campaign Asia’s AOY awards have been known to recognize inspired leadership, management excellence, outstanding business performance and overall achievements in Asia-Pacific. The win by Chua and Jayme is a also a recognition for the Philippine ad industry.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


by Roger Pe

“Telenobelas” on Philippine television are getting more and more interesting every season. They are now well written, better produced and their appeal cuts across all socio-economic groups. Even ‘senoras’ in gated villages tell people: “We watch them,” without batting an eyelash.

If there are bottlenecks during rush hours, could it be that people are hurrying home to catch the next episode on primetime? Chances are.

They could also be rushing to watch special telecasts, global news, sports, lifestyle, movie re-runs - the same programs the world watch.

Technology has made televiewing as vivid as it can get, as spectacular as it was meant to be. Television has dominated Philippine homes for decades and ownership continues to rise.

The cheapest form of entertainment, source of news and other information has deeply penetrated Filipino households, most notably CD income groups, with some even owning the latest models.

Back in the 70s, only a third of Filipino households owned TV sets. Two decades later, 84% were tv watchers, and close to 97% in the capital city watched tv shows at any given time.

At the turn of the new millennium, that figure has gone to the roof by over 100%. With the advent of cable tv, the boom just exploded like a megabomb.

Soon after, the country’s biggest networks aired programs in HD (High Definition).
As cable tv viewing became the new standard, there were also disruptions, connection, reception and other problems attached to analog cable technology.

Welcome to 100% digital world

Today, Filipino cable subscribers are enjoying affordable digital tv, an experience that just might spell the end of cable analog and take household entertainment to new heights.

Annie Naval, COO and Managing Director of Cignal TV, formerly Mediascape, Inc, a subsidiary of MediaQuest Holdings, tells Inquirer Business Sunday readers why over 500,000 Filipino subscribers are now enjoying convenient, more pleasurable, value-added and glamour-filled tv viewing.

BF: You are the only one using a satellite dish, what is the advantage of having one compared to cable analog?

AN: Cignal is the country’s premier DTH (direct-to-home) satellite provider. DTH cable services mean that television signals are directly received on the subscriber’s satellite dish unlike standard cables where connection goes through several satellites and antenna stations.

This basically means DTH offers convenience and faster installation as there’s no need to do cabling in and around the house. All it takes is a dish installed on your terrace and a set top box connected to the dish (it usually takes us about 24–48 hours to install in stand alone establishments).

Another advantage of DTH service is its reach. Even if you’re located in a remote area, you can get stunning, digitally clear reception and you can avail of its benefits just by one-time installation of its devices.

The satellite dish antenna is exposed outdoor, what happens if it rains?

There is that common perception that when it rains, signal would be lost. But technology has improved by leaps and bounds.

Of all the providers, we really invested in reliability and service. Of course, there are times that this happens, depending on how bad the rain is. Heavy rains are really a challenge not only for us, but also for all cable providers.

For Cignal, it’s usually from seconds to 2 minutes only, then it’s back. It happens when a thick cloud passes and blocks the satellite dish. Clouds move fast when it rains, so once they go away, we’re back online.

What is 100% digital in layman’s term?
It refers to the reception, 100% digital means clearer resolution.

Does digital mean automatic HD picture resolution?

No. Both digital and analog can actually carry HD channels. The difference lies on the resolution. Given that, we are digital, and reception is guaranteed to be better.

Your brand has grown by leaps and bounds, giving Filipino households an alternative, to what do you attribute this to?

Cignal is 100% digital, so its 100% clear.

We have more HD channels. To date, we have 90 channels and out of 90, 23 are HD. HD is a built-in feature to every Cignal postpaid plan, unlike others where it is an add-on to a current plan.

Since HD’s introduction, Cignal has always built it in to postpaid plans. And of course, Cignal provides content and quality of programming at affordable rates. We have a roster of postpaid and prepaid plans available from as low as P430 for postpaid and P290 for prepaid.

In terms of content, Cignal also has its own produced-channels, which are Colours and Hyper. Colours is designed to cater to the female market while Hyper is more for men and a sports channel.

In Colours, we have cooking and home improvement shows. We also have Glamfest, which is a campaign to celebrate airing of 5 of Hollywood’s hottest shows.

The first one was the American Music Awards, which air LIVE on November 25. The next one will be the Victoria Secret Fashion Show, to air on December 19. By next year, we will have the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards and Grammy’s, which we will all air live.

How aggressive are you in promoting the brand on the ground?

Because Cignal is an experiential product, on-ground is really very important. The most effective way of doing on-ground is through live feed, e.g., we set up tents outside villages or have areas inside the malls.

Given the nature of Filipinos, they usually stop when they see something played on TV, they do that even in appliance stores.

We are present in malls as well as villages, public markets, etc. nationwide.
What we normally do is we choose an area and we go to their covered basketball court and spend the weekend there where they can watch programs on Cignal.

Sometimes we do activities like karaoke contest to get people in. It’s like conducting a small fiesta for them.

We likewise participate in bazaars. This November alone, we were in more than 50 bazaars. We make it a point to do a lot of on ground activities because one really has to experience it.

We also have on-the-spot applications for subscribers. For example, we are also available in appliance stores like SM appliance stores. When you buy a TV they will offer you Cignal. We also have a volleyball team called the Cignal HD Spikers.

What kind of a person is your brand if a prospective subscriber meets him today?

He’d be like Derek Ramsey, handsome, forward looking, very friendly and not snobbish. That’s Cignal today, gaining popularity.

How strongly do you believe that Cignal is the future of modern tv viewing?

We really want to be the more dominant player, so that’s one of our major thrusts. We see the potential of growing postpaid, so we want to cater to more and more postpaid subscribers. Of course introducing more HD channels, so we need to strengthen that foothold on HD.

Through innovations. We recently introduced an innovation called TV-to-Go, which allows one to view some of our channels as a Cignal subscriber in their mobile phones on Smart network. It’s an app that streams 13 channels so you can watch CNN, Cartoon Network, etc.

We also continue to try to bring in technology on the direct-to-home side.
We are also exploring other things like a better box where it will allow you to pause a show, rewind and record. So if you have to go to the bathroom or answer the phone, you pause the show.

Later on we can make movies available so you can rent the movies using the box. Those are the things were working on right now.


by Roger Pe

The product you are selling is the real star.

When celebrities are hot, the world comes to their doorsteps. When they’re not, nobody wants to touch them with a ten-foot pole.

That’s the law of advertising, especially when it comes to celebrity endorsers.
They move brands off the shelves, your brand future becomes bright (at least for now) and you smile, all the way to the bank.

Every marketer anywhere in the world lives by selling. Selling, especially in a very competitive market, can be tough. If the going gets tougher, some marketers opt for the easy way out. They knock on a celebrity’s door.

Businessweek calls celebrity endorsement a "borrowed equity", the term used to describe the value of a celebrity spokesperson.

“Borrowed equity is just that - borrowed. It may rub off on the brand endorsed, but in the long run, belongs to the celebrity. And one thing that celebrities should realize is, as quick as they ink a deal, they can quickly lose it in the wake of a scandal.”

