Friday, May 30, 2014


by Roger Pe
Philippine Daily Inquirer
May 30, 2014

It used to be only the ‘bakya’ crowd loved soap operas. Now that they have evolved into teleseryes or telenovelas and are produced with a ‘Hollywood’ feel, the demographic divide has narrowed.

It is now common for white-collar workers to talk about teleseryes in the office or wherever they hang out. Even ‘donyas’ in gated villages don’t squirm anymore when conversation gravitates towards them.

ABS-CBN’s “The Legal Wife” is currently trying to break GMA 7’s “My Husband’s Lover’s” record as the Philippines’ highest rating teleserye.

Admit it, Filipinos love dramas especially if they’re good. The fondness for the genre reaches dramatic proportions during primetime – when most household members are at home, glued to the television set, eagerly waiting for what’s going to happen to their favorite hero or heroine.

Primetime is considered the most important part of the day when most Filipinos watch TV and advertisers put a larger chunk of their investment to reach more consumers efficiently.

Teleserye hits have spawned memorable lines that turned into monster hits, quoted and parodied by rabid fans that could mouth them at the drop a hat.

“You want war, I’ll give you war”, “Sinira mo ang kanta, binaboy mo pa. You’re nothing but a second-rate, trying hard copycat”, “Nagsi-swimming ka lang naka-diamonds ka pa”, “Baka nakakalimutan ninyo, kung hindi sa akin, hindi kayo makakakain ng corned beef” are just some of the most brutal, bitchy and howlingly funny lines delivered by local telenovela divas.

As technology became digital, teleseryes also became glossier and more polished, production became slicker, camera-work reached cinematic levels. And celebrities? Their star-value also increased and the semi-retired found a new lease of hope for their flickering career.

In the mid 90s, drama on tv became more acclaimed. By 2000s, they became even more powerful, and over the last three years, teleseryes were enough reasons for millions of Filipinos to stay nowhere but home.

Teleseryes have became even more popular than locally produced movies, devoured by millions of Filipinos, which average four to six members per household.

The phenomenom has produced dramatic results - they now command the highest advertising rates on Philippine television, a boon to the networks, a magnet to advertisers. They last anywhere from three months to a year, or even longer, depending on its rating.

Ratings, the magic word

Without a good rating, a teleserye may not exist. Ratings are the lifeline of a tv program and commercials make them breathe.

For advertisers to come in, the country’s two major networks, ABS-CBN and GMA 7 whose rivalry, incidentally, is also worth watching, go on a round-the-clock race for excellent programming. The goal is to entice audiences, build critical mass and top the ratings game to hook advertisers.

Which brings us to the question most marketers and ad agencies ask - which programs and network are the most watched by Filipino televiewers?

Business Friday interviews Gabby Buluran, Country General Manager of Kantar Media Philippines, a non-partisan media analyst, part of Kantar Worldwide, one of the world’s largest research and information networks today.

But before that, here’s a quick look why Kantar is currently the toast of advertising and media networks in the Philippines.
Owned by WPP with 28,500 employees in 100 countries worldwide, Kantar derived its name from the word bushel, an official Egyptian measuring system.

Kantar offers a whole range of business-media insights and audience measurement services through the analysis of print, radio, TV, internet, cinema, mobile, social media, and outdoor advertising.

Later this month, it will release a valuable industry initiative, the latest outdoor advertising expenditure report via OMAG (Outdoor Media Advocacy Group) headed by President Darmo Castillo and one of its founding members, Bing Kimpo.

For television audience measurement, Kantar has a total of 6.315 million homes in rural areas and 8.820 million homes in urban areas across the Philippines, bringing the total of 15.135 million homes nationwide covering 75 million individuals as of the latest census.

Business Friday: Why is research very important in hitting the right market?

Gabby Buluran: Research lessens the guesswork in the market. Properly implemented, research gives a reflection of the true universe. Much like a Cook tasting his soup. He need not finish the whole pot to tell if it tastes good.

BF: What makes Kantar different from long established ratings companies?

GB: Kantar Media is just as experienced as other established research companies in the Philippines. TNS our more known sister company has been doing research in the Philippines for more than 30 years. Kantar Media on the other hand has a management team that has experience with audience and media research since 1995.

Having said that, our biggest difference is our technology called audio matching. It allows Kantar to track digital broadcast and report audiences watching via digital platforms. This segment is growing in the Philippines.

BF: How do you establish credibility in this business?

