Ads & Ends — Nanette Franco-Diyco

UNIVERSAL ROBINA CORP. (URC) has long been identified as a pioneer and leader in the Philippine snacks category. One of the fairly recent and hugely popular snack brands is Mang Juan, with its many variants.

Filipino funniness with Mang Juan

The Mang Juan brand is obviously Filipino, emphasizing our addiction to local snacks such as chicken skin, crispy liempo, chicharon, kropek, and the like. URC Vice-President Patricia C. Go revealed that the URC snacks line has evolved into a key category, along with the corporation’s beverage and coffee brands. There is indeed no seasonality in consumers’ purchase of snacks.

The newest television commercial of Mang Juan is as Filipino as one can get, truly emphasized in the 30-seconder by creative agency Seven A.D. The commercial’s main character is Lourd de Veyra who, as a Palanca awardee, acts as the storyteller cum interpreter of the action erupting before the audience.

We Pinoys simply love to state and repeat what’s obvious. As though to prove this, it is acted out in a very casual comedic fashion. Director Jeorge Agcaoili is straightforward, keeps things fast-paced, and uses simple cuts from one character to another. The conversation is quick and easy to digest and laugh at.

De Veyra asks, fronting the camera: “Bakit tayong mga Pinoy, obvious na nga, sinasabi pa (Why do we Filipinos still state the obvious)?!” This is acted out immediately by two young men resting and chatting on a comfy sofa: “Sarap nitong Chicken Skin ni Mang Juan (This Mang Juan’s Chicken Skin tastes good)!” says one.

Answers the other, “Correct! Lasang (It tastes like) chicken skin!”

The story continues as one with his feet up exclaims, as the lights suddenly disappear: “Brownout!’ And of course, the other repeats: “Brownout!”!

In total darkness, every Filipino would apparently expect the appearance of a white lady! She appears out of nowhere, carrying a lighted candle. One deduces this is the guy’s sister coming down to rescue them from the darkness, complete with her night pack on her face and garbed in her white night gown.

Then, you hear breaking glass and a cat’s meow.

You might call it slapstick — but it’s still very Pinoy. And the audience still gets a kick out of it.

The lights come back, of course, and with the lights, Director Jeorge leaves the target market with a close-up of packs of Mang Juan variants.

I fully agree with the director that it’s craziness from beginning to end. The creative team used simple interactions as the spot’s simple approach. Contrasts in lighting helped dramatize the deliberately silly Pinoy traits, poking fun. It’s still fun and entertaining and effectively sells Mang Juan!

Good collaborative efforts of client URC, agency Seven A.D., and production house Provill, all giving the brand the proper lilt and identification with Pinoy fun.

Credits. Client-company, URC Jack ‘n Jill Mang Juan. Patricia Go, vice-president for advertising and marketing services; Ed Canta, senior vice-president and business unit general manager; Teree Eugenio, vice-president marketing — snacks; Anj Dantes, category head, snacks 1; Checos Venegas, brand manager; and Christine Ticatic, assistant brand manager.

Creative agency, Seven A.D. : Tey San Diego, chief operations officer; Denise Amora, account director; and Paolla Sy, account manager. Creatives: Teeny Gonzales, chief executive officer; Russell Molina, executive creative director; Maki Correa, deputy executive creative director; Julio Malantic, associate creative director; Randy Mutuc, copywriter; and Alex Gozum, junior art director.

Production house, Provill: Franny Ocampo, executive producer, Jeorge Agcaoili, director.

Slingshot Producers, Slingshot: Steve Vesagas and Miguel Dela Peña.

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.