Controversies have brought bad luck to celebrities that once enjoyed multi-million endorsement contracts. Among the high profile ones were those that involved Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong. Their headline-causing scandals made their advertising deals dissipate into thin air, inch by inch until they disappeared.

Heard about Paris Hilton's tv ads for Carl's Jr? They got a lot of attention but not for the burgers she endorsed. They became “building blocks in Hilton's wall of infamy, while the sponsoring brand endured thousands of consumer complaints”, according to the business journal.

Manny Pacquiao’s magnet to advertisers prior to his stinging defeat to Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez was mindblowing. Each time he closed a deal, the windfall he got electrified his handlers. If he were an earthquake, his tremor would reach Intensity 10 on advertising Richter scale.

The world’s biggest sporting brand Nike signed Pacquiao up. Hennessy commissioned New York based ad agency Droga5, a multi-Cannes Lion winning ad agency, to do a tv commercial about his life, pushing him to the top of Forbes’ most sought-after global celebrity endorsers list. In a different celebrity ring all his own, no one comes close to Pacquiao, even after his last two controversial fights.

Who are the biggest Filipino celebrity endorsers then after Pacman? Inquirer Business Friday makes a survey and the Top 12 are:

1. Kris Aquino. The presidential sister is also one of the top Filipino taxpayers. Labeled as “Queen of Talk” and “Queen of All Media” you often see her endorsing products for many different brand categories.

2. John Lloyd Cruz. Sought by many marketers for his popularity, wholesomeness and boyish looks, aside from the fact that his movies are blockbusters.

3. Kim Chiu. Her youthfulness makes advertisers like her. She has made commercials for a shampoo, sanitary napkin, cola, fastfood, apparel, celfone and other for-teens-only brands.

4. Piolo Pascual. This boy-next-door type is undeniably, one of the most pleasant celebrities to work with, according to people who have worked with him.

5. Judy Ann Santos. Endeared by millions of soap-opera fans. Young mothers can easily emphatize with her, a convincing endorser for food and household brands.

6. Anne Curtis. The Fil-Australian mestiza has endorsed many top brands and market leaders. She is the face of a leading shampoo, beauty soap, feminine napkin, celfone, condominium, watch, fastfood, bank and a premium apparel brand.

7. Sarah Geronimo. Name it, the talented singer and charming morena beauty can easily fill up the biggest concert venues in the country.

8. Carmina Villaroel. The very popular actress who started early in her showbiz career is a favorite endorser for mom-who-loves-what-is-best-for-her-family roles. Usually seen with her twins and husband Zoren.

9. Robin Padilla. When it comes to tough-guy roles, the ageless actor commands top-of-mind awareness among advertisers.

10. KC Concepcion. Marian Rivera. Two of the country’s most beautiful and refreshing faces are tied in 10th place.

11. Daniel Padilla. The young actor’s rise to popularity is phenomenal and his star continues to shine brighter.

12. Michael V. Old-reliable crowd-drawer, the star of recent food seasoning, biscuit, and liquid dishwashing tv campaigns.

Local brands have also hired the services of Vic Sotto, Toni Gonzaga, Sam Milby, Coco Martin, Dindong Dantes, Ogie Alcasid, Erich Gonzales, Billy Crawford, Enchong Dee, Izza Calzado, Chris Tiu, Phil and James Younghusband, and maybe soon, the Teng Brothers.

Recently, Bench and Penshoppe have been the most ambitious, engaging hot Hollywood and international celebs like Taylor Lautner, Zac Efron, Joe Jonas, Adam Levine, Lee Min Ho, Lucy Hale, Ian Somerhalder and Leighton Meester.

Why do celebrities jump into the bandwagon?

Philippines’ top casting director and star-builder Roly Halagao gives a good answer: “Advertising contracts are validation of a celebrity’s superstar status. It’s like receiving a badge certifying that you have arrived. Without it, you really haven’t reached superstardom,” Halagao, who also teaches at Ayala’s Masters School for Models, says.

The next question: Are top celebrity endorsers also top taxpayers? Not so.
BIR’s latest report showed that 15 of Top 24 endorsers for 2011 did not make it to BIR’s Top 500 taxpayers list for the same year.

Rappler mentioned couple Carmina Villaroel and Zoren Legaspi, Marian Rivera, Robin Padilla, Sarah Geronimo, Judy Ann Santos, Anne Curtis, Angel Locsin, Boy Abunda, KC Concepcion, Dingdong Dantes, Gerald Anderson, Bea Alonzo, Jericho Rosales, and Ai-Ai Delas Alas.

For year 2012, the number 1 taxpayer among celebrities is controversial TV host Willie Revillame, paying nearly P64 million in income taxes. Revillame even ranked second overall in the latest list of top individual taxpayers released by the BIR.

Top celebrity taxpayers for year 2012, as published by PDI, October 30, 2013:

1. Willie Revillame: P63,901,751.38
2. Kris Aquino: P44,933,335.05
3. John Lloyd Cruz: P42,791,354.17
4. Sharon Cuneta: P42,025,524.05
5. Judy Ann Santos: P24,086,982.57
6. Piolo Pascual: P23,356,956.00
7. Manny Pacquiao: P22,381,,304.91
8. Bea Alonzo: P20,746,366.45
9. Sarah Geronimo: P18,319,361.21
10. Robin Padilla: P18,262,377.84

Using A Celebrity: Pros and Cons

As many case studies have proven, Celebrity Right can immediately boost sales by as much as 20%, says Businessweek.

Anita Elberse, associate professor at Harvard Business School, says: “Celebrity-endorsement has the power to instigate and inspire, enlighten and enrage, entertain and edify the consumer.”

If using a celebrity is part of clients’ marketing strategy and you’re stuck with it, ask if the persona is relevant to the campaign. Probe deeper if he or she fits perfectly to the brand character they are trying to build.

A few examples: Nike's rapid success in the golf category was chiefly because golfers wanted to lay claim to the number-one golfer in the world. Of course, that was before hell broke loose and advertisers started distancing from Tiger Woods.

Rihanna's "Umbrella" song at the Grammy Awards was a big hit and her designs for Totes' umbrellas sold out like crazy at retail stores.

Halagao says, celebrity talent fees are expensive in the Philippines. “If you can afford a lot of money for the borrowed equity of a talking head, go ahead. But know that celebrities exist in public eyes, surrounded by nosey media. One embarrassing act can damage your brand,” Halagao says.

Businessweek mentions a chilling reminder: “Once you tie your brand identity to a celebrity, living or dead, you're hostage to that person's image.”

Your brand, the celebrity

So do you still need a celebrity endorser to sell your brand?

Instead of paying big amount of money for a celebrity that is already well paid, use that money for product research.

Invest on improving your product.
Make your brand more appealing to consumers. Don’t be lazy in creating your own original equity. Develop creative ideas that can cut through the clutter when advertising it. Demand more from your ad agency.

Study the business landscape and don’t do what competition is already doing. With these, who needs a celebrity endorser when your product already is?

Sunday, November 3, 2013


by Roger Pe

A world-class airport auto-advertises its host country by a considerable mileage, to some extent much bigger than the impact of television commercial.

