Industry News

[July 28, 2006]

WEEKENDER: marketing

(Business World (Philippines) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Claire Drueco Lopez had opted for an early retirement as executive creative director of J. Walter Thompson, laudably wanting to devote more time to being a housewife, raising her daughter while growing an herbal garden right in her front yard. And so she did, with hubby Ardy busier in radio production and producing his own blocktime TV program. Idyllic two years was how Claire described it.


Dean Aragon, then Unilever regional head for Rexona, unknowingly put an end to that. Dean had wanted something really exciting to synergize with his brand's regular advertising that would truly identify Rexona as its target consumer's deodorant, "way above all other deodorants in the market." He ultimately lured Claire out of retirement, and together with the Unilever team, soon exploded with one of the industry's pioneering spectacular activation projects.

Claire called the Rexona campaign "The First Day Funk," bringing it to schools all over the country. It definitely created new excitement to high school and college students' first day of school. After this followed other big activation projects for Vaseline and Surf. And thus was born Claire's new advertising agency, DYLL Communications with her ex-JWT creative colleagues Auri Yambao and Dindo Llana as partners, literally grabbing huge advertising budgets from aligned multinational agencies, all in the name of sales promotions cum special events cum publicity. Bundled into one campaign, the industry gave it its new name: Activation.

This year, Franz Decloedt, Claire's new Unilever client for Rexona, challenged DYLL to go and own the students' first day of school for Rexona with something bigger than the previous year's much talked about "First Day Funk." And I must say, monitoring the new activation campaign for a full month, what is now called "First Day High" is leaping even higher than its original concept one year ago. Its drawing power is tremendous, almost immediately involving its targeted youthful students from Day One. Let's face it. DYLL had been in the campus scenarios not too long ago for what the students like to call the riotous and chaotic opening days of school. Learning precious lessons from the "First Day Funk," DYLL knew what pitfalls to avoid, commonalities to strengthen and further develop, and more importantly, what and where their energies should be poured into. Call it new adventures.

The indubitable combination of their type of music, dancing, malling, texting and the Internet struck a delirious chord with the students. It was an unbeatable strategy to cast the studentry into fun character categories via song with the Kamikazee band singing and playing a great beat, fully resonating with the young. Part of the song goes: "Nasasabik sa unang araw ng eskwela (Looking forward with excitement during the first day of school),

Taas kamay with confidence (Raise your hands...)!

Umaapaw sa talino, do the brainy high (Overflowing with talent...)

Kung mayaman si Papa, do the sosy high (If Dad is rich...)

Pag mahilig ka sa sports, do the MVP high (If you're into sports...)

Kung cool ka at astig, do the rebel high (If you're cooler than cool...)

Pag solid sa bait, do the nice guy high (If you're solidly good...)!

Itaas ang kamay, let's do the first day high (Raise your hands...)!

Director Adrian Calumpang, who also directed last year's "First Day Funk," said that he simply had one thing in mind: "to make it bigger and more visually exciting." This year's TV commercial has a decidedly cleaner and glossier look. He called it a "lacquered sheen." Director Adrian was all praises for the commercial's main cast, and added the extras too. He lauded them as young professionals, oozing with all the patience and cooperation during the seven-day shooting: MVP Rich Alvarez, Rebel Boy 2 Quizon, Nice Guy Charles Lejano, Brainy Patty Laurel, and Sosy Cat Alano. Good, good casting here!

What to me spelled a real added high was the choice of raffle prizes. They're not as high-end as cars can go, but are real matches of strong characterizations for Rexona's target consumer. Brainy Jazz for Honda; Nice Guy Focus for Ford; MVP Ranger for Ford, Sosy Mazda3 and Rebel Ducati. The whole campaign is a stunning combination of marketing knowhow and creative communications. For a market leader, one can't expect less.

Credits. Client-company, Unilever, Home and Personal Care. Noel Lorenzana, managing director; Dondi Gomez, category director for skin and deodorants; Franz Decloedt, senior brand manager; Mias Posadas, assistant brand manager; Carlo Evangelista, media activation executive. Advertising agency, DYLL Communications. Claire Drueco-Lopez and Auri Yambao, creative directors; Diane Welsh, account manager; Cathy Sangil, graphic artist. Media agency, Masscom. Monina de Leon and Andrew Gacer, media planners. Production house, Provil. Adrian Calumpang, director; Shane Sarte, DOP; Doodie Ebrada-Granada, producer; Rizza Bacay, production designer.

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