GB: A long track record of delivering on commitment is what makes one credible. Accurate and timely data over a long period establish credibility.

BF: Why should ad/media agencies and networks rely on Kantar?

GB: Kantar has the right tools, the experience and the commitment to provide the service required by the fast changing media environment. This is true both locally and globally. Modesty aside, Kantar Media has the most seasoned media research team in the country.

BF: How do you penetrate the remotest part of the Philippines to be able to conclude a reliable survey?

GB: It starts with out establishment survey. This study ensures that our sample is comprehensive and spread out (safety of researchers considered) to the remotest area in the Philippines.

BF: Is there any way that a research can be rigged?

GB: Research results can always be influenced by people who intends to do so. Researchers have the responsibility to prevent this from happening. Kantar Media has quality controls in place to monitor unusual viewing patterns and behavior.

BF: It is used to be AC Nielsen that marketers and ad agencies have dealt with in the past. What can you say now that Kantar is making headway?

GB: The past 2 years have been very exciting. From 2 major networks subscribing to the service, we now have more than a dozen paying networks, media agencies and cable content providers subscribing to Kantar data. PANA gets monthly ratings data from Kantar Media.

BF: What is the future of research business in the Philippines?

GB: The fast changing consumers and audiences in the Philippines will ensure a good future for research. They are fragmenting and are becoming more sophisticated. With this changes, research will develop more tools and methods to provide more accurate, timely and relevant insights to their subscribers.

Based on Kantar’s April 2013 data, ABS-CBN, the country’s largest and leading multimedia conglomerate, continues to dominate TV viewing across urban and rural homes nationwide with an average total day audience share of 42% or 12 points higher than GMA’s 30%.

ABS-CBN also ruled the hotly contested primetime block (6PM-12MN), with an average national audience share of 46% vs. GMA’s 29%.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


By Roger Pe
Philippine Daily Inquirer
May 16, 2014

When you get there, you get a better view of the advertising landscape and come down with a bagful of enlightenment.

True to its promise, organizers of Ad Summit delivered rock star speakers at the Subic Exhibition and Convention Center last May 7 to10. The topics indeed, rocked your senses and the reaction of audiences, always thunderous. Each one inspiringly lived up to expectations.

Each session was filled to the rafters. On hallways, coffeeshops, convention lounges, lunch and dinner halls, conversations always veered on “who delivered the most interesting topic for the day.”

And the most mentioned names? Philippine basketball coach to World Championship: Chot Reyes and JWT Regional President and China CEO: Tom Doctoroff.

In a gathering of brand experts, hard-to-please creative people and digital geeks, what’s basketball got to do with advertising? Plenty.

The advertising war has many similarities to basketball. If you listened closely to Reyes and got his the drift you would know that playing basketball is not just wearing a jersey and you shoot the ball. You need a strategy and more.

“You need trust, execution, accountability and motivation (TEAM),” Reyes said in his engaging storytelling.

Reyes drew a lot of criticisms when he picked Jimmy Alapag, the oldest and the shortest, a no-no if you’re aiming for the best in Asia and want to barge in to the world’s elite in basketball. But he dealt with them head-on and the rest is history.

“I chose Jimmy Alapag to be part of my team because I trust him. I know that when the situation calls for it, he will deliver,” Reyes said as he made a lot of people in the audience teary-eyed.

In his wonderful narrative delivered heartwarmingly, Reyes said: “The first foundation of teamwork is trust. The coach should trust his players and vice versa. In In business, people talk about return of investments. “We should talk about return of relationship,” Reyes said matter-of-factly.

Unknown to millions of Filipinos who watched the crucial Philippine-Korea game during the FIBA-Asia Championship, Reyes had a strategy worth retelling. The team had focus and went to the court with unwavering mindset: “Beat Korea”.

Using analogy to score advertising three-pointers, Reyes was uncovering a scientific coach in him, saying, no one is an accidental player and one has a role to play and need to follow a specific game plan.

In his speech, Reyes said the most touching part, the Mark Pingris “no-skills-and-cannot-shoot story.” He repeatedly said, “the guy cannot shoot” but quickly made the turnaround by saying: “… but he can hustle like no other. His calling card is effort.”

Players who have natural ability to work hard are the best players, according to Reyes. “The best players are those who are willing to play their roles. Effort beats God-given talent or educational background.”

“Mark Pingris cannot shoot but he can steal market share,” Reyes said. In the heart-stopping game against Korea, Alapag made the winning shot because Pingris blocked Alapag’s defender.