That is one of the reasons why some countries have redefined their concept of airports to more than just drop-off points. They have evolved to destinations themselves.

Changi International Airport in Singapore is the world’s best airport for the 17th time. It has spas, theatres, butterfly garden, 4-storey slide, shower rooms, outdoor swimming pool, fabulous shopping and dining, aside from having a gorgeous terminal.

Chek Lap Kok in Hongkong is one of the busiest in the world, awesome for cleanliness, leisure amenities, dining and shopping. Do you have a longer layover? You can play golf on its 9-hole course.

Schiphol in Amsterdam was a military airfield before it was transformed into one of the world’s frenetic airports. It has a casino and even a library.

Just by looking at ten of the best airports in the world (five of them of them from Asia) you’ll see why their tourism arrivals are double-digit figures.

Having a wonderful airport is a giant leap toward achieving tourism goals. Indecision, holding infrastructure at bay and using band-aid solutions that peel off easily as soon as the next jetliner taxis in, make us settle for the crumbs.

Though not in Top 10, some Southeast Asian countries also have the best airports in the world. Kuala Lumpur International Airport has a posh train system inside the terminal that extends to the main city as a bullet train. No wonder its tourist arrivals have reached over 25 million.

Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok is the reason-to-believe why Thailand enjoys a tourism boom all-year round. It is just efficient even if the Thais could hardly speak English.

The ignominy of having the “worst airport in the world” is mindboggling. If we can build five of the world’s biggest and handsome malls why can’t we build an airport that we can be truly proud of?

An efficient airport contributes to tourism growth in the country. The Philippines remains the least favorite tourist destination in Asean in 2012 (data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) show. The country’s total tourist arrivals only reached 4.27 million in 2012. Malaysia was highest with 25.03 million, followed by Thailand, 22.35 million, Indonesia, 8.04 million, and Vietnam, 6.85 million.

What’s wrong with our main gateway? Naia1 is old, built for a 4.5 million-passenger-capacity that’s now overstreched to 8 million. It has no more room for expansion and bombarded with a lot of complaints - from physical to navigational capabilities (collapsing ceilings, stinking toilets, badly in need of a makeover, overcharging cabs, etc.). Naia 1 continues to rattle our nerves.

The world’s biggest aircraft, the A380, cannot land in Naia. Its gravest problem is being a safety risk. During peak hours, planes hover around metro-Manila skies for excruciating minutes to wait for their turn to land, a waste of gasoline, a cardiac experience, rain or shine.

It has caused trauma to passengers, a disaster waiting to happen because of one thing: the airport has only one runway (other Asian cities are already building their third and fourth).

Naia 2 is much better physically but it is monopolistic and handles only PAL. Naia 3 is the best of the lot in terms of design but its interior is beginning to look like crowded ‘tiangges’. But still, these two are stuck with Naia 1’s sole runway and that is the major headache.

Lately, DOTC (Department of Transportation and Communications) engaged Japan International Cooperation Agency to do feasibility studies for a new airport that would either augment or replace the congested Naia 1.

The basic parameter given by DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya was: it should be 20 minutes away from the metropolis. The result of the study gave two options to President Aquino, and Malacañang reportedly was inclined to adopt a dual or twin airport system than a single airport system.

The first option: Develop Clark International Airport in Pampanga, maximize the runway and terminal capacity of 32-year old Naia, and put up a new airport that would replace the congested international gateway.
The option also involves the closure and sale of Naia.

The second option: Operate Clark International Airport (it is completing a P412 million expansion of the existing terminal and is set to put up a P7.2 billion budget terminal), Naia and the new airport. Malacanang however said, “it will invest but won’t put all its eggs in Clark.”

Clark has two runways and can accommodate the world’s biggest aircrafts. Its land area can accommodate future expansion for third and fourth runways. If it can build a terminal comparable to Changi, we’re in business. But it needs a bullet train to transfer passengers to the metropolis. That is its biggest logistical nighmare.

A group of European airport construction experts from Denmark are in town working on the feasibility study of the country’s newest international airport - to be built on a reclaimed land off Sangley Point, the former US naval station on the tip of Cavite peninsula.

According to the reports, the development will be for a 50-million-a-year capacity airport terminal. The first of two runway systems, are estimated to cost P56.2 billion and P45 billion, respectively.

The project will also require the development of a connecting road network, as well as a snake-shaped, cable-stayed bridge that would connect the airport to Boulevard 2000.

If not for ‘monopoly perception’, Ramon Ang, Philippine Airlines’ President and COO, seem to have the best answer. Acording to reports, “Ang hopes to break ground before the year, a 4,000-hectare development with a 4-runway international airport, a modern air terminal capable of handling as many as 100 million passengers a year.”

Ang declined to name exact location but said, “it’s a 10-minute ride from EDSA using SMC’s proposed elevated roadway that cuts across Metro Manila on a north-south axis.”

The total project cost, he said, including the elevated tollway, a modern air terminal, runways and the acquisition of land “will be in the vicinity of $5 billion.” Asked if we can afford it, Ang said, “Of course.”

“If Malacanang opts for a dual-airport system, the country still needs a main gateway - its showcase and window to the world. That’s where it should invest in to harvest the golden eggs,” says a noted marketing professor.

The Best Airports

Why are they such? They are not mere drop-off points anymore. They have redefined airports with a new meaning.
They don’t treat passengers like herd of cattles. They provide comfortable sleeping refuge for those stranded by typhoons and flight delays.

The Top 10 winners of 2013 World Airport Awards, as announced this month by Skytrax, leading airline reviewer are follows:

1. Singapore Changi Airport (voted number one for the 17th year in a row
2. Incheon International Airport, South Korea 3. Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam 4. Hongkong Chek Lap Kok International Airport 5. Beijing International Airport 6. Munich International Airport 7. Zurich International Airport 8. Vancouver International Airport 9. Tokyo Haneda International Airport 10. London Heathrow International Airport

They were chosen based on the following categories: best terminal, shopping, security, cleanliness, dining, and more. More than 12 million people responded to this year's survey.

The Worst Airports

Travel website “Sleeping In Airports” released the results of its Best and Worst Airports for 2013, and mentioned the Philippines' main gateway once again as the world's “most notorious” airport.

Factors for the "worst airport" tag are crowded terminals, long delays, difficult transfers, lack of 24-hour food, dirty floors, bathrooms and food courts; unfriendly staff and airport scams, among others.

1. Manila International Airport Terminal 1
2. Bergamo Airport, Italy
3. Calcutta, India
4. Islamabad, Pakistan
5. Paris Beauvais, France
6. Chennai, India
7. Frankfurt Hahn, Germany
8. Mumbai, India
9. Rome Fiumicino, Italy
10. Los Angeles, USA

On a brighter note, Qatar Airways celebrated the launch of non-stop daily flights to Clark International Airport last Monday, October 28, 2013.

Qatar Airways A330 Flight QR930, touched down to a traditional water salute welcome. Airport and government officials, including the Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the Philippines, Jassim A. Al Obaidli, Qatar Airways Senior Vice President Commercial Operations – Network, Woo Yew Seong was joined by the Ambassador of the Philippines to the State of Qatar, Crescente R. Relacion.

