Ads & Ends
Nanette Franco-Diyco

A COUPLE of weeks ago, I called J.Walter Thompson Philippines executive creative director Dave Ferrer, asking for the best ad campaign produced by the agency covering the full month that was about to end. He asked me to wait for material that was in the pipeline and would soon be breaking.

Manulife pushes you to go for it!

The wait was absolutely worth it. JWT client insurance company Manulife has just launched a series of four films for television and digital media under the “Start Your Story” umbrella campaign. I call the series simply stunning.

I salute the agency for great insighting and ideation, a beautifully written script and art direction. The celebrity endorsers were excellent fits for the roles — these were far different from the usual almost banal roles they play. And they played them ultra well.

I must say that the omnibus version of the series was fine. But the three individual versions where James Reid, Sarah Geronimo, and Richard Yap played their very own assigned characters exceeded fine. Pabrika’s Lyle Sacris directed each with such realism that guts and gusto characterized their scenes. The viewer comes out with real positive feelings for Manulife.

The strat planners analyzed that when it comes to insurance, the mind-set of Filipinos is to put it on hold or do it later, not realizing that the best time to begin is today. “Manulife wants to inspire Filipinos to have a more proactive and urgent stance in taking the first step toward making their dreams come true and their stories happen. The new chapter of Manulife’s Start Your Story campaign encourages Filipinos to go after their aspirations right now. But how does one even get started?”

Enter then the commercial of James Reid, described by the agency as a story all about persistence. He is seen pushing his limits and relentlessly trying to perfect a difficult dance move. To further hone his craft and pursue his passion for dancing, James put an end to giving up.

Sarah Geronimo’s story is a story of independence. “Most people see her as a girl who is too sheltered. She surprises everyone in the material with her solo adventure, spelunking and mountain climbing. To conquer the cave and reach great heights, Sarah put an end to her fears and doubts.”

JWT develops Richard Yap’s story, showing how he takes matters into his own hands when it comes to his dream of putting up his own restaurant. “To ensure that his dream turns into reality, Richard put an end to waiting for things to happen and took action.”

Each version, I must add, has such zing! Take James Reid’s version:

“How do you even begin?

You begin with the end.

The end of holding back,

the end of being afraid to fall,

or get hurt,

the end of maybe, I’m just not good enough,

For when you begin with the end,

That’s when you truly start to live,

Live the life of fulfilled stories…”

The entire campaign inspires, touches, and pushes you to go for it — for whatever your story is. And at the end of your very own story, you’ll probably be inclined to think of Manulife.

Per JWT: “With the launch of these new films, Manulife has become the most followed insurance company in the country today, ranking No. 1 in terms of engagement. And just within 24 hours since the release of the first TVC, #StartYourStory trended to 4th spot on Twitter.”

Take a bow, Manulife, J.Walter Thompson and Film Pabrika.

Credits. Client-company, Manulife Philippines: President and Chief Executive Officer Ryan Charland; Chief Marketing Officer Melissa Henson; SAVP, Head of Branding and Digital Marketing Katherine Wong; Senior Manager, Branding and Marketing Paola Yamsuan. Ad Agency, J. Walter Thompson Philippines: General Manager Golda Roldan; Executive Creative Director Dave Ferrer; Associate Creative Director/Art Director Javey Villones; Associate Creative Director and Copywriter Maan Bautista; Art Director Gia Leuterio; Copywriter Leslie Cua; Executive Planning Director Pam Garcia; Strategic Planner: Cecilia Forbes; Client Services Director Pao Acosta; Account Director Gian Recalde; Account Manager Pat Cui; Producer: Jeng Floresca. Production House Film Pabrika: Director Lyle Sacris; Executive Producers Marivic San Juan and Jing Lopez; Line Producer Cheska Ramos; Production Designer Adelina Leung; Director of Photography Dix Buhay; Production Manager Lemon Atencio; Production Assistants Tanya Guarino and Joy Orio. Post Production House: Riot. Audio Production House: Hit Productions.

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.