Effective humor behind a serious product

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Ads & Ends
Nanette Franco-Diyco

I HAVE BEEN noticing a few teaser ads on television that entice the viewer to follow the story on social media. Quite predictably, what’s left to see would be the hard-sell pitch for the viewer whose attention the TV teaser ad has captured. It’s a good media strategy, luring more of the target market to pay attention to a whole new much longer ad material.

Effective humor behind a serious product

Unilab and creative agency Publicis Jimenez Basic did just this for their newest commercial for Diatabs.

I followed the teaser on YouTube and was further made curious with its intro caption, “Lalaking nagka-LBM, nabilanggo habambuhay? (A man experiences LBM, imprisoned for life?).”

From the onset of the commercial, the viewer is fully awakened and gets prepared for more than a chuckle. The opening frame has this man named Boyet dressed as a bandit in front of a mirror as he dons his black mask to complete his costume. The narrator intones that the man is about to go to a costume party. Satisfied with how he looks, he announces his taking a selfie before he goes.

Publicis client service director Carol Fadri identified the talent as Mikey Bustos who is well known in social media for his musical parody videos. He is a Canadian-Filipino comedian, carrying the Diatabs story as well as he excels in his rib-tickling internet Filipino tutorials and parodies.

In his Diatabs ad, we see him commuting via a UV Express vehicle. On his way to the costume party, he feels “a sudden attack.” The narrator describes it well as Boyet is shown hurriedly leaving his ride to run to the nearest “fast food CR.” Lo and behold, he finds a long line of people also waiting to get into the comfort room!

Thus, the writer is able to communicate Boyet’s desperation to find some place for his diarrhea. The story gets really funny when Boyet enters the next possible CR that happens to be inside a bank.

His full costume of course frightens the tellers to mistake Boyet for a real-life bank robber. Director Jason Tan, from the already frenetic scenes, cleverly brings in a TV crew! Boyet’s misadventure is now being shot by newscasters and cameramen! Nice reangling of the story, well up to the entry of the policemen to his arrest. Some more comic intermission is injected as Director Jason gets the wife of Boyet carrying their bundle of joy asks on TV what on earth Boyet is up to again! The TV cameras switch coverage to the city prison where Boyet joins the other prisoners inside the cell. Fast paced and funny all throughout.

The viewer is brought back to the vehicle where Boyet was riding enroute to the costume party. Here, the writer makes the viewer realize that Boyet had fallen asleep in the vehicle and had just dreamt the whole sordid sequence.

Good sequencing here: Time now to dish out the selling message. What’s good is that the humor is still retained: “Bago masintensya ng diarrhea ang buhay mo, mabilis control Diatabs!” (Before your life is sentenced with diarrhea, get fast-control Diatabs!). The viewer is able to effectively receive the all-important selling message with a hearty smile.

It’s a totally different creative approach which I find even more appropriate for the category. An interesting add-on to the ad: Publicis expanded it to an interactive promotional campaign where the viewers are encouraged to communicate to them their own diarrhea story, hashtag and all. Let’s hope Mikey Bustos gets to be Mr. Diatabs, parallel to John Lloyd’s long running successful identification with Biogesic.

Take a good low bow, Unilab and Publicis JimBasic! We need a good laugh now and then as we find ourselves in life’s small and big battles!

Credits. Client-company, Unilab: Alex Panlilio, vice-president, Unilab Consumer Health; Ida Fulo, category head; Rachel Gamboa, segment head, GIT; Mariel Alfonso, assistant product manager, Diatabs. Creative agency, Publicis Jimenez Basic: Account management: Carol Fadri, client service director; Ria Dhutti, group account director; Macy Kamus, account supervisor. Creative: Trixie Diyco, executive creative director; Ryan Rubillar, creative director; JP Cuison, associate creative director. Production team: Aldous Pagaduan, producer; Jason Tan, director; Go Motion, production house.

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