With more airlines and bigger aircrafts flying into the country, the Philippines’ potential for tourism growth is huge. It should really have a huge infrastructure support from the government.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


By Roger Pe

With over 200 offices in 82 countries and 9,000 communication experts, Publicis Worldwide is the largest global network within Publicis Groupe (recently merged with Omnicom to become the world’s biggest advertising conglomerate).

Its global philosophy is “Lead the Change” and in Manila, its tough Chair and CEO practices what it preaches. Even in industry events that have national significance.

Matec Villanueva is also chair of Ad Summit Pilipinas, (together with Alex Syfu, Managing Partner at DM9 Jayme-Syfu advertising agency), the much-awaited event that when launched on May 2014, will dawn a new change in Philippine advertising.

In the much-publicized Adboard (Advertising Board of the Philippines) internal conflict, Villanueva fought tooth and nail for 4A’s (Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies of the Philippines) equity, a role she’s beholden to protect: Champion members’ interests by being their voice, inspiration and the moving force in the marketing communications industry.

She stresses the importance of PANA (Philippine Association of National Advertisers), KBP (Kapisanan ng mga Advertisers sa Pilipinas), MSAP (Media Supplier Association of the Philippines) and ASAP (Advertising Suplliers Association of the Philippines) into the fold and demonstrated how without them could lead to a vacuum in the industry.

Taking the bull by the horns, Villanueva puts an end to an impasse that has rocked an organization fraught with furloughs. After seven years, it’s good to have her back as 4A’s chair - for advertising’s most important event also goes back to where it rightfully belongs, the 4A’s.

First ever Ad Summit Pilipinas

The blue-ribbon event will see a different gathering of marketers and advertising practitioners in the country. For one, the word “congress” won’t be there, as if it was deliberately exorcised.

According to Villanueva, the Ad Summit is a change for the better, moving with the times, a convergence of the country’s best and brightest minds.

“We need to grow, we refuse to be outdated, we need to look forward,” Villanueva says.

Villanueva says Ad Summit will be refreshingly precedent making. She gives Inquirer’s Business Friday exclusive interview as she and her team roll their sleeves to mount the country’s first Ad Summit in seven months time.

BF: What is Ad Summit Pilipinas?

MV: It’s about caring for the industry we love. It is about looking forward and looking deeper into its needs. We also need to fill the void and provide continued learnings for the next generation of Filipino ad makers, which is our focus.

BF: Talking about focus, what’s the theme of Ad Summit?

MV: In a month’s time, we will know. We are still in the process of choosing the best and most relevant.

11 ad agencies are participating in the pitch and helping crack it. The winning agency will execute the event campaign, from brand identity down to its other creative merchandising permutations on various media channels.

The brief that we gave them was summarized into: “Events that are currently happening in the country and how they affect the ad industry.”

It was a beautiful briefing document that hopefully will be translated into a meaningful battlecry.

BF: Speaking about Adboard, why should 4A’s be chair?

MV: We don’t want to lose our grip on the very foundation that the 4A’s was created. Even with the explosion of digital and advent of new media,” at the end of the day, it is still advertising.

BF: Why should anyone not miss Ad Summit?

MV: It’s special, and we’d want it to be very visible and wonderfully felt. We are more concerned about quality than quantity of speakers in the program.
Attendees will see an Ad Summit that is professionally managed and an event run efficiently with clockwork precision.

BF: Give us a preview of what to expect in the Ad Summit.

MV: Gone will be the days of “kanya-kanya”. We are definitely bringing “Rock Star” speakers, global luminaries who are iconic, brilliant as their work that transcends national boundaries. We won’t have speakers who can’t even present.

We’d like to make Ad Summit an extension of 4A’s Aral – learning from the best and leading the change. Quality of speakers is one of the improvements we are putting in. We are rolling the red carpet for the finest.

We are focusing on intelligent programming and effective management of events to give the audience better grasp, and participation throughout the convention duration.

We are bent not too overload programs so attendees can manage their time well and register 100% attendance every session. We don’t want to see morning sessions not filled up because people stayed late the night before.

Then, there is also the “Kidlat Awards”. As the “Araw” fades into the sunset, the Creative Guild of the Philippines’ award-giving body will be woven into Ad Summit.

We intend to institutionalize “Kidlat” as the country’s most prestigious creative advertising competition.

The vision is just to make one advertising creative award giving body and make “Kidlat” as tough as Singapore’s CCA (Creative Circle Awards), Thailand’s BAD (Bangkok Art Directors Awards), Malaysian’s “Kancil Awards” and Australia’s AWARD (Australian Writers and Art Directors) Award. The competition’s format follows the world’s major award shows’ template.

BF: Previously, events like this earned a lot of money.

MV: That is not our main concern. While it is great to earn money, our main focus is to be of service to the needs of the industry first and foremost as I’ve mentioned.

BF: Has the Publicis Groupe-Omnicom merger beginning to have ripple effects in the Philippines?

MV: It is not easy and you cannot expect that with established brands like Leo Burnett, Saatchi, BBDO, TBWA and DDB. Clout maybe.

BF: What can you say to what you have become – from the girl who stumbled into advertising through the back door to chairman of one of the industry’s most financially vibrant ad agencies?

MV: Everything is not planned.
I believe that success is 30% skills and 70% luck. I admit I am not gifted but if you fall in love in what you do, things will be bestowed on you. I am married to my job and I consider myself lucky in my generation for having sought mentorship under these industry greats: Minyong Ordonez, Tony Mercado, Nonoy Gallardo, Emily Abrera, Mon and Abby Jimenez.

When I fell in love with advertising, I totally immersed myself into it and said: this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

BF: Who is Matec Villanueva after office?

MV: I am a lover of life, a health buff, married to my boys and I passionately teach advertising at Ateneo de Manila University. I have a great sense of history, reality, the past and the now. I am naturally resourceful and eager.

BF: Let’s play a word game based on your agency’s context. Choose only one, Creativity or Effectivity?

MV: Creativity. We’re already an effective agency.

BF: Awards or Billings?

MV: Awards. We have the billings and we’d like to shift focus on this one.

BF: Fame or Legacy?

MV: Fame.

Can Ad Summit Pilipinas bring back the hunger? Will it fire up today’s advertising and marketing people caught by the changes in the industry? Will we see a creative boom? Will local ad campaigns be more convincing and effective as hell? Villanueva thinks so. So, see you at the Summit!

Thursday, October 3, 2013


by Roger Pe

Has it outlived its purpose or is it just a name change?

For almost 40 years, the Philippine Ad Congress and its “Araw” Awards sideshow have been the most awaited events in Philippine advertising. Held every two years, they are the events to look forward to, to reflect back and bring home game changing global learnings.

A veritable who’s-who fills up every Ad Congress’ glittering marquee of speakers. Mark Tutssel, Joeri Van den Bergh, Charlene Li, Piyush Pandey, Neil Gaiman, among others, have once graced the Ad Congress to full capacity crowd.