“You may be the best player in the team, but do you have the humility to allow another player to make a play?” Reyes related how Jason Castro, one of the country’s best players, allowed another player to take a shot.

In the dying minutes of the Philippines-Korea game, Reyes replaced Alapag with the team’s best defenders. “Alapag didn’t care even if he was the highest shooter at that time. It was because he knew how a team should work,” Reyes said.

“As head coach, my job is not to make a shot but to put my people in the right position to make a shot. Leaders are head coaches.”

Reyes’ was easily Day One’s best speaker.
Doctoroff on the other hand, ended the 4-day summit with a big bang. Undoubtedly, his presentation was the best, very well researched and beautifully art directed.

An expert in the greater China market, Doctoroff spiced up his speech with Mandarin, lectured with fire and thunder, a master preaching brand advocacy like the gospel.

If Reyes talked about ROR (return of relationship) Doctoroff spoke about ROI (return of involvement) in branding.

He shared how the Internet is making China the world’s biggest economy because it is now “more powerful than Buddhism.” The author of the book "What Chinese Want: Culture, Communism & The Modern Chinese Consumer" said, “the speed with which China's citizens have embraced all things digital is one sign that things are in motion in the country.”

Inspite of some glitches and short amount of preparation time, the Philippine 4A’s (Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies), through its President Norman Agatep, put on a great show. Ad Summit made a rousing start, triumphant in regaining its foothold on the country’s biggest ad festival. If only for that, people are already talking about the next.

“The Ad Summit is our own little version of Cannes and that’s good. I just hope they’ll make ghost ads scamper away,” one ad agency copywriter said.

“The next Ad Summit should have more rock star speakers, a plenary hall that can make you can see speakers from any vantage point, flawless shuttle bus service, blazing speed wifi, more tables and electricity plugs at the media room, generous sponsors, bigger loot bags, more interesting trade shows that offer new technology,” says a top agency head.

Lito “BoyP” Pangilinan, co-chair of Programs Committee says, “the industry is back together again.” Ways and Means co-chair Lito Yabut adds, “we were thought to be a crazy bunch to persist with it. It takes “puso” to make it run. I have been very privileged to be in the same company who share the same aspirations.”

No one could be happier than the person who determinedly pushed it to happen, and that is Matec Villanueva, Ad Summit chair who said it all: “We’re glad we got back what is rightfully ours.”

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


By Roger Pe

How many brands are there in the market across all product categories? Just going to a supermarket near you can be overwhelming.

Brands are all over us – on the road, when you go to a bank, beauty salon, stay in a hotel, frolic in a resort, dine out with the family, hangout with the gang in a coffee shop, cook dinner at home, enjoy a weekend trip or simply just by going to a barber shop.

From automobiles to banks, from household items to telecom services, from appliances to mobile phones, from beverages to fastfood, from soaps to apparel, the list is never ending.

Some people are brands, too. Celebrities, personalities, sport heroes, inventors, artists, professionals in different fields, people who have earned stripes for what they have achieved.

Even cities and nations are brands. When we think of a city that never sleeps, we think of New York. Paris comes to mind when we think of fashion and chic lifestyle. Samba and mardi gras? Most of us will think of Rio de Janeiro.

When we think about ancient civilizations, Greece and Italy come to mind. When we think about chocolates and watches we associate them with Switzerland. And without a doubt, Germany will be the first thing on our lips when we think about cars.

In his “What is Nation Brand?” article, marketing guru Simon Anholt, emphasized the importance of nation branding and wrote why nations should take control of its brand image in a highly competitive marketplace.

He said: “a national brand is national identity made tangible, robust and useful. It is without a doubt, the single most valuable item of intellectual property, which any nation can possess.”

According to Anholt, brands of countries reflect the kind of nation its marketing sectors are building. What kind of brands does our country market? Innovative, hygienic, exportable, can transcend borders, world-class? It would be good to ask that question to Philippine marketers, or better yet, the global arbiter and people who have the final say – the consumers.

Good, Better, SuperBrands

A great brand is like an athlete preparing for the Olympics. It does not plunge right into action when it is not ready. It spends years of hardwork and spartan training to meet definitive qualifying standards.

Great brands know their consumers.
“Their manufacturers usually invest in market research, understanding as much as they can about the human psyche and how to be as useful and relevant to their audiences,” says Karl Treacher in his “Ten Things Great Brands Do”.

