ADS & Ends
Nanette Franco-Diyco

EVERY YEAR, as we celebrate All Saints Day, one of my best friends has their maids begin distributing a cup of steaming hot coffee and biscuits to anyone and everyone who happens to walk past their gate. The maids keep a tight, unalterable schedule of distribution: from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. each morning of November, until the eve of the Christmas novena masses. This tradition, I am told, simply spells “a little sharing of the warmth of Christmas to the walkers.”

The so-called walkers include street cleaners, pushcarts oftentimes loaded with whole families, laborers digging the streets on the other side of the barangay, garbage collectors, newspaper boys and other ambulant vendors, sidewalk vendors on their way to work, security guards from nearby subdivisions, labanderas, and all sorts of sukis in the neighborhood and beyond.

This has touched my heart as this is done without a single bit of ceremony or fanfare. It was by sheer accident that I discovered this practice as I dropped by my friend’s house a few years ago, unannounced, to return a book before my family was to drive for an out-of-town vacation.

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I guess it’s the very same feeling of kurot sa puso (pinch at the heart) that makes me appreciate the newly launched Christmas commercial of Selecta, produced by Lowe Philippines. The 30-seconder opens with a family decorating the house for a Christmas party. The opening frames show a lot of Christmas tinsel, crystals, chinaware, and special dinnerware.

Of course you immediately recognize the deliciously happy husband-and-wife team of Carmina Villaroel and Zoren Legaspi, who are later joined by their children, Maverick and Cassandra, in the tizzy of preparations. (Wow, the twins have grown leaps and bounds — they appear to be way past the grade schoolers they were in the not too distant past)!

Voila, you sense that this must be part of the continuing long-time series of Selecta commercials that always feature this wholesome family trumpeting, Ang sarap ng weekend! (What a delicious weekend)!

Veteran director Jun Reyes, known for his meticulous eye for detail, hand-held the actors and the actresses through the maze of party trinkets. The set designer managed to feature “good-looking chaos.” The pacing of the commercial is good. The household helpers, each of them busy with hectic preparations for a party, comment that there must be special guests coming.

Good timing here, signalling the entry and close-ups of the attractive new colorful flavors of Selecta ice cream for Christmas. The script effectively raises the expectation of the viewers, with the myriad of Selecta Christmas flavors stealing the show as we concentrate on a well presented product window.

Then, comes the delectable twist. The family reveals to the mga kasambahay (household helpers) that there are no special guests: the party is hosted by the family exclusively for them.

The next scenes show everyone enjoying the dinner fare. The leader of the helpers delivers his thank you message to the family. Zoren promptly counters with his heartfelt declaration that this is the family’s thank you for each of them.

Beautiful script, trumpeting a beautiful message of gratitude that we often forget, directed to the people who work for us and help us in our everyday living! Nina Cruz Zialcita, Lowe business unit director, emphasized the commercial’s core values: “Christmas should be celebrated with family, and that family isn’t just blood relatives but our extended family — those who live with us and help us in our daily lives. Of course, Selecta Supreme Ice Cream makes this celebration more meaningful and special.”

Credits: Client-company, Unilever-RFM. John Concepcion, CEO and managing director; Bindoy Baltazar, marketing director; Earl Keh, brand manager; Gillian Choo and Pat Mallari, assistant brand managers.

Advertising agency, Lowe Philippines. Creatives: Rene Dominguez, creative director; Karla Torricier and Hannah Portugal, copywriters; Jenny Abad Santos, producer. Account management: Nina Cruz Zialcita, business unit director; Trina Nadela, account director; Boo Umaly, account manager. Strategic planner: Viboy Palillo.

Production house, Indie.Go. Jun Reyes, director; Cecile Cruz Guidote, executive producer.

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.

nanettediyco131@gmail.com