MANULIFE CHINA BANK Life Assurance Corp. (MCBL) has named actor Richard Edison Yap the first ambassador of the joint venture between Manulife Philippines and China Banking Corp.
Mr. Yap has been an endorser for Manulife Philippines for three years now.
“We have a longstanding relationship with him — he’s also a China Bank client — so it just seemed to be perfect,” Melissa L. Henson, chief marketing officer of Manulife Philippines, told BusinessWorld during the April 14 launch event at New World Hotel in Makati.
Ms. Henson added that Mr. Yap is “very similar to our customers” with his being a family man and a businessman: Mr. Yap put up a Chinese restaurant, Wang Fu Chinese Bistro, in 2013 with partners Lester Pimentel Ong and Ace Wang. The restaurant has three branches, with plans to open more within the year, Mr. Yap announced during the launch.
The actor/businessman likewise opened a Filipino restaurant, Luna J. Filipino Gastropub, in Quezon City in 2014.
MCBL was formed in 2007 with the purpose of providing China Bank customers “with exclusive insurance and investment solution to address their financial needs.” This partnership was reaffirmed in 2014 when China Bank increased its equity stake in MCBL to 40%.
“It’s something that we have been thinking and considering for a while now… We just felt that it was time, especially since the partnership… and China Bank increased their stake in our company. It seemed to be the most opportune time,” Ms. Henson said of Mr. Yap’s being the first endorser.
Unlike the Manulife marketing strategy where Mr. Yap appeared in several commercials promoting the importance of saving for the future, his MCBL stint will entail even more personal participation, to heighten the awareness of the brand and its products.
“The campaign is a little different for MCBL: it’s more on-ground and more closely linked with our network and our customers. So, we’d like to be able to bring him around so he can meet some of the clients,” Ms. Henson said, adding, “MCBL primarily serves China Bank and China Bank Savings customers.”
While she did not reveal how long the endorsement will last, she said that they “would like to have him as long as we can”.
Ms. Henson said that for now, MCBL’s only endorser will only be Mr. Yap. Thus, the other Manulife endorser, singer/actress Sarah Geronimo, will not yet be tapped. — Zsarlene B. Chua