If creative awards are your cup of tea, and lady luck shines on you, the “Araw” is a 3-hour moment of bliss or a bucketful of tears. If you are just bored and want to be seen, it’s a great event to unwind and rub elbows with old friends. You can even win a splashy car or big cash from the meal raffles, not to mention, party like hell.

On a more important note, the Ad Congress is special. It tells you if the Philippine economy is healthy, a barometer that gives us indication how robust it is going to be and how it is doing at the moment. You can call it the industry’s state-of-the nation’s address, and to dramatize its significance, sometimes, presidents of the Philippines are invited attend as its keynote speakers.

But alas, some good things must abruptly halt, for better or … for the future. The Ad Congress and the “Araw” appears to be headed to the twilight zone, weary, tired and rocked with ‘indefinite leaves’.

A couple of weeks ago, the Advertising Board of the Philippines (AdBoard) announced that is postponing the 23rd Advertising Congress due to “internal crisis”.

Originally set for November 2013, it will be the first time that it will not raise the curtains on the biggest assembly of advertising and marketing practitioners in the industry.

What gives? Three of the most influential members of the association, PANA (Philippine Association of National Advertisers), a 1,000-member strong group, 4A’s (Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies Philippines), and ASAP (Advertising Suppliers Association of the Philippines) each filed a furlough late last year and early this year.

KBP (Kapisanan ng mga Brodkasters sa Pilipinas) fired the first salvo in 2007, bolting out over the issue of commercials allowed for two major tv networks. It has never gotten back to the fold since then.

Last May 14, at the Creative Guild (award-giving body of 4A’s) “Kidlat” Awards, 4As chairwoman Matec Villanueva announced that 4As is set to stage the first ever Ad Summit Pilipinas to be organized by the 4As with PANA and KBP expressing full support. The bomb virtually rendered the Ad Congress redundant.

As Ad Congress becomes “Ad Summit Pilipinas” and “Araw” reincarnates into a high voltage name “Kidlat”, Business Friday interviews, Raoul Panes, award-winning Leo Burnett Manila Executive Creative Director, former Creative Guild President and most recently chosen as “Kidlat” co-chair with Madonna Tarroyo, President of Unitel Productions, Inc.

BF: How do you see “Kidlat” Awards and Ad Summit together?

RP: The Ad Summit will bring together several industry organizations. “Kidlat”, being the 4As show via the Creative Guild, is certainly an integral part of it, a celebration of our best creative work of the year. It complements the other events in the Summit by the other organizations.

BF: How will “Kidlat” be different?

RP: “Kidlat” has certainly evolved a lot. We remember the time when it was the Creative Guild Ad of the Year show, with Ad of the Month winners as finalists. It later became the annual event that is now “Kidlat”. Through the years, the categories have multiplied and rules continue to be tweaked. Overall, it's the best showcase of advertising creative work in this country.

BF: “Kidlat's” focus seems to be more on creative, even its attendance.
Do you consider market results?

RP: There are other shows that consider effectiveness. “Kidlat” has always been a creative show and that's what differentiates it. In certain categories, entrants may opt to show how their work fared in the market, but that's their call. We have yet to finalize this year's rules but I don't think we will change the essence of “Kidlat”.

BF: How do you police “Kidlat” Awards from scam ads?

RP: The rules that define minimum airing and placement will of course be there. I understand that people have a way of going around these. Pre-screening is able to neutralize some of these with crosschecking and requirement of more proof. But for me, the best defense against scams is with the judges. If you feel it's a scam, don't vote for it. I'm confident that the “Kidlat” jury will have that kind of wisdom.

BF: Are scam ads still an issue in Philippine advertising?

RP: It's still there but maybe not as bad as before. We all just have to work harder at putting out real work that gets creative recognition. The more real work wins, the more scam dies. People are becoming more wary about being scorned for fake work in these times.

BF: Will the Ad Congress become a relic now that the Ad Summit is about to be launched?

RP: I really don't know. The powers that be of the various organizations involved in this issue are the best people to answer that. I just hope we all find a way to work harmoniously together again. After all, who doesn't have fond memories of past Ad Congresses?

BF: Tell us a bit about you.

RP: I’m a Business Management graduate of Ateneo. Advertising’s been my entire career. It hit the sweet spot – my fascination with both marketing and creative writing as a student.

I started in Account Management. I did that for a year but eventually succumbed to the creative itch, started as a copywriter at JWT – my formative years, so to speak, were spent there.

I then moved to Jimenez D’Arcy, which later became JimenezBasic with the merger. Later, I headed to BBDO before eventually going to Burnett. I have been privileged to learn from several greats with differing creative philosophies.

The late Butch Uy at JWT was a passionate visualizer and wordsmith. We’d be in the office on Saturdays just churning out multiple versions of detergent freight. I also admired his no-frills and earnest approach in selling work to clients.

From Mon and Abby Jimenez, I learned to bring out the Pinoy in the work. We’d spend days just sifting and winnowing for the “ethos”, as they called it. They also showed me that work-life balance is paramount.

David Guerrero pushed me to benchmark “the work, the work, the work” against the rest of the world. And then there’s Richard Irvine who affirmed my belief that success and humility can co-exist in a creative person.

BF: What’s your creative philosophy?

RP: It’s best captured by this Leo Burnett quote on my office door: “Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.”

BF: What is Creativity to you?

RP: I was mainly motivated seeing my work on TV when I started copywriting. I still do. But I have a bigger picture now, if creative ideas can make a difference in somebody’s life - that to me is more significant.

To cheer up somebody’s gloomy day. Generate donations for a cause. Make somebody’s wash a little better. Offer a better alternative to one’s usual thing. How to do this and effectively sell a product or service, that’s what makes our trade fascinating and exciting.

Some creative people think that their work is their art, their selfie. I say: it’s not you but it’s the brand. Your work shouldn’t be a reflection of how “cool” or “hip” you are. These people end up becoming the most cynical about their profession.

BF: What do you think are some of the great Filipino ad campaigns made over the last 10 years?

RP: I have to go even way back. I’ve always liked those old San Miguel beer ads – “Isang Platitong Mani” and the lot, the glory days of PAC. Watching those as a kid motivated me, in part, to get into advertising.

Superwheel ads by JWT - classic riffs on Cleopatra and other characters. Of course, there’s Burnett’s Lolo TVC for McDonald’s – voted Ad of the Decade by the Creative Guild a few years ago. Up to now, people fondly remember the “Karen-Gina” lines.

More recently, I think the social media-driven tourism campaign by BBDO is smart work, given the tight budgets.

BF: Inspiring words that you can share to PDI readers.

RP: The world doesn’t revolve around advertising. So one must work harder to make the work stand out. And just when you think everybody thinks you’re a creative genius, you’re not – because the rest of the world has bigger things to worry about.

BF: The ad campaign that you are most proud doing and why.

RP: Right now I think it’s the McDonald’s work we’re doing. Our clients value creativity. The ads get creative recognition. But the bigger thing for me is that they’re creating or strengthening bonds with the brand among consumers. People talk about them spontaneously and this helps in the business. We can’t stay happy though. You’re only as good as your last work.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


by Roger Pe

A movie without a story will surely bomb at the box office, in the same manner as a tv commercial without a big idea will always be at the mercy of the remote control.

