Manulife weds creativity and marketing

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Nanette Franco-Diyco

THERE ARE three new Manulife ad films on Facebook and YouTube. Each involves and captivates the viewer in such different creative ways that you just have to pause and catch your breath. And view them all over again.

Manulife weds creativity and marketing

The thrilling triad of materials had the full collaboration of client, Manulife; agency, J. Walter Thompson; and production houses, Film Pabrika and Hit Productions. The common denominator was the tag “Find someone who’ll always stand by your side.” This was the end tag found in the last frame, done in the smallest of fonts just before the appearance of the logo of Manulife. The life stories in each of the Manulife ads simply dramatized that end tag. There were no hard-sell pronouncements on the importance of insurance — no, nothing whatsoever.

But uncannily, you somehow link Manulife to someone who’ll always stand by your side. Call it elegance. And more importantly, it was oh-so-appropriate for the category.

I am featuring the first of these launches because I thought it required some amount of courage to go against the sentimentality of all ads that were running during the Mother’s Day period. It paid off: the employed humor, cleverness, and outpouring of wit made the film stand way above the clutter.

On YouTube, the material, nearly three minutes long, was capsulized by J. Walter Thompson in one line: “Sometimes, you just need to find someone who will believe in you, so you can have the courage to fulfill your dreams. #Manulife110.”

In real life, Victor Anastasio is a standup comedian, part of a group called Comedy Manila. And it was one good creative decision to simply get him to face the cameras and do what he’s known for: standup comedy! The precious icing on the cake was JWT’s selection of Anastacio’s own professional life, climbing to where he is now, revealing the innards of his very own family life.

“Jokes were loosely based on his life but not fully accurate to make the jokes even funnier. In real life, his mom was also very supportive,” JWT executive creative director Brandie Tan was quick to inform me.

I liked the equally humorous flashes to his past, making fun of his chosen career in all humility versus the elitist projection of his brother and sister’s professions. Director Lyle Sacris’ transition from black-and-whites to full-color shots, while maintaining just the right pace for the viewers to appreciate the comedian’s jokes while following his life in the real world all served well for clarity and credibility.

All three newly launched advertising campaigns of Manulife commendably fall under the creative umbrella of values advertising. On top of that, they are all beautiful commercials. While this first advertisement entertains, the other two are able to touch the viewers’ hearts with a great script, music and visuals. This is where creativity partners with marketing effectiveness.

Credits. J. Walter Thompson: Creative agency; Dave Ferrer: Chief Creative Officer; Brandie Tan: Exec Creative Director; Javey Villones: Creative Director/Art Director; Boyet Custodio: Associate Creative Director; Albert Millar: Copywriter; Golda Roldan: Managing Director; Pao Acosta: Client Service Director; Pat Cui: Senior Account Manager; Pam Garcia: Exec Strat Planning Director; Iya Forbes: Strat Planner. Jeng Floresca: Producer; Film Pabrika: Production house; Lyle Sacris: Director; Marivic San Juan: Exec Producer; Jing Lopez: Exec Producer; Cheska Ramos: Line Producer; Berhil Cruz: DOP; Debbie Villanueva: Production Designer; Musse Cruz: Colorist; Liza Apuyan: Production Manager; Charmaine Betudio: Caster; Victor Anastacio: Lead Talent; Arnold Buena: Composer/Hit Productions; Reggie Ambas: Sound Engineer/Hit Productions.

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.