Category Archives: Advertising

Talent Borrows, Genius Steals

This “Labels Against Women” spot done by BBDO for P&G’s Pantene shampoo is gorgeous.

I just wonder if the similarity to the Glee Project’s “Mad World” video was a deliberate tribute.

As Oscar Wilde says – “talent borrows, genius steals.”

Is this talent or genius at work?

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Adidas Crazy Light: Fat Feet Finally Find A Friend

I’ve been in the marketing profession for almost a decade now. And one thing I’ve learned is that when it comes to campaign materials, everything has to communicate; everything has to tell a story.

One of the most brilliant creatives I know always says, “First be clear, then be clever.”

It’s that rare and special case when you’re actually able to achieve both. Here’s one gorgeous example we spotted from the folks over at Adidas.

As a marketing professional, I love merchandise displays that tell a story.

As a lifelong Man of Girth, AKA Mr. Fluffyface McMuffintop, I’ve been cursed with a distinct lack of grace, athletic conditioning, and sleek aerodynamicism.

It isn’t my fault I’m fat, I wail at my physical trainer on his three-hours-and-running attempt to coach me through my 4th situp. I can’t jog because my feet are too fat and heavy to lift!

Which is why I completely adore the window display Adidas came up with for their Crazy Light series of Adizero athletic shoes.


There’s a lot of copy going on about how each shoe weighs just 9.5 ounces. For perspective, that’s just a little bit over than half a pound.

But really, all that boring marketingspeak is completely unnecessary. The creative treatment says everything that needs to be said about the shoes.


The damn shoes are lifting off by themselves, is the story you get in just two seconds of appreciating the display. They’re too light for even gravity to keep them down to the ground! We had to spend an extravagant amount on concrete blocks just to weigh them down and keep them from floating into the sky, potentially disrupting the flight path of a Cebu Pacific airplane skimming cheerfully to Tuguegarao!


Spectacularly sharp messaging, and an overall magnificent use of the medium. My fat feet have finally found the friend they need to help them blast off and achieve new heights to my pathetic 4″ vertical leap.creative’s

This Adidas Crazy Light campaign is just crazy brilliant.

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100 Years of Nestle in MDJ Superstar’s Life

I grew up on Nestle.

My dad was instrumental in launching their Milo powdered chocolate drink and Nido powdered milk in the Philippines in the 1980s, and we always grew up believing that Nestle was the gold standard when it came to quality food products. That was my dad’s fault; his word was the law, and if he said something rocked, I was all too happy to concur.

Tony De Joya says: "Drink more Milo, bitchezzzzz!"

I will openly credit Milo, after all, for my world-class, Olympic quality, award-winning Greek god physique. I practically invented the Milo Dinosaur in my youth, partly because I loved the crunch of the powder while I was drinking, but mainly because I was too lazy to dissolve the granules properly.

The Milo Dinosaur in all its glory.

(“Why is it called a Milo Dinosaur, MDJ Superstar?” you may ask. “Because of the sound your tummy makes after consuming three of them, young Padawan!” I will gleefully answer.)

But I digress.

Nestle has been around a heck of a long time, and just last month, it celebrated its 100th year in the Philippines. They launched a commemorative 90-second TV commercial directed by the incomparable Stephen Ngo telling the tale of Nestle as it threads through the lives of the Filipino consumer.

It’s beautiful, and I will allow you to view it for yourself.

Everything about it is perfect.

The casting, the production design & styling that perfectly captures the milieu of each era, the acting, the storyline – if anyone has ever said that Stephen Ngo is only good for high-gloss, slick productions with acting as a secondary priority, then this spot should prove them wrong. But I need to point out the song written by APO Hiking Society member Danny Javier as the most wonderfully heart-warming element of the piece – it works so well with the visuals, and adds so much emotion and texture in a resonant, deeply personal way.

Nestle has been around 100 years in the Philippines. As a marketing professional working for a rival organization, I wish them ill, and intensely catastrophic business results in the immediate future. But as a consumer, I commend their longevity and steadfast commitment to a singular higher purpose – of bringing good food, good life, to Filipino consumers everywhere.