Where’s the beef? The question hard-to-please people always ask also applies to digital media. Form can never replace content. Technology, in order to be amazing, can never be one-dimensional.

A spaceship into cyber space should have a double-edged sword, adept at challenging and wowing people’s minds to make them linger a littler longer.

“If digital is meant to be the “always on-24/7” medium, its content needs to be interesting to keep the conversation going,” says Budjette Tan, McCannMRM Worldwide Executive Creative Director, one of the speakers in 2013 IMMAP Summit held in Power Plant Mall, Rockwelll Center last August 29-30.

A brand can’t always be on “sales pitch mode” when talking to its customers,” he says. Tan talks about “BUYRAL: Creative Content Marketing” and presented case studies on how campaigns can get viral and provide business results. He cites a number of Facebook communities with the right kind of content.

“Nescafe welcomes you as if you just entered their ‘Kapihan.” “Royal’s page grew to over 500,000 fans in less than a year and kids keep coming back. Kit Kat attracts a lot of people because of its funny videos and interesting infographics,” he stresses.

With the advertising industry on the cusp of a digital revolution, Business Friday interviews another Filipino icon whose career crossover to digital is just as amazing as when she became Indonesia’s first woman Country Head for Lowe Jakarta, the country’s biggest ad agency.

Eleanor Modesto, now president of Pure Online, one of the Philippines’s leading digital agencies, helped nurture Indonesia’s infantile ad industry to where it is now - 23 fruitful years of mentoring some of Indonesia’s advertising leaders today.

BF: Why should advertisers go digital?

EM: The signs are everywhere, TV is getting content from youtube, most of us get the latest news from the web, trends are now seen first in digital (i.e. the Netizens Vs. Pork Barrel, Miley Cyrus “twerking” etc.).

The latest rally in Luneta was started in social media, the Napoles/ Pork Barrel controversy is fueled and kept alive in the digital space. Print, Radio and TV ads all point customers to their Facebook page, Twitter, Youtube etc.

Brands need to be in digital but not just be present but also make their presence relevant and appealing. That’s the challenge of digital – how to make brands work and interact with their customers.

Digital is measurable at every point in the purchase funnel. You can tell which channel converted into purchase and second it's data based, so there’s an opportunity to maintain a meaningful customer relationship over the long term.

BF: How has digital advertising grown over the last 5 years?

EM: There are a lot of ways to look at this. There are quite a few new entrants into the space, whether they are existing agencies with a beefed up digital department, or a specialist agency that does nothing but digital.

There are a lot of brands that have invested in maintaining a Facebook or Twitter presence, but there are certain basics that are still being omitted.

Very few Philippine companies have an online storefront or customer service channel. In terms of media-spend, Mike Palacios of Havoc says as per IMMAP, the estimated digital Adex has gone up from 0.8 to 2% of the media pie in the last three years but the rate could be faster and higher.

Internet ad revenues in the U.S. totaled a record $10.31 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, an increase of 12% from the third quarter of 2012. Mobile revenues surged 111% in 2012 to $3.4 billion, building on 2011’s record-breaking 149% year-over-year rise to $1.6 billion

BF: What are the most common barriers in digital advertising?

EM: Most of the barriers are client side. There is a perception that investment in digital advertising automatically means banner ads. That's not what digital advertising is all about.

Then there are businesses not yet migrating to digital. Even banks and auto companies are still not 100% embracing it. The e-commerce or online transaction revolution needs to happen.

I have a theory that the highest barrier is “fear”, also “lack of understanding of digital” and the perception that it is “cheap”.

A number of marketing departments are either being run by light or non-users of digital. In contrast to MNCs who are mandated to allocate 10-25% of their marketing budgets to digital.

As younger managers move up the ladder to make decisions, the role of digital advertising will become stronger and new generation of digital natives will flourish.

BF: What is digital’s distinct strength over other channels?

EM: Digital’s strength is its ability to “engage” customers and have a real, on-time conversation with them. But the power is when all media intersect – so TV uses the web and social media and the same goes for radio, out of home integrating with digital, mobile and social media, that’s when it all comes together.

BF: What is a good digital ad agency?

EM: When it knows how to use digital tools in a strategic and effective way. You can always keep a creative agency on tap to churn out ideas, but that's not necessarily what a digital agency is about.

The best digital agencies have frameworks that integrate social media and e-commerce, build and deliver a mobile CRM strategy, and more.

Too many existing agencies are focused on "Facebook maintenance" and "viral videos" because they are easy offshoots of what they're doing today in traditional media.

BF: What is your company’s point-of-difference?

EM: We have a great mix of digital brains like Nix Nolledo and Mike Palacios who are digital pioneers in the Philippines.

Our key operators, Rupert Japlit, our GM headed Netbooster (now Movent), Ronan Chua, ex-Publicis & Keiser Maclang CD is a blogger and a good example of ATL/Digital hybrid creative and our Operations Head Raffy Rodriguez brings years of digital experience from Ogilvy.

Our shareholders are some of the top names in the business – Abby Jimenez, founder and ex-Chairman of JimenezBasic; Ichay Bulaong, Godmother of Direct Marketing and ex-head of ABS-CBN Relationship Marketing and RJ Esteba, CEO of PSRC and co-owner of AGB Nielsen.

BF: Your management style like?

EM: When we find people with the potential, I try to guide them by pointing out what results we are targeting for and then I let them go for it. In my younger days I tended to micro-manage which was not a good thing.

I have learned to let the younger people get the directions and manage the projects themselves and with new technology, they are better suited to the requirements so they make good and often times better decisions and that’s great!

BF: Briefly, who is Eleanor Modesto as a private person?

EM: I’m eternally curious and I want to keep learning, that’s why I’m still in the business.

BF: How does your company keep abreast with the fast-changing world of digital?
EM: We believe in constant education with the latest technologies, encourage our staff to read and learn aggressively. We have a robust training program, not just on technology but also about branding, customer relationship, and of course, the latest trends in the business.

We track the web for the latest technologies, apps, monitoring tools, trends, etc. We also engage with industry groups to have access to human experience and contextual knowhow.

Pure just signed an affiliation with Isobar, the top digital agency globally and this means more training opportunities and exposure to the latest technology and global ideas.

BF: How do you see digital advertising in the Philippines 10 years from now?

EM: As adoption increases we will start to see digital becoming the primary vector for branded content. Right now that position belongs to broadcast television, but once TV and OOH become IP-based with smart TV sets, we will see a massive shift.

We will see the agency role start to fragment. No one digital agency will be able to fulfill all the client's needs. The role of the agency will be as integrator, or content creator. Pure-Isobar would like to be on the forefront of all these changes.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Photos by Carlo Ople of DigitDM9

by Roger Pe

Technology is beautiful. Without a doubt, it makes life a little better. If wonders never cease, especially in digital world, the inevitable must happen: the geeks will inherit the earth.

This they did in last Friday’s IMMAP (Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines) Boomerang Awards, where the best and the finest brand advertising using the digital highway were given their own spotlight.