Good brands know who they are and why they exist. A brand that doesn’t know its purpose is a disaster waiting to happen, Treacher says. “Those that become top brands consistently demonstrate their purpose and value through consumer experiences,” he adds.

Treacher also mentions that great brands are not different for the sake of being different. Everything they do has meaning and relate back to their core purpose, according to him.

A good brand doesn’t happen overnight. It takes good people with undying passion to make it perfect. In the Philippines, Ronald MascariƱas, President of Bounty Agro Ventures, Inc. is one such. He challenged the poultry industry and introduced a breakthrough product like Chooks-to-Go to be relevant. As a result, the brand today is holding its own against competition.

The brand of the future goes under market tests and painstaking research. It doesn’t settle for ‘the good enough’ until the desired results are met. If needed, a product must be reformulated for the demands of the market.

Chooks-To-Go challenged the conventional way of selling roasted chicken and offered the first-ever oven roasted chicken in the Philippines. It also challenged the traditional lechon manok with sauce by offering pre-marinated roasted chicken that is good even without the sauce.

All these efforts, plus a delivery service in Metro Manila, made Chooks-to-Go the dominant brand in the market. It was also the first to advertise heavily and is now introducing its first ever celebrity endorser, Richard Yap.

All over the world, great brands are not different for the sake of being different. Everything they do has meaning and relate back to their core purpose.

Which brings us to the elite segment, the SuperBrands and why marketing experts worldwide recognize them for their efforts in nation branding.

Superbrands, an independent global arbiter on branding recognizes the world's leading brands. It is not your typical dime-a-dozen award-giving body creeping out of the woodwork where one can buy it. It has awarded over 10,000 brands based on quantitative or qualitative truths over the past 18 years.

Together with selected industry experts and consumers, it defines what a SuperBrand is, based on the following stringent criteria: Market dominance, longevity, goodwill, customer loyalty and market acceptability.

The organization also publishes a series of brand-focused books in over 88 countries including the Philippines. Brands that are rated highly by its council and consumers are eligible for inclusion.

A little backgrounder: SuperBrands came to the Philippines in 1997, making the country the first in ASEAN to be honored with the expanse of its worldwide award seal. It was also a validation of the Philippine’s increasing reputation as makers of quality brands.

The first series of SuperBrand publications in the Philippines was launched in 1998. It featured over 200 models of flawless branding. Because of its improving economy and rise to the ASEAN community, the country caught the attention of Superbrands International Organization in 2010, thus assimilating the Filipino market into the network of key markets where Superbrands operates.

Today, SuperBrands is a confirmation of the position held by powerful international brands on the local market, as well as a celebration of Philippine brands that now participate in a universal circuit enjoying consumer confidence and preference over competing brands.

Philippine SuperBrands

The very best of Philippine brands are listed in the SuperBrand books, all from trusted companies with a heritage of creating quality products proudly made in the Philippines.

The latest to join the august list is Chooks-To-Go, a brand that has become popular among Filipino chicken lovers with its unique selling proposition of being “masarap kahit walang sauce!” - its main differentiator that has led to the overwhelming enthusiastic acceptance of consumers.

The brand offers ten (10) delicious chicken favorites: Sweet Roast, Pepper Roast, Fried Chooks, Juicy Liempo, Chooksie’s Dressed Chicken, Chooksie’s Chicken Cut-Ups, Chooksie’s Marinado, Chooksie’s Spicy Necks, Mickey and Disney Princesses Chicken Nuggets and Disney Chicken Hotdog.

One of the many surprising facts about Chooks-to-Go, aside from it being delicious even without the sauce, is that it is the only roasted chicken brand that offers two flavors– Sweet Roast and Pepper Roast. Aside from oven-roasted chicken, it also offers fresh chicken bought per kilo and fresh and marinated chicken cut-ups.

What is now known as Chooks-To-Go is a successful brand that emerged from a pilot-test in November 2007 with only ten roasted-chicken outlets in the Visayas (Central Philippines) and later embarked on a full-scale expansion by the second half of 2008, and finally sporting the Chooks-To-Go name a year after.

The new brand was officially launched nationwide with a tri-media campaign. By 2010, it gained market leadership with a network of more than 500 stores.

Fast forward, the brand has close to 1,000 stores all over the country today, enjoying word-of-mouth popularity from millions of satisfied consumers. Sales growth has been phenomenal, making it the dominant leader in its category.

With a trailblazing brand like Chooks-To-Go, the Philippines is strengthening its market maturity, proud nation of many world-class brands.