* The views above reflect my personal opinion, and do not reflect any bias or judgment against how I conduct my professional life.

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An Incomplete Uncomprehensive List of Every TV Commercial I’ve Done

Over my 8 year career as a marketing/advertising professional, I’ve produced a lot of TV campaigns.

A lot of them, I like a lot. Some others, I find very forgettable. Some were rooted in great insights, and resonated wonderfully with their respective target audiences. Others really had no emotional depth to them – dinaan lang sa production values, as some people would say.

There are a few I can’t find – mostly from the pre-YouTube era. I wish I’d hung onto them.

But anyway. Here are the campaigns I’ve done.


Lady’s Choice Sandwich Spread: “Isipin Mo Na Lang”

My first ever TV commercial, and perhaps the one I’m the most proud of. It’s a simple story with simple production values, but very charming and engaging nevertheless. Mommies told us they loved the material; it painted a picture of Lady’s Choice as “mom’s invisible hand in her kids’ lunchboxes,” giving her a bit of reassurance as they go off to eat the one meal of the day that doesn’t fall under mom’s direct supervision.

Lady’s Choice Mayonnaise: “Sharon Cuneta’s Megadelicious Dip”

A lot of people said this was a poor choice of endorser; this was Ate Shawie still recovering from pregnancy-induced weight gain. “Why would you choose someone like that to sell mayonnaise?” they asked.


Because she captures the simple joy of eating like nobody else does – no pretensions, no inhibitions, just pure sensuous satisfaction. We should all learn to eat the way she does. I love her.

It’s true that we had to provide a lechon for each shoot day – but it wasn’t all for her, and she deserved it. Shooting with her was like a fiesta – so professional, no bad takes, wonderful rapport with co-talents and production.

Lady’s Choice Mayonnaise  “Endorsers”

Lady’s Choice Mayonnaise “Drama (30s)”

Lady’s Choice Mayonnaise “Drama (15s)”

Lady’s Choice Mayonnaise “Ikaw”

Lady’s Choice Mayonnaise “Balat Sibuyas”

Lady’s Choice Mayonnaise “A Little To A Lot”

I don’t have a lot of memories on this material. I think we were midstream in transitioning the brand into a new positioning, but needed to capitalize on the key Christmas season.

I personally don’t eat a lot of macaroni salad. But some people do, and the sales we got over the duration of this campaign were astounding.

Lady’s Choice Easy-Squeeze Bottle “Worms” 30s

The last TVC I made during my Unilever career, for one of the most fun innovations I got to do – the upside-down easy-squeeze bottle. I’m not a gourmet chef, by any means, but I do try to be artsy with my food in little ways, and this little commercial shows the liberation to create when you have the right tools in your hands – in this case, a wonderfully handy squeezable bottle to put a little personal flourish on the food one puts on one’s table.

Royal Tru-Orange “Ilabas Ang Kulit”

My first ever TVC produced during my fabulously fun 2-year run in the advertising industry – a relaunch for the iconic Royal Tru-Orange brand, which had launched multiple legendary campaigns in the Philippines (RJ Ledesma’s “Joey” series, Francis M‘s “Ito Ang Gusto Ko”), but had fallen dormant in recent years.

The first material, “Battlebots” was incredibly stressful to produce. Direk Henry Frejas refused to rely on CG for the vendo robot – we actually had to create a real-life robot that could transform to and from its vendo and robot forms. What a headache. Each take required a 12-hour downtime to re-position all the parts back to their starting position. But it was well worth it. I can’t help but smile when I see that damn robot.

The follow-up material, “Bike,” was relatively easy to produce. We had a better grasp of what “kulit” meant in the eyes of tweens, and wanted to just have some fun with their very juvenile brand of humor.

This was the total opposite of “Battlebots.” Production was a breeze. Clients literally approved the offline and online materials in 10 minutes. Ganyan ang gusto ko!

IAMNINOY “Glasses”

I am proud of this particular material not only as an advertising professional, but as a Filipino citizen. The Benigno S. Aquino Foundation had one simple objective – create a new breed of self-starting heroism in this country. I think the ad delivered.

