The enduring romance of Closeup

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Nanette Franco-Diyco

I LIKE THE newly launched Closeup television commercial that captures that feeling of innocent love at first sight. Historically, Closeup has been associated with budding romance and closeness among the young.

The enduring romance of Closeup

I distinctly remember years of Closeup commercials with groups of young people getting to know each other. Before the end of the commercial, we see love blooming between two in the group. The commercial would then zero in on the two prospective lovebirds. And, always, it would end with the two in a near kiss, interrupted by the entrance of the rest of the barkadas.

This segued to similar approaches, discarding the build-up with the barkada, zeroing in on two people discovering fast attraction for each other, and always featuring closeness that communicates, of course, the importance of fresh breath. After all, Closeup’s strength from the beginning was the combination of clean white teeth and fresh breath.

The brand new material, produced by MullenLowe Philippines for Unilever, brings back the simple innocence of young love at first sight. Bring in the elements of a surprise encounter, a sudden rain, and the dependable opportunity for closeness from the offer to share-my-umbrella-to-protect-you-from-the-rain. And voila, you have a sure-fire magical commercial like this one.

There is also an iconic love song turned classic love tune, “Just a Smile” by Barbie Almalbis, now rendered by Up Dharma Down. This accompanies in lilting fashion all the nonverbal romantic communication between new young TV stars Janella Salvador and Elmo Magalona. One might interpret that the song verbalizes each and every look of discovery.

It’s analogous to what one can call the flow in a piece of effective ad material: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action! Elmo Magalona enters one of those Uber pool cars, sits in front. Right off, he sees Janella Salvador seated alone at the back of the car. The girl also looks at him. Call that the attention stage.

As the car roars to its destination, director Richard Ang, via good camera movements, shoots beautiful close-ups of the two furtively looking at each other, eyes expressing undeniable interest and desire to get to know each other.

Congratulations to the creative team for choosing a ridesharing service for the modern unique buildup of romance. The boy now alights. The two look at each other as they part ways. Can’t be helped.

Suddenly, nature helps — and we see rain pouring outside. Then follows Action!

Janella is quick to grab her umbrella and she runs to thoughtfully protect Elmo from getting drenched. Here, of course, they share what we have long identified as the Closeup moment. “Kilig moment” is the phrase used to describe the climax of the material. Not a word is uttered — just a great, so natural opportunity to get ever so close, looking at each other’s eyes. Who says there’s any need for words?!

The commercial carries effortlessly the basics of good advertising: Simplicity — it’s short and sweet. Clarity in exquisite visuals and audio. Abruption in the magic moment under the umbrella amid pouring rains. Relevance — hitting its target market with a wallop.

Take a graceful bow, MullenLowe Philippines and Unilever, for one great collaboration.

Credits. Client-company, Unilever Philippines: Gina Lorenzana, VP Personal Care; Nell Trinidad and Cara Favila, marketing directors, Oral Care; Raiza Revilla and Jam Munasque, brand managers, Oral Care; Carla Garcia, asst. brand manager, Oral Care; Apples Aberin, head of PR. Creative agency, MullenLowe Philippines: Leigh Reyes, president and chief creative officer; Alan Fontanilla, managing director; Abi Aquino, executive creative director; Roman Olivarez, creative director; Iya Parungao, art director; Min Roldan, copywriter; Gerald Lim, account director; April Anne Garcia, senior account director; Leo Mercado, broadcast producer; Ian Basa, talent caster. Production house, PROVILL. Richard Ang, director. Audio Production house, Sound Design.

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.