Ads & Ends
Before the long Holy Week holiday of descended on us, I sadistically instructed the 49 students in my advertising class at the Ateneo to go around the metropolis and photograph what billboards truly stood out as the most striking and appealing to each of them. At the very beginning of the semester, they had been grouped into six workshop teams named after advertising agencies, and had been competing with one another and pitching for ad jobs “here and there and everywhere.”
This assignment was part of their Out-of-Home advertising pitch. These “admen” from the Ateneo are 19 to 21 years of age, mostly belonging to the AB and upper C socioeconomic levels, are independent thinkers, and have a real zest for life and leisure.
They were not told to zero in on seasonal advertising, but all the groups embraced fun and the celebration of summer as most actionable to them. In their presentations and defense, a common denominator was their quick and easy identification with the products on the billboards. All of the brands were familiar to them, some of which were the very brands they use.
All their choices had good advertising concepts, all of which trumpeted their unique brand personalities with creative madness.
It was noteworthy that the billboard size was not a supreme enticement for them. There are the super-humongous Pepsi-Cola and Pantene billboards right in front of the university campus and along EDSA respectively, that are unspeakably attention-getting.
As a matter of fact, the Shell “Recharge This Summer” billboard was medium-sized compared to all the other five choices. But the billboard’s unique visuals and creative materials — used to depict a couple of coconut trees sandwiching a family of three literally walking their mini-car onto the beach Shell gas station — was great!
Chickenjoy has two billboards beside each other right before your vehicle enters an EDSA tunnel. Absolutely great location for a billboard! One billboard had what appears to be a regular movie ad, spoofing an old Sharon Cuneta movie, Crying Women No More. And right beside this movie (tagged as “Not Showing”) is the second billboard featuring a bucket of Chickenjoy — the reason why the three women are no longer crying! Chuckle-baiting and clever!
Then we have giant yellow bees swarming and carrying this billboard of San Miguel flavored beer which is trumpeted as “The Seriously Fun Beer.” Except for the bees lifting the billboard so the whole billboard TILTS and seems to be in danger of falling, one might categorize this ad as nearly hardsell but it surely communicated to its target market!
The EO Executive Optical billboard zeroed in on the beach again. We see this man tattooing another man’s back, with the words “I love Ruby” as his visual pattern, but he tattoos “I love Rudy” instead. Clearly, you are urged to visit EO to have your eyes checked. This is part and parcel of EO’s campaign series that continues to embrace humor, this time appealing to the young and mildly wild beachcombers.
Celebrity endorser Luis Manzano does a yeoman’s job, carrying a huge vertical billboard of Shakey’s special premium offering of its scallops pizza. Mouth-watering with great appetite appeal, worded “premium and special” for the summer.
Last but not least is the Bounty Fresh billboard which takes off from the giant white hen roaming around the EDSA frontiers during the entire school year. Call it synergy and, again, uniqueness in billboard design which captivates its audience.
Let us stress that while billboards may have generally been categorized as part of nontraditional media, our problematic traffic situation has given birth to outdoor companies’ turning a disadvantage into an advantage. Billboards are now as traditional as you can get. And to their credit, they now are able to lift you out of the doldrums of sitting bored stiff in traffic.
Credits. Research advertising teams headed by: Matthew James Mendiola, Arianna Gabrielle Faustino, Danielle Marie Lambo, Nicola Andrea Roxas, Lorenzo Raymund Pastor, Karlo Crisanto Lovenia
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.