As random trivia, please note how MDJ Superstar was the only one allowed to deliver one complete sentence in the entire material. Oh, the perks of being the Account Director on the project…

Eden “Recipes” Series

Our challenge to the creative agency, JWT, was to present a creative way on how to make a recipe instructional TVC in a span of just 15-seconds per material.

Did they deliver? I think so.

Tang Pick & Go “Tang Goes To School”

I came onto this project mid-stream, when the storyboards had already been essentially approved, so my involvement here was mainly on the production side. I love working with kids, despite the DOLE limitations on how many hours per day they can shoot. And of course, the lead talent Xyriel Manabat, was a joy to work with. What an adorable kid.

Tang Pulpy “Operation”

We told Ogilvy, the creative agency, give us a spectacular launch material for a first-of-its-kind innovation! Make it Spielberg-esque, but with a Peque Gallaga budget!

And they did.

* – Also of note, with this material, I have now officially worked with 3 of the 4 directors who did the 2010 Ad Congress “Ano Sa Tingin Mo” series. This was an AF Beaniza material, while I’d gotten to work with Henry Frejas on Royal Tru-Orange, and Carlo Directo for the prior Pick & Go material.


I’m missing three key campaigns on this list, but I guess the fact that they aren’t on YouTube is very telling…

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[REPOST FROM 2007] The Mark De Joya Advertising Story

This is an old blog entry I came across from 2007. Funny how the 26-year old me had his thought processes laid out.


“So why did you shift from Client side to Agency? Nobody does that. It’s Agency people who jump over to Client!”

That, in twenty-one words, pretty much sums up the biggest comment I deal with on a bi-weekly basis when people find out that I have shed my Marketing skin (the snake metaphor is quite apt), and plunged all naked and wrinkly into the Advertising world.

I ask, in return, why I shouldn’t have done so.

And they, in response, always point to an answer that seems as obvious to them as an two-testicled penis: “Marketing is better. When you’re the Client, you call the shots.”

(I hope you have noticed, at this point, that when one is an Account Dictator Director such as myself, one never spells “client” and “agency” with small c’s and a’s at the start. These words are Proper Nouns, and must always be accorded the dignity of capitalized, font size 42 first letters. In bold Haettenschweiller, no less.)

I have analyzed and distilled and condensed and filtered and subjected to reverse osmosis my answer to this comment. And what I have to say is this.

“Calling the shots” when you are a Client is an over-simplified truth. As a Client, you are genetically engineered to be capable of just two things: (1) writing a brief, and (2) disapproving (and occasionally actually approving) creative work. In between are gaps in your week that measure about six inches long on your standard wall calendar, filled with dreadfully boring activities that contain about 5% creativity, and 95% Microsoft Excel-driven inanity. Let me explain further.

When reasonably intelligent, well-bred, stunningly sexy individuals such as I are in college, we are brainwashed to believe that Marketing is the hottest profession since sheepherding went out of fashion in the late 1700’s. You’ll do advertising campaigns!, our professors squeal with pride, You’ll launch innovations, change lives! You’ll be able to sell shampoo for P2.00 a sachet!

The tragic reality is that 70% of your day as a Marketer is spent slumped at a workstation, churning out demand plans, profit & loss statements, and forecast variance analyses. You spend hours in meetings with some of the most left-brained people in the world, from factory managers, to financial analysts, to production line workers, to research technicians. You condition yourself to believe that a 15-minute dialogue on the nifty new macro installed in the new SAP upgrade passes as “small talk”. Occasionally, you do get some excitement when your drab little workspace is invaded by sleek, black-clad, turtleneck-and-Gucci-wearing individuals from the Advertising world, but those moments are few and far between.

Things are different when you live the Agency life.

In the Advertising world, you are constantly immersed in a social solution consisting of 90% purely creative people, and just 10% worth of odd contaminants with such curious names as “Production Traffic” and “Finance”. Your meetings are full of copywriters, art directors, producers, and production designers, all of whom are armed with sparkling white (or occasionally black) MacBooks and distinguishedly scruffy pairs of Chuck Taylors. You spend at least ten hours a week chugging down buckets of beer sponsored by some excitable Creative Director, while debates rage around you on whether Comic Sans MT is more evil than your local Church of Satan, or if red Sith lightsabers pack more punch than blue or green Jedi ones.

