Lucky Me’s Korean-spicy profile

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By Nanette Franco-Diyco

MY FAMILY went on a food trip to Pampanga and noticed how practically a whole barrio had specially opened its doors to Koreans. Signages were filled with greetings and come-ons particularly targeting the multitude of Koreans who have chosen to live within and nearby the area. Mind you, I am not only referring to restaurants galore. There are whole subdivisions that have successfully lured whole Korean communities. There were Korean schools for the very young, parallel to Manila’s pre-schools. We also noticed a few schools that offered to teach English to Korean businessmen. Come to think of it, I remember that several years ago, Ateneo University gave special English courses to Korean doctors.

One need not go far to notice the mushrooming of many Korean restaurants in malls and in the metropolis. Using this as my springboard, I am thrilled about how Lucky Me has leveraged on its distinct Korean-spicy profile that has won the hearts and stomachs of Filipinos and Koreans.

The new Lucky Me 30-second television commercial features its popular Supreme Jjamppong, an authentic Korean noodle soup with distinct spiciness. The humor injected by its advertising agency, Publicis JimenezBasic, is rib-tickling. But more than that, the marketing men should glow over how the humor, tonality and over-all look of the commercial were able to concentrate on Supreme Jjamppong’s precise product-sell.

The commercial is shot in one of those mini-marts/convenience stores found in the ground floor of the tallest buildings in Makati, Ortigas and Eastwood. The cashier behind the counter asks the Korean who just enters the mart, Anong sa ‘yo? which means “What will you have?”.

Guess what! Annyeonghaseyo means Hello in Korean. And uncannily, it is pronounced in exactly the same way as Anong sa ‘yo! So the Korean thinks that the cashier is saying Hello. The cashier also does not understand that the Korean is saying Hello! This funny interchange goes on repeatedly. Great build-up towards the commercial’s key message, Anghang Korean, anghang sarap!

And finally, we see the Koreans enjoying their noodle soup cups to the hilt, having bought Lucky Me’s Jjamppong. All the talents in the commercial are Korean nationals, except for the cashier and the bystander in the convenience store. The male Korean talent is the only one fluent in English. I am told that he had to help the director, Stephen Ngo, in translating the instructions for the other Korean talents. Considering that Director Stephen is well known for his meticulous eye for detail, this production must have truly required untold collaboration among client, agency, and production house.

The costumes of the talents were inspired by Korean culture, i.e. Korean national costume and K-Pop celebrities.

I noticed the many variants of Lucky Me that highlight spiciness. Publicis account director Rina Marfori-Custodio, apart from sharing with me the innards of production, provided me with the complete listing: Supreme: Jjamppong, Spicy Bulalo; Lucky Me! Pancit Canton: Chilimansi, Extra Hot Chili; and Lucky Me! Spicy Labuyo Mami: Spicy Pork, Spicy Chicken and Spicy Beef. Congratulations to the Lucky Me clients who saw the opportunity to ride on the spicy food trend. Call it an intimate knowledge of the target market.

Take a bow, Monde Nissin, Publicis JimBasic and Film Pabrika. This is a good marriage of creativity and marketing effectiveness.

Credits. Client: Monde Nissin Corporation: Ruffy Tiam-Lee, Vice-President for Sales and Marketing; Vivien Dizon, Marketing Manager; Enzo Jabeguero, Brand Manager.

Ad Agency: Publicis JimenezBasic. Creatives: Trixie Diyco, Executive Creative Director; Lec Flores, Creative Group Head; Jp Cuison, Associate Creative Director; Niño Gupana, Associate Creative Director; Janry Cua, Copywriter. Accounts: Katie Santos, Executive Officer; Beng Alcazaren, Group Account Director; Weng Gidwani, Group Account Director; Rina Custodio, Account Director.

Production house: Film Pabrika/Sound Design. Joanne Bautista, Producer; Stephen Ngo, Director; AnaFe Manuel, Executive Producer; Christine Blando, Acting Director; Leslie Garchitorena, Director for Photography; Eugene Raymundo,Food Stylist; Adelina Leung, Production Design; Jen Delica, Make-Up; Owen Mariano, Caster; Lemon Atencio, Production Manager.

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.