Philippine digital wizards and brand honorees took centerstage as the seventh edition of The Boomerangs, now beginning to be the most exciting part of every IMMAP event, opened at The Loft, Manansala, Rockwell Center, Makati.

The Boomerangs, literally named after a curved flat wood designed to circle back to the thrower, is the Oscars of digital advertising. The shape is aptly, graphically digital, moving forward. This year’s official creative agency partner is

Started in 2007 as a sideshow of every IMMAP summit with mostly independent digital agencies participating, Boomerang has grown by leaps and bounds, attracting even multinational ad agencies that seriously go to Cannes.

Digital campaigns and programs utilizing Internet-enabled technologies (brand-managed communities such as Facebook pages), branded utility apps and e-commerce platforms vie for a Boomerang statue.

Today, it is fast shaping up as the country’s most prestigious digital awards show, a competition eagerly awaited, a must-attend industry gathering.

The 2-day summit opened with a theme: “Digital Drive: Trending Towards ROI” had a stellar cast of speakers, local and foreign, a veritable who’s who in digital media.

Among them were Ruth Stubbs, CEO of iProspect Aegis Media Asia-Pacific, Thomas Crampton, Director, Social@Ogilvy, Ogilvy & Mather Asia Pacific, Nick Fawbert, Head of Digital Enterprise for Media Corporation, CEO Third Space Consulting Southeast Asia, Gabby Lopez and Donald Lim, Chairman and Chief Digital Officer of ABS-CBN respectively, Merlee Jayme, Chair and Chief Creative Officer of DM9 Jayme-Syfu, Budjette Tan, Deputy Executive Creative Director of MRM Manila, digital arm of McCann WorldGroup, Bela Gupta D’ Souza, Head of Globe Telecom Mobile Advertising, Leah Besa-Jimenez, Group Head-Digital Media, Smart Telecom and a host of other experts in the field.

Miguel Ramos, IMMAP President gave the welcome remarks while Stubbs made a keynote presentation on “Performance Marketing.

Last year, over 150 submissions from agencies, industries and platforms were received. DOT’s “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” (BBDO Guerrero) and Coca-Cola’s “Where Will Happiness Strike Next: The OFW Project (McCann Worldgroup Manila) campaigns won gold Boomerangs.

“We are moving towards the right direction, the awards is on its way to becoming mainstream,“ says Ed Mapa, the man of the hour, conceptualizer of the Boomerang Awards and one of IMMAP’s founding fathers.

Mapa was previously president & CEO of Media Contacts Philippines. He steered the agency to win the Araw Media Agency of the Year in 2009, and with that leadership brought home important businesses from Unilever, San Miguel Brewery and Citi-digital.

On same year, his agency captured a Gold for Innovative category in the Boomerangs, stretching all the way to the Ad Congress with a gold in Best Use of Internet and a Bronze in Best Viral campaign.

In an interview, Mapa, credited with developing Havas Media Ortega as one of the most innovative digital agencies in the country, says: “Digital creativity is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as to best accomplish a particular purpose.”

“It is about search, to explore, learn, discuss, experience, leading to a desired result or action,” he says.

With everyone trying to catch up with the digital bandwagon today, Mapa, the digital pioneer, believes it is not about “Think Simple” anymore but rather “Think Orchestration. It is not about media planning anymore but behavioral planning,” he adds.

Huge reason why he was recently elevated as Chief Innovation Officer for Havas Media Group China, relocating to Beijing right after the Boomerang Awards. He will tackle a more challenging role - championing innovative thinking for the agency’s data, creative and technology products.

Digital Advertiser of the Year

A total of 20 Bronze, 19 Silver and 5 Gold Boomerangs were handed out at this year’s Boomerang Awards. For investing money into digital, glory circled back to Nestle Philippines, bringing home the Best of Show, aside from winning the most number of awards across all categories for most of its brands.

Gold Boomerangs also went to DM9 JaymeSyfu, OgilvyOne and Mobext for their respective clients.

Business Friday interviews Sandra Puno, Director of Nestlé Corporate Communications, Aurora Alipao, Nestle Head of Consumer Services and Corporate Communications and Nicole Bulatao, Head of Digital Marketing:

BF: How does it feel to be on the top again?

Sandra Puno: Pleasantly surprised and extremely happy! Our work in digital space continues to be inspired by Filipino consumers, our “Kasambuhay, Habambuhay”, and it is for them that we launch and sustain all our digital campaigns, to be able to reach out to them. These awards are a tribute to the Filipino consumers, who have made our brands a part of their daily lives.

BF: Why is “Nestlé Club” effective?

Au Alipao: Through the years, the Nestlé Club has become the members’ go-to source of homemaking information and inspiration - making them feel more empowered and confident.

The Nestlé Club, through our various communication materials and channels, has consistently provided content relevant to its members, while creatively promoting use of Nestlé products through recipes, games, and useful homemaking tips.

As moms became more digital savvy, the Nestlé Club evolved, engaging its members even more through digital channels.

The Nestlé Club website (www.Nestlé has over 309,763 unique visits with average engagement time of 3.45 minutes, 750% higher than a 30-second TVC.

It is one of the longest running consumer relationship marketing programs in the country, and we are here for the long-term. We do not only acquire members, we make sure that once our consumers become members, we continually communicate with them, in ways relevant to them. We can never thank them enough for the love they continue to share with us.

BF: Similarly, why does “Gerber Farm” tick?

Nicole Bulatao: The short answer is its simplicity. The idea behind Gerber Farm is that we wanted to communicate the fact that Gerber is made with wholesome ingredients, without preservatives.

The Gerber Farm Facebook app allows mothers to virtually pick fruit from a farm, pack it in a bottle and vacuum seal the lid, thus leading users through the process of making Gerber. Easy steps, beautiful imagery and strong message all worked together to bring the message of “Freshness in Every Jar” across.

BF: You have different ad agencies but most of them, if not all, won awards for Nestlé. What can you say about them?

Sandra Puno: I am proud to say that we work with some of the most creative and inspired people and agencies in the industry. I’ve always believed that it is the ultimate tribute to Nestlé and our brands, when our agencies decide to enter the work they’ve done for us in various competitions.

That means our partners believe they’ve done great work for us. And when these awards are won - that means the industry of experts agree with them. That is really a big honor!

Nicole Bulatao: MRM, Ogilvy One, Publicis and NuWorks have been partners for years, and each agency manages multiple brands for us. Their teams truly collaborate with me and with the brands, and they’re never afraid to defend a contrary point of view if they believe that it’s what’s best for the business.

BF: What is your guiding philosophy for making them deliver?

Sandra Puno: The Nestlé Philippines mission is to nurture generations of Filipino families and help build a strong and prosperous nation. This is a mission we share with our communication agencies.

BF: What makes you believe in digital?

Sandra Puno: Digital is here to stay. There is no going back. If we are to continue to succeed, we need to embrace digital, with all its benefits and complexities. The sooner we get our people to do that, the better we will deliver our mission.

Nicole Bulatao: Digital channels are different from traditional channels in at least two ways: the technologies available allow for almost any execution an agency creative or brand manager can imagine, and the channels encourage peer-to-peer sharing.