And really, every day in the Advertising life is a day of exciting output. It could be a clever new print ad, a hilarious new storyboard, or even just a pretty contact report. You get to sit and watch as creative ideas are born, nurtured, and dragged into wild puberty by a room of mildly-inebriated concept teams. You get to be a writer, a designer, a dreamer, a doer, all in a span of just thirty minutes.

You open Excel only about five times a year, and two of those rare moments are just to check if two and two still add up to four in the 21st century (my secretary tells me they still do).

I could go on and on. I’m just so happy.

I do want to establish however that I hold no angst towards my four year Marketing stint. It’s really helped me a lot. I can discourse intelligently, for example, on how a 0.3% cost reduction on a mayonnaise formulation actually helps bring vitality to 80 million Filipino lives. I have learned the difference between induction and conduction sealing. I know how to work thrilling software innovations like ACNielsen I-Sight 6.2 and Microsoft Binder. And most importantly, I can make you believe that increasing my logo by 3/10ths of a centimeter on an advertorial actually helped improve my sales in Tuguegarao public markets by 7% for two weeks last February.

I was really good at my old job. I spent two years on the High Potential list at U-Will-Never, I got to pretend I was Category Manager for six months, and I was always reminded by my advertising, activation, and media Agencies that I was one of their favorite Clients (it was my plunging necklines and plaid pants that did it).

But I really love my new career. If I could pick any Karen Carpenter song to sing about it, I would probably sing a disco remix medley of “Top Of The World” and “Sing (Sing A Song)”.

Calling the shots” is an overrated cliché. What I do now as an Agency person is far more important, and far more fulfilling. It’s called “living my dream.

And that, at the end of the day, is why I did what I did.

(By the way, this is a highly editorialized opinion piece, so none of you are allowed to speak up in defense of the Marketing side of life.)

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Looking Back: The Story of the “I Am Ninoy” Campaign

I didn’t spend very long in the advertising industry. Two years. That’s a blink of an eye, by advertising standards.

I did however, get to work on one campaign that remains, to this day, incredibly meaningful to me.

It was the “I Am Ninoy” brand launch, commemorating the 25th anniversary of Ninoy Aquino’s martyrdom to save a country.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not exactly the most upstanding person on the planet. But I do remember how, for that one year, I was inspired to be a better person, a better Superstar, someone who was not afraid to stand up and proudly declare, for the world to see, that I, in my own, was a Ninoy too.

(On a slightly vain note, do you notice that I’m the only who got to deliver a complete sentence within the whole material? Ahh.. the perks of being the Account Director for the project.)

And the full story behind it.

A drawing I made the day that Tita Cory passed away.. it was awesome working with her.

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Do You Believe In Our Children’s Imagination?

If you were to see the world through the eyes of someone who knows no limit to possibility, what kind of world would you see?

Tang, the brand that champions kids’ independence, challenges children to show us the world through their eyes. And armed with a little support, a bit of guidance and a whole lot of imagination, kids can become the future faces of Philippine film at the first-ever Tang KiddiCine Film Festival.

Because Kids Can
KiddiCine was born out of the dream to create an avenue for children to write, produce and direct their very own short-films. Inspired by this unique challenge to our little film makers of the future, the theme for the first-ever KiddiCine Film Festival is “Because I Can”.

“Just like talent, a child’s thinking can be shaped at a very early age. And now, more than ever, as kids are influenced by what they see on television, what they do online and what they learn from school and their families, they have views of the world that may surprise us,” says Cyn Icasas, Kraft Beverage Category Marketing Manager. “Tang may be the brand that will lend them this opportunity but in truth, we are the ones who borrow from their infinite imagination.”

Their ideas, their stories and their vision for the theme will come alive in five 5-minute movies that will be shown at the first KiddiCine Film Festival in November where in attendance will be their friends, family and their peers.

