Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ano Sa Tingin Mo? (Perspectives from the 21st Philippine Ad Congress)

The TVC for the 21st Philippine Ad Congress (Nov. 18 to 21, 2009 in Subic)  features 4 perspectives of the same story as viewed by the 4 different characters: The Magician, The Assistant, The Stagehand and The Date. Then, a tragic and mysterious death. Of course,  the question is asked: Ano sa tingin mo?

Watch the 4 TV commercials by clicking the picture...Then be sure to watch all 4 commericals of the Magician, the Assistant, the Stagehand and the Date by clicking on the other pictures on the right side of the viewing screen.
One of the repeated challenges for marketing in general, and advertising in particular is to be able to foresee and balance the different perspectives of every stakeholder, for there are many. You have the client company who pays for the ad production and airing, and their primary target market who they wish to communicate to. You also have the general public and the government who are not the intended receivers but are able to receive the communication anyway. You have the ad agency and production houses who create, design and execute the ad. Who comes first? Better yet, who comes last in the priorities? What do you think or ano sa tingin mo as the 21st Philippine Advertising Congress asks us to think.

There have been instances in the past when a critically acclaimed ad which won awards did not support the business results that the advertiser intended to have. Or ads which were really good and got the audience impact from its target audience but were vilified by a sector of the general public who just don’t understand or who have their own selfish interests to promote. Or an ad that was so downright disgustingly uncreative and bakya but left a lasting imprint on the consumer’s awareness.

The perspectives issue applies not only to advertising but to everyday life as well. For the victims of Ondoy, whose perspective should they believe more? The NDCC’s or the dam administrators’ or the PAGASA’s or their mayor’s fingers pointing to somebody else? To a victim, or more appropriately, to each survivor, does it really matter? All they will feel from now own is the cumulative effect of each view that left them with a life less whole than before the many daggers thrust into them without their knowledge and consent.

One story will always have different perspectives. Every perspective is important, some angles more than others, depending on the timing and occasion. Our role is to try to see all and then make the decision. What do you think?

Did You Know?

This video reminds me of Philip Kotter's contention that the 21st century is being shaped by globalization, technology and deregulation. I call it Converging Divergence. Do find out why...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Learn Marketing Strategy from TV commercials

A TV commercial represents the execution of a strategic marketing plan in as little as 15 seconds. Each detail is carefully planned and supports the brand image and unique selling proposition that a company wants to communicate to its audience. There is great value in reverse-engineering a commerial and discovering who the primary target market is and what needs, wants and demands are important to them, what is the product positioning and how it is supported by the marketing mix (price, product, promo, place) in the context of what competition is doing in that particular industry.

Here are select commercials used to promote persons, products, services, ideas and institutions.  Click on the Digital Video Library link on the right column of this blog or go to

Sunday, November 8, 2009

All About Steve, Life Is Not..

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Thomas Haden Church, Bradley Cooper
Movie rating: 5 stars (funny and entertaining)
Insights on Life rating : 5 stars (bullseye on crossword puzzles and empty spaces)

Life makes it hard for anybody who exceeds the boundaries of what society considers normal- too short, too tall, too heavy, too thin, too dumb, too dependent to be living with parents, too old not to be in a romantic relationship, too talkative, too smart. And so Mary (Sandra Bullock), who has the last 4 “toos” is being pushed around by people who supposedly care about her, like her boss, and her parents, back into where she should be, like everyone else. If she remains outside society’s white picket fence, she will continue to be laughed at, ridiculed even by children she tries to inspire. Unless she finds a solution quick, Mary knows that she will be trapped to her familiar life of lonely misery.

So what is the solution? In the movie, the instant answer is represented by Steve (Bradley Cooper). The ideal, normal gentleman who is good looking, funny, decent, employed and available. Steve on a blind date which Mary almost cancels, but does not. Certainly, this is it!

And what does Mary do when Steve comes along? Drop everything she believes in and attempt to finally solve the totality of life’s complex problems with one wrestler’s embrace. If “the one” solution runs away, then chase after it like there’s no tomorrow, even through tornadoes and across unfamiliar environments. Oh, and rationalize every little thing that happens as additional proofs which are part of the greater conspiracy of fate. Life suddenly becomes all about Steve.

Along the journey, life makes it as interesting as the evening telenovela by throwing in wolves in sheep’s clothing that give Mary advise that she wants to hear but really sidetracks her in a not-so-merry-go-round. Just to even things out, as she hitchhikes and gets abandoned through the confusion, she unexpectedly finds true friends too. While they are society’s outcasts like Mary, with interests in red boots and carved apples, they prove to be the only companions when all seems lost.

Mary is a great constructor of crossword puzzles. The job description requires that she knows how to spell and give meanings and clues that every normal human being can understand. And yet, she is too intelligent to speak with one on one for any prolonged period. Don’t dare misspell even on your rescue note as she cant help but correct you. And yes, Mary is too talkative even for a deaf girl. Later on she realizes that her passion to create the puzzles is her way of silently connecting to people who answer the artificially created problem. What in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs does a puzzle satisfy? The need to fill in empty spaces in our lives with answers in ink, not in pencil, and in full, not left half-answered.

While life is not fair, fortunately, this unfairness does not apply all the time. Not to Mary. And not to us. For some strange twist of fate, we find ourselves falling into dark spaces or jumping with no ropes into situations that allow our true character to surface and help us survive. In these defining moments, our abnormalities : too smart, too narcissistic, too ambitious, too deaf and too lonely, suddenly become assets instead of liabilities. Instead of being curses, these become life’s blessings.

If you don’t know it yet, we are all like Mary constantly searching for our Steve. Like the proverbial cat which kept on chasing its tail in circles, thinking that the tail represents happiness, we can only reach true happiness once we stop . And yet, all about Steve, life is not. Life really is all about Mary. Life is not a question to be answered, not a puzzle to be constructed or completely solved, not a mystery that needs understanding. What is life then? Hopefully, I will just be as lucky as Mary, and let life reveal itself to me. And just like a Chinese proverb, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Thanks Steve.
- Bong De Ungria  (also posted  in