This means that the field of digital marketing communications is both incredibly exciting, and impossible to totally control. Messages communicated on digital—by artists, journalists, everyday people, and of course, brands—can be incredibly powerful.

Au Alipao: We have to be where our members are, so we can continue to be relevant in their lives, and more and more of our Nestlé Club members are into digital.

To be continued ...

Thursday, August 22, 2013


by Roger Pe

How many people still remember Yco and Ysmael Steel? For sure, baby boomers still do and their big followers still reminisce their unforgettable exploits on the basketball court.

The two dribbled their way to Filipino households because they had talk value. Their names enjoyed media presence and their star players’ heroics gave them word-of-mouth sizzle.

The names became not just names on jerseys, from among their ranks emerged Carlos Loyzaga, Tito Eduque, Kurt Bachmann, Robert Jaworski, Freddie Webb, Alberto Reynoso, Adriano Papa, Orlando Bauzon, Jimmy Mariano and a galaxy of other stars.

They became synonymous to the brightest in Philippine basketball that did the country proud in Asia and in the Olympics during that time.

Meralco, Crispa, Toyota followed suit and then Purefoods, Shell, Alaska. Now we have Ginebra San Miguel, Air 21, Petron, Talk ‘N Text, San Mig blazing the trail. Just like their predecessors, they enjoy round-the-clock brand presence and top-of-mind awareness from among millions of consumers.

Who would have thought Milo would eventually topple the seemingly unsinkable Ovaltine in their category war? The former, with its solid “Olympic Energy” positioning and focused campaign line, now reigns supreme as the undisputed market leader.

Credit it to relentless sports marketing and single-minded approach, the brand also made “Milo Marathon” an iconic word, eagerly anticipated by sport fans.

For decades, Marlboro basked in media glory made possible by the nationwide popularity of “Marlboro Tour” and “Marlboro Adventure”. Coke’s “Go-For-Goal” bred a lot of Pinoy footballers in the same way as soccer gave it added branding kick.

Shakeys today is synonymous to Philippine volleyball. The surging popularity of the sport is making its brand leadership unshakeable.

Alaska and Cobra are banking on the current rage - Triathlon for kids and professional athletes.

From ticket sales to licensed products, apparel, equipment merchandising and other promotional permutations, sports are a big business.

Everyday, hundreds of millions of sports fans watch sporting events, a gripping entertainment reality that brands all over the world consider as strategic marketing opportunities.

Super Bowl tops Forbes’ list of the world’s most valuable sporting events worth $379 million. Following the Super Bowl are the Summer Olympics ($176 million) and soccer’s World Cup ($103 million).

Nike, GE, Procter & Gamble, Adidas, Coke, Samsung, Panasonic, Dow, Omega, McDonald’s, Visa, BMW are just of the biggest brands queueing up to get into these events for these reasons: 100% captive audience, media and financial returns worth millions of dollars.

To give us interesting insights on the subject and real local market case studies, Business Friday interviews Ed Dames, an all-around athlete, fitness buff, martial arts enthusiast, Chairman and CEO of DTC (Direct-To-Consumer) Promos, one of the country’s leading companies specializing in sport roadshows, campus tours and women’s marketing, complementing many ad agencies’ activation programs.

Previously Events and Sports Marketing Director of Leo Burnett Manila in 2001, Dames, put up CEMG (Creative Enterprises Management Group) with corporate team building and special events as its core services.

One of his biggest projects was Close-Up’s “Whattamouth!”, a spectacular event with a daunting challenge: break the Guinness World Record on the largest photo mosaic in a billboard. The event easily broke the UK record and set a new high in mounting an event for a billboard unveiling.

Dames and his team literally stopped the world on that part of Makati by using the MRT as a viewing deck and deployed the legendary Air Force 505 (Search and Rescue team) to strip the billboard cover. It ended with the first-ever fireworks display on Edsa featuring the World Pyro Festival champion, La Mancha.

BF: Briefly, how does a brand benefit from sports marketing?

ED: “By associating with a particular sports or a sports personality, a brand gets instant recognition. Of course, sports marketing must be part of an Integrated Marketing Communications to optimize its value.”
BF: Does it benefit only sports enthusiasts?
ED: “No. Fans of the Olympics for instance are not necessarily sports enthusiasts. But they watch and support it because of the many things it brings: human drama, the fanfare, the celebration of the human spirit.”

BF: How do you effectively reach your target audience and keep their support?

ED: “By doing your homework as a professional marketer, knowing what keeps them excited, their habits, their aspirations, their social circle. Then matching it with the sport that best represent their lifestyle.

For example, light beers are very ubiquitous in Mixed Martial-Arts shows like the UFC. The reason is obvious: people who watch fights enjoy the show while drinking light beers with their friends.

Fights are now viewing parties. The message: drinking light gives you the ability to enjoy life more!

BF: If marketers want to use it as strategy, what advise can you give before plunging into action?

ED: “Do your research. Keep your personal bias and ego out of the picture. Find a good fit with a sports event that you can own and build a campaign around.

Compare its benefits with other available platforms. Have a clear metric to evaluate whether the sports you’ve chosen helped your marketing objectives or not. Sponsor only events organized by people with proven track record.

BF: What is its biggest advantage?

ED: The appeal of sports is universal. It cuts across social, economical and geographical boundaries. Some sports appeal to a specific sector. It’s more economical than traditional advertising.

BF: How well is it adapting to digital age?

ED: “Sports has adapted very well into the digital age. All the major sports organizations use social media as a key strategy in engaging with their fans.

Sports personalities maintain tweeter, Instagram and FB accounts where they can interact with their supporters. UFC president Dana White gives real-time updates of UFC happenings … including championship fights … with his million followers.”

BF: How do you describe sports marketing in the Philippines, in general?

ED: “It’s still not based on solid marketing strategies. Often, sponsorships are based on the personal bias of a brand manager or a corporate executive.

A case in point is the penchant for sponsoring fun runs.

While it is good to promote a healthy lifestyle thru running, no one remembers the other sponsors of fun runs apart from a chocolate drink, a sport wear and a sports watch.

Everyone else is just a second-rate copycat. Why would be brand want to spend millions just to be a “gaya-gaya”? If a brand would approach me, I would advise doing non-traditional fun runs. How about backward running?

BF: What is your trademark sports management style?

ED: “I’m a go-getter. I get excited about big challenges. I take on a new pitch as sports competition and I prepare my team accordingly.

How do you apply sports in running your business?
Sports is about setting new goals and going for it. My personal philosophy is also our corporate credo: “whatever it takes!” For as long as it’s not illegal or immoral, we’ll do it for our clients.

We’ve set records for doing things never been done before. On hiring, we give plus points for applicants who are into sports. Athletes have discipline and focus. They don’t get sick easily and they carry themselves better.

BF: What drives you professionally and personally?

ED: “Doing things with social relevance and eternal significance. I’m now in a legacy-building mode.”

Es Dames has over 30 years experience in Advertising and Events/Sports Marketing. He worked with McCann, Basic Advertising and Leo Burnett. He is also Director of World Team USA that is promoting “Fight for Peace”, an international Muaythai and MMA Super Fights to be held at Resorts World Manila on October 23, 2013.