The Journey starts Today
Starting today, Tang calls on children aged seven to ten years old to send in their short stories that will be the basis of their film. They can draw a picture, take a photo and write up the best, most inventive and most creative ideas to capture the attention of the Screening Committee who will be judging entries based on Creativity, Originality and Adherence to the Theme.

Short listed entries will be notified in person and the top five finalists who will receive the Tang Golden Ticket will get to attend a three-day KiddiCine Film Workshop. There, the finalists will be taught the basics of the craft under the mentorship of some of today’s most respected Advertising Directors.

In the sessions, they will be taught a short background on film, basic filming techniques and basic script-writing by no less than five well-known directors here in our local arena.

These directors include; Richard Ang, a film and television commercial director, who specializes in highly technical projects with edgy visual effects and computer graphics; Ianco Dela Cruz who started way back when he was a student, venturing to commercials, AVPs and forming a production company where he holds the Executive Producer position. There is also widely-respected and multi-awarded Erik Matti, known for being not just a film/ TV and advertising director but also for being a screen/story writer, producer and restaurateur; Erin Pascual who at an early age sought his talent for animation, special effects and as a motion graphics/ visual effects artist; Matthew Rosen who has been directing for over 25 years, winning national awards and awards globally with over 700 commercials, music videos and TV content under his belt and lastly; Christian Acuna who has been directing TV commercials and other advertising content for over two years and has vast success in directing short films.

If we were to see the world through the eyes of someone who knows no limit to possibility, would we see a different world from the one we live in now? Tang believes in celebrating kids’ creativity, their views and their work and with KiddiCine, welcomes the chance to see the world in their eyes.


Entries should be composed of a completed application form (with a short summary of the story) and an endorsement letter from the parents / guardian. All these have to be sent as “Tang KiddiCine Film Entry” to Ogilvy and Mather, Philippines, 25/F Picadilly Star Building, 4th Avenue corner 27th St, Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City 1634 or you can also send entries online. For more information on contest requirements and to download the form, you may go online to or search for Tang KiddiCine on Deadline is on October 28, 2010.


Jelly Macachor/ Isa Suarez/ Sherlyn Co
Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, Manila
2387000 local 7044 and 7005
0920-9227435/ 0905-3025464/ 0917-8360044

The Philippine Premiere of Award-Winning Ad Documentary “Art & Copy”

Looking for something interesting to do next Tuesday evening, September 21st?

Please see below for a write-up on the Philippine premiere of the award-winning documentary on advertising creativity, “Art & Copy,” which was screened at the Sundance Film Festival.

I’m watching the 930pm screening at Greenbelt 1 (although there’s a 730pm as well). If you’d be interested in watching, you can see contact details at the bottom of the writeup. Tickets cost P750 each, and proceeds will go towards a worthy cause.

Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with the organizers, but have been hearing wonderful things about this film from my friends in the ad industry.

Hope to see you there.


Original link as it appears on the Adobo Magazine website.

The Philippine Premiere of Award-Winning Ad Documentary “Art & Copy”

The Philippine premiere of award-winning ad documentary Art & Copy to benefit the Amazing Grace project

PHILIPPINES, SEPTEMBER 2010 – The acclaimed documentary film Art & Copy, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, will have its official Philippine premiere on September 21 at Greenbelt 1 Cinema 2. Two screening times have been set, 7:30PM and 9:30PM, to give a bigger audience access to this year’s must-see documentary.

Art & Copy is directed by Doug Pray, who is known for his documentary films about American subcultures and maverick characters–“SURFWISE,” “SCRATCH” and “HYPE!” Among the admen appearing in the film are Lee Clow, chairman and chief creative officer of TBWAChiatDay, who was behind the Apple “1984” commercial and also helped create campaigns featuring the Energizer Bunny and the Apple iPod; Mary Wells, a pioneer in many respects and creator of the iconic “I Love New York” campaign; and George Lois, mastermind of the Esquire magazine covers in the 1960s and the original Mad Man who made a generation say “I Want My MTV”.

