Saturday, September 20, 2008


missingpoints classic: Promotions
07 January 2003

The Inquirer's Nestor Torre ran an article commenting on recent commercials that were deemed by readers as offensive, improper, or just plain stupid. One such commercial (promoting a shampoo) had a guy who was about to leave for abroad. He proposed to his girlfriend after feeling her soft shiny hair. Talk about your non-sequiturs.

The same brand (I think) ran the ad where the girl was able to land a newscasting job because of beautiful hair. Like a joke that is half-meant, it may give us some insight as to the state of newscasting in Philippine television, but it fails to give viewers a compelling reason to buy the product.

Commercial spots used to expound the qualities of a product and focused on Rosser Reeves' USP (Unique Selling Proposition). Newer ads sought to convey an image (based on the positioning strategy) through appropriate scenes, situations and music. Now it seems they do neither.

Over dinner my father lamented that people do not learn anything from commercials nowadays, unlike (according to him) back in the 70s. Thankfully, this did not unleash (as it often does) a nostalgia trip for my parents but instead led to a discussion of the nostalgia trip they call promotions for the Dekada 70 movie.

We all agreed that it was terrible.

Which was not what we expected from the supposedly intelligent people of ABS-CBN whose motto is "karangalan namin ang maglingkod sa inyo." If they're proud of what they're doing, then I guess their standards are pretty low. (Perhaps because they got their jobs on account of their soft, shiny hair?)

The promo was pretty standard, with the people involved in the production being given guest spots in most ABS-CBN programs. What was irritating was the lack of coherence, nay intelligence in the promo. While the film was touted to be the most "socially relevant" of the lot, this was not evident in the interviews given by the leads.

In "Morning Girls," for example, the actors were asked to describe life in the 70s. While this was alright for Vilma Santos and Boyet de Leon, the kids were clueless. Marvin Agustin (born in the early 80s) was even asked how students were back then (he probably has no idea how students are today). While I've absolutely no respect for the interviewing talents of the morning girls, I was expecting a better question from the promoters who presumably feed them lines.

What happened was instead of promoting the picture as a great piece of literature turned into a supposedly great film, Star Cinema ended up promoting the 70s as an era in Philippine history. And not an important era at that.

The entire Martial Law / Activism / Uncertainty groove that permeated the film was trivialized by 70s dances and fashion featured on MTB. Even their exhibit at the Galleria cinemas was all about nostalgia (Ate Vi posters, jukeboxes, old records, etc.).

Of course the film won awards and made money. Which was what the producers expected. Like the shampoo, it was able to sell a fairly decent product. However, that still doesn't make the promotion any less ridiculuous.

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