Before the advent of banner ads and YouTube campaigns, TV was the main gateway for new brands to be known all over the country. In fact, even up to this day, television commercials (TVCs) hold an advantage over other forms of media in terms of audience reach and emotional appeal.
Here are a few classic (and mostly funny) Pinoy TV ads that catapulted some of today’s most recognized brands into fame.
Pop + machine
Back in the ’90s, Burger Machine tapped none other than the biggest band of the era, the Eraserheads, to become the face of the brand. Getting the ‘Heads to sing a very enticing “Tikman ang Langit” jingle no doubt made every Filipino want a bite of their no-frills burgers. The remaining legions of BM fans appear to have never forgetten the first time they heeded the call.
Long before Calvin Abueva endorsed Alaska Chocolate, the most resonant advertisement for the company had been its campaign in the ’70s where a little tisoy kid bested a towering black man at basketball. That’s probably where the term “alaskado” came from too.
It can’t be helped: Every time your tita’s manicurista pulls a bottle of Caronia out of her manicure kit, you instantly get a flashback of cringe-worthy choreography, an irresistibly catchy jingle, and horrible visual effects. But hey, Caronia owes much of its success now to that cheeky ’80s commercial. There’s a chance we’re all humming the same song in our heads now.
The benchmark of stardom
While the Lapu-Lapu statue in Manila may be the original “tall, dark, and handsome,” it was the Richard Gomez ad for a growing brand called Bench that put those characteristics to superstardom. Since then, the clothing line has become immensely popular, signing up every A-list celebrity to parade their threads on giant billboards.
Alcohol for all seasons
If you see renowned Filipino referee Sonny Padilla telling you to buy Family Rubbing Alcohol when you’re in the grocery, you might want to listen. After all, boxing matches have been playing this “Hindi lang pang-pamilya, pang-sports pa” ad for as long as we can remember. So be the good Pavlovian subject that you are and grab a bottle of this alcohol when you hear the bell ring.
The place that was
Before McDonald’s and Jollibee were able to hold their own forts, a number of fast food chains tried to challenge the throne. Cindys, arguably one of the most famous ones, made this commercial with…vampires, snakes, pink crocodiles, and people straight out of Tarzan. Sadly, the fast-food chain faded away together with the 20th century.
‘Lamok siguradong tepok’
Everything about this Dragon Katol commercial is hilariously adorable: the American setting, the western people trying to speak Filipino, and the actors slapping themselves in a futile effort to stop mosquitoes. While it did repel mosquitoes, it is safe to say it did otherwise with customers.
A little too different
Take one-part Bohemian Rhapsody, one-part creepy choir singing over ’80s beats, and one-part insane choreography and you’ll get Sarsi’s mind-boggling TV ad that dared people to be different: “Mag-Sarsi ka para maiba” being their battlecry. In an age where people follow trends like cutouts from magazines, this commercial was a true standout.
Long hair don’t care
Virgin coconut oil was big thing, and even the biggest beauty companies jumped the whole VCO bandwagon and added it to their products. While the trend didn’t last long, this Biolink VCO TVC that claimed to have used no camera tricks made the brand last longer in shelves, perhaps all because of the surprise twist they pulled in the end. –Dino Mari Testa