Ads & Ends
Nanette Franco-Diyco

WHAT DO YOU do, what do you say, how do you react when someone greets you with such familiarity and enthusiasm while your mind remains a total blank as to who the person is?

This is beautifully captured in the newly launched 30-second TV commercial of Nescafé Latte. You are so entertained by the flustered Toni Gonzaga, trying so hard to stall as she mentally digs up the name of her long-lost, forgotten friend, played by theater actor Ina Fabregas.

The commercial begins in a garden setting of a favorite restaurant in the metropolis. Tony Gonzaga sits by her lonesome enjoying being alone while she fully enjoys sipping a steaming drink. It’s bright and sunny, the garden nestled among tall commercial buildings. Call it part of her comfort zone. We deduce that Toni is a career girl, taking a quiet break.

Out of the blue, literally bursting into the scene, is Ina. Enter frame, the commercial’s unflappable Ina Fabregas. Quiet ends, and the humdrum of everyday evaporates. We hear and see a vibrant Ina so happy and excited about bumping into Toni. She can’t contain her happiness while Toni tries to cover up her forgetfulness by describing, rhythmically and with laughter and great gusto, the flavors of the latte. And the rhythm of flavors kicks in.

I must congratulate Publicis Manila for the creative depiction of an end-user enjoying Nescafé Latte, managing to enumerate the flavors of Nescafé Latte with great naturalness — effortlessly, without ramming it down the viewers’ throats. Credit it to the story woven nicely, hitting the objective of the commercial: to make the viewers aware of Latte and its delicious flavors. All these end with the delightful punchline, “Mae!” Toni strikes gold — she finally remembers her friend’s name!

Director Carlo Ledesma openly expressed his being a fan of Toni Gonzaga from way back. He said he looked forward to working with her after seeing the board.

While Toni had already been pegged as the main character in the commercial, it was still crucial that the second character be carefully chosen. The script, though seemingly simplified, had to have a second, equally strong character who would not be drowned out by the lead.

Director Carlo praised Ina for her spontaneity and quick, unscripted reactions. This, to me, added to the material’s flair and — let’s call it being classy — was well suited to the overall tonality of the product being advertised.

Per Publicis Account Director Monica Cabanos, the last part of the commercial was an ad lib that Toni and Inna spontaneously came up with. It was a nice moment of illumination — great rapport, too, that is reflected in the flow and warmth of the material.

The director joked about Toni’s fabulous hair being one of the minor challenges he encountered during the shooting. He related that there was a strong wind blowing in and out — and even though the production was not anything related to hair, “It was still one element that had to be perfected.” Loosely call it an important accessory element.

The awkward situation of forgetting the name of a person right in front of you is so familiar that the 30-seconder is immediately understood and embraced by the viewer. It is extremely relevant while being funny — and all of a sudden, you decide to spur forward, taking the Nescafé Latte route.

Take a bow, Publicis Manila and Nestlé Philippines.

Credits. Client-company, Nestlé Philippines: Don Howat, business executive manager; Paolo Mercado, communications director; Mark Castillo, CMM team lead; Diane Galindez, CMM; Trina Torres, market intelligence.

Advertising agency, Publicis Manila: Raul Villegas, managing director; Alistair Woodd, chief creative officer; Kelly Deuster, regional strategic head; Alvin Tecson, executive creative director; Migs Siojo, creative director; Stephani Mangalindan, associate creative director; Erwin Guevarra, senior art director; Amanda Cruz, senior copywriter; Kat Suiza and Toby Fournier, art directors; El Kawsek, strategic planner; Monica Cabanos, account director; and Zion Aquino, senior account manager.

Production house, Revolver: Carlo Ledesma, director; DJ Vizconde/Daryl Balles, producers.

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.