Bench barbers creativity

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Nanette Franco-Diyco

THE TWO digital films produced by TBWA\Santiago Mangada Puno that were launched last week are powerfully inspiring. These campaigns were perceived more as advocacies than Bench Barbers advertising. And so, their core message lingers and then you deduce that this must also be Bench Barbers’ credo. Good strategy here!

Bench barbers creativity

I was drawn to expand my knowledge of the billboard that I accidentally viewed over the weekend as my car was stalled for a full 15 minutes along the Magallanes interchange. It was a huge billboard, typical of all Bench billboards. But it was far different from all the featured movie stars displaying their varied contours and youthful figures.

First and foremost, I was struck by its formal headline, “Making people happy is an addictive feeling.” — Mark Bustos, International Hair Artist & Bench Clay Doh Ambassador. And there was this near close-up of Mark Bustos smiling in a casual long-sleeved shirt looking straight at you. (Bench Clay Doh is a product used for styling hair.).

Melvin Mangada, TBWA managing partner and chief creative officer, quadrupled my interest when he coaxed me to download their two films which TBWA produced precisely on the same topic.

Chino Jayme, TBWA creative director, revealed that Mark Bustos is a successful international hair artist based in New York. For years up to the present time, Mark has made it part of his life to devote some time to sharing his success as a hair artist with the poor and the downtrodden.

The introduction to one film reads. “Mark Bustos, a hairstylist based out of NYC, is known for his simple acts of kindness — giving free haircuts to those in need. On one of his trips back to his home country, the Philippines, he found hope in a place people never thought twice to look. The art of compassion can change the world.”

Mark visited Boystown, a correctional facility for abandoned and delinquent boys. The film showed him listening to the stories of the boys, which he confessed “really, really touched” him.

“No matter who he is, whether he’s a billionaire or a homeless individual living in the streets, we can all relate to a good haircut,” said Mark, who started cutting hair when he was 14.

The film was shot in black and white, which I found enhanced the drama of Boystown and the life stories of each. Chino revealed that TBWA did not prepare any script or storyboard — everything Mark said came from his own heart. And indeed, he has heart.

The second film is introduced with “When was the last time you saw awesome?” This film shows Mark Bustos giving a haircut in a regular barber shop. He and his customer exchange stories, Mark saying that he has been cutting hair since he was 14 — and he has been doing so for the past 18 years. The material also shows snippets of Mark cutting the hair of the homeless in various streets in New York City.

The man whose hair he was cutting in Bench Barbers, 2nd floor, Glorietta, looked nice, conversant about his love for playing the guitar and hiking and traveling. He confides that he once had a lot of dreams but all that was cut short.

“No matter who sits in my chair, the feeling of getting a haircut is a universal feeling — you get a feeling of confidence.” This second film showed a different challenge for Mark. Towards the end was the revelation that the man was James Ricafort, who has optic nerve blindness.

“We all have our own paths in life. Beauty lies everywhere. Just open your eyes and see it.

“Just to make people happy is an addictive feeling.”

The film ends with, “Sometimes, you don’t see awesome. You just feel it.”

I marveled over the sincerity projected in both films, specially after Chino Jayme’s information that they just shot the film as Mark said what was on his mind, without anybody coaching him or scripting his lines.

Congratulations to TBWA\SMP and Bench Barbers. It’s an ultra-creative way to advertise a barber shop!

Credits. Melvin Mangada, chief creative officer; Marci Reyes, executive creative director; Chino Jayme and John Ed de Vera; Dennis Claveria, associate creative director; Chino Jayme, Marci Reyes, Denise Oyog, copywriters; Dennis Claveria, John Ed de Vera, art directors; Portia Catuira, managing director; Paolo Broma, business unit director; Sam Sarinas, account manager. Production house, How’s Everything: Emily Batard, director; Sunny Lucero, Denise Jose, producers; Nolan Fabular, associate creative director; Kevin Gabon. Kiko de Dios, Vince de Belen, offline/online editors.

Nanette Franco-Diyco ended her 15th year advertising career as Vice-President of JWT, segueing into the world of academe, currently teaching communications at the Ateneo de Manila University.