How these Filipino marketing campaigns established human connection
BY Candice Laquian
September 23, 2023

The pandemic shifted the way the world works, including how people consume products and services. For marketers and creatives, it is important to know how to respond to this change. But in a sea overflowing with content, how do you make your brand stand out?

In the past, brands had limited airtime to advertise their products. With radio and TV being their primary channel, half of that airtime is dedicated to the product freight. To see this kind of formulaic ads is almost predictable. But with digital media, airtime is no longer an issue. Brands are now free to take a more scenic route in the world of advertising, creating a compelling story that resonates across the board.

Stories humanize brands. Consumers are increasingly more interested in buying experiences than products, so it is crucial to show what your brand means instead of only showing what you sell. Compelling storytelling can capture the heart of the consumer and by evoking their emotions, they can connect with your brand’s values.

We look at two recent campaigns and break down how creative agencies used long-form stories to help brands establish human connections. 

Bagong Tapang by Dentsu One Manila

2020’s official marketing word of the year was “pivot.” Ginebra San Miguel, a heritage brand, set up their One Ginebra Nation campaigns to be about celebrations. But due to the ongoing pandemic, they shifted the perspective of their messaging to “Bagong Tapang.”

Jeremy Lopez, copywriter of Dentsu One Manila, said: “Ginebra San Miguel had to keep up with the adjustment of the changing times. So with every change in life, you also have values to change in order to survive. Ginebra as a brand was all about tapang – tapang na tunay, ganado sa buhay. But for Bagong Tapang, we explored a different avenue of courage — the courage to be humble. You lost some parts of your life and were faced with a lot of challenges, but you’re ready to start again even if circumstances are uncomfortable. Ginebra will be there for them, help them explore that new kind of courage.”

The unemployment rate in the country has reached its all-time high, while companies cut paychecks and lay off employees. But even in the middle of the pandemic, some people found ways to survive. Different scenarios were shown in the Bagong Tapang video – from a carpenter to a poultry owner, a call center agent turned motorshop owner, and a wedding photographer who became a food business owner. “With all the materials we’ve produced so far for Ginebra San Miguel, we made sure every story [related] to the plights of the Filipino laborers. Everything is based on true stories, even the nuances of Filipino traditions,” said Paolo De Leon, the creative director of Dentsu. The culture of Filipinos and the brand’s market is very diverse, so they make it to a point to also include vignettes from the provinces of Mindanao and Visayas, which is applauded by their market.

Ginebra San Miguel has been successful in building its brand integrity and brand values, gaining even more loyal consumers when they started telling music-driven stories. People were hooked to the anthems of Ginebra and the creatives behind Bagong Tapang, which now has over 7 million views on YouTube. The campaign was an opportunity for Ginebra to re-establish their values in the changing consumer landscape — a principle that applies to Dentsu’s marketing leadership, too. 

“The beauty of advertising is actually urging people to look beyond the product,” Jeremy remarked. “It’s not just a pungent gin. Rather, this is the drink that gives me the drive to be successful, the courage to live life, and it reminds me to look after other people, too.” 

Love Lives On Tiktok by Ace Saatchi & Saatchi

TikTok dominated the social landscape in 2020. It’s fun, easily digestible, and it is used by all age groups. 

But TikTok isn’t just there to feed your entertainment hunger. Last Christmas, they developed their “Love Lives on TikTok” campaign, inspired by a true story, that surely tugged the heartstrings of many Filipinos.  

Sinta Baguio, client services director of Ace Saatchi & Saatchi, discussed the brief: “Tiktok wanted to improve the brand’s image and relevance, especially among older users. They [shifted their] perception to a brand that’s reliable, authentic, and socially responsible. We’re not just a trendy app. We’re also authentic.”

In their campaign video, the Ace Saatchi & Saatchi team took inspiration from the late grandfather of one of their former copywriters. According to Kat Suiza, associate creative director of Ace Saatchi, their former colleague uploaded pictures on Facebook of her grandfather, whose cheerful personality shined through. This story felt relatable to Suiza, especially during this time. “We wanted to tell a hopeful story, that even throughout these challenges, like losing a loved one, love will still live on and there’s still hope,” said Mark Peckson, their executive creative director. 

In advertising, brands and creative agencies don’t just sell products. They also sell ideas — ideas that turn into stories and make people remember that your brand understands them. For creative agencies like Dentsu One Manila and Ace Saatchi & Saatchi, the steps are clear for getting your message across: Start with a strong brief and clear objective. Know who you are talking to and understand them to the core. Pull a powerful insight and tell it in an honest and creative way. 

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