Two pairs of respected names also discuss creativity: Dan Wieden and David Kennedy, founders of Wieden+Kennedy, who gave Nike its “Just do it” slogan; and  Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein, who lend their name to the shop Goodby, Silverstein and Partners,  and are best known for their making milk sexy with the “Got Milk?” campaign.

Proceeds of the screenings will go to the The Amazing Grace Fund to help defray the hospital bills  incurred by the late Grace Marci during her battle against leukemia and uterine cancer. Grace was strategic planner at BrandLab and former Creative Director of Lowe Jakarta and Lowe Manila.

As Grace loved art with a passion, her friends and colleagues have launched the Amazing Grace online auction website with paintings and photographs by noted artists, as well as rare items, at attractive prices.

For tickets to the Art & Copy screening, contact Shirley Marcaida at 09178665496, 894-1805 or To see the auction pieces and to bid online, visit

She Lost Her Lunchbox :(

I’d like you to meet Xyriel.

Not Momay.

Not Agua. Not Bendita.

She lost her lunchbox.


Imagine her starving slowly during the course of the school day. Weakening. Withering. Wobbling weakly to and fro, as all around her, kids pumped full of good, healthy baon frolic freely under the morning sun.

Doesn’t it break your heart?

I wonder what’s inside. I wish I could give her something to drink…

Visit to help.

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77% of Filipinas Wish Their Men Were More Unpredictable (Or, Why I’m Lucky To Have Gotten To First Base)

I was never “that guy” growing up.

I suppose that’s one of the things that hits you when you’ve lived your life as a fat, sweaty, socially-inept boy – you’re never comfortable enough in your own skin to go out and hunt down the girl of your dreams. I swear to God I did not speak to a girl my age until I was in second year high school, and even then I wasn’t exactly the Sultan of Sexy.

I worked hard on my body, like hell I did, and even though I was sculpted like an only-slightly-porky Samoan Adonis, I still didn’t know how to sucker woo girls enough to be into me.

Here’s how awkward I was in trying to make conversation – before making a phone call, I needed to draft out a list on yellow pad of several possible topics to pepper the dialogue with: Are you going to the soph night? What do you think of the new Peter Andre CD? Which branch of Blowing Bubbles is your favourite? Which Backstreet Boy gets you wetter, Kevin or Nick?

And on and on and on.

As you can probably imagine, I was not a spectacular hit with the ladies. We’d often hang up after ten minutes. There’s only so much you can do when your responses amount exclusively to “Umm, hehe, cool,” and “Err, haha, yeah.” I think that’s why I found porn so magical. It never rejected me, and only occasionally made me feel bad about myself.

I came across this interesting survey by Axe Body Spray recently. One ginormous headline jumped out at me:

77% of Filipinas wish their men were more unpredictable.

Great, I thought to myself. I’m Mr. I-Script-Out-Every-Conversation. My idea of unpredictable is wearing gray Y-fronts on a date instead of the usual bacon-gartered tighty-whities. I like routine. I like being comfortable, and I like knowing what comes next. That’s probably why I can’t take watching competitive sports live; I hate the suspense of not knowing how things will turn out, and will only watch WWE pro wrestling because I know it’s scripted.

I suppose I do need to rattle my own cage once in a while, and surprise my lady friends a little more often. That’s probably why I love the concept behind the new Axe Twist Deodorant Body Spray – it’s the first ever man-scent that actually evolves the way it smells as the night goes on. In an exclusive one-on-0ne interview that may or may not have occurred between MDJ Superstar and Alexandre Freile, a French perfumer and Axe Twist collaborator, I was told that “[it] bears a scent of fresh citrus and gradually changes to the smell of sandalwood.”

I can smell like both calamansi and sandals in one night? I exclaimed to myself. That’s even better having a library with many books, and an apartment that smells of rich mahogany! Sign me up for that stank, and some sweaty-hot monkey sex!

I found the TV commercial on YouTube. It’s very clever, like all Axe commercials are.

I’m sure you all think Axe is very plebeian. Well, MDJ Superstar hates to brag, but I actually got a flock of nubile underage Cebuana professional models to not only make eye contact with me, but actually stand within an 8-foot radius…

New Axe Twist. It gets you laid, and occasionally even paid.

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