witty defiance

It’s one of the wittiest and funniest tv commercials I’ve seen in years. If you’ve seen the third installment of that Biolink VCO (shampoo? or conditioner? or both?) commercial that started airing last week, you know what I’m talking about.

It’s not your usual shampoo commercial where a beautiful model with long, straight, shiny (due to hours of hot oil and brilliant lighting) hair gains her sky-high ego after using the infamous shampoo.

Splash, a Filipino-owned corporation, surprised the whole nation after one of their brands, Biolink VCO, devoured much of the commercial airtime during this year’s Holy Week. Not with boring ads but ones that made sure the brand name would stick in your mind, whatever the effect the ads left on you.

The lenten mode was overpowered by an amusement from tv audiences after seeing “Faith Healer”, an ad about a possessed woman, with unruly hair of course, who became normal again ergo, with long, straight, shiny hair (brilliant lighting), after the product was poured on her once ‘dead’ hair. Alright, it was a conditioning product. I must admit it was the brand name that had a strong recall, not the type of product. Probably because I was overwhelmed by that hilarious ad. Here’s the video:

[Note: Someone in youtube commented that the idea for that commercial was taken from this school project. I don’t know how BBDO (the ad agency) would react to that. See the alleged original.]

Anyway, the 2nd installment, “Morit”, also launched last Holy Week, was for VCO Hot Oil for Men. It had the same location, this time, the faith healer applied the product on his hair and voila, the revelation at the end would surely leave a grin on your face. First, a close up of the shiny hair (brilliant lighting)… tsaran, of the ordinary looking faith healer. Pun intended, he’s ugly by ad agency standards. That’s what made the humor very effective. See the video here:

The third installment is even wittier. This time, the faith healer had other ordinary looking female models (ergo, ugly, by ad agency standards.. again, for emphasis) with him in the ending. It started with “you don’t need special effects to have a hair like this” (or something like that) voiceover then the revelation of the models. It is the same style used by the 2nd installment.

This ad might have been a late follow-up but the ad recall is too strong the viewer can still associate it with its predecessors.

It is a successful series because it’s different, humorous and defied the norm of using perfect models to show the point. Sure, the sarcasm is apparent, in fact, it’s an appeal to the ego of ordinary looking (ergo, ugly, by ad agency standards) Filipinos who are imposed with the fantasy that they will look like the celebrities in shampoo/conditioner commercials if they try these Unilever and Procter & Gamble products.

Commercials, especially that of beauty products, are very deceiving. They are meant to make you URGE buying the product after seeing the ad. The truth, once you use these chemicals to wherever part of your body they’re bound for, they are nothing but short of what they usually claim to be (special mention to dandruff shampoos and skin whitening products).

These ads are actually dangerous. For years, they have created a subculture. They do not simply sell products, they impose the sets of standards to be followed by the consumers. They cause millions of Filipinos to look down on themselves for having brown skin and curly, almost dead hair. They instill in our minds that we can never be beautiful if we cannot force ourselves to mirror the images we see in the ads.

Irritating ‘Rejoice’ commercials, using the telenovela style, make us believe that we can never be attractive or that men will never love us or that we cannot look rich if our hair isn’t straight.

‘Pantene’ commercials make the product bankable because it is endorsed by ‘allegedly’ the most beautiful women in the Philippines, who incidentally, are hailed by a magazine that promotes superficiality as a self-esteem boost. But I must admit, commercials using perfect models and celebrity endorsers are effective. ‘Clear’ dandruff shampoo is the latest testament to this.

The Biolink VCO commercial is a semi-admirable concept. Semi, because in the end, the goal is still have the unattainable perfect hair. Oh well, at least, there’s an attempt to be different and the commercials are not as garapal and boring as most shampoo commercials. One clap for Splash and BBDO.

However, if you’ve seen the latest Skin White commercial (another Splash product, the one with the evolution of the whitening of the skin with the model’s side angle), you’ll think twice about giving them another set of applause. How the world can be so chewed up by double standards…

You know what I mean.


6 thoughts on “witty defiance

  1. bebs,

    sounds like a critic you did especially made for your subject in school. somehow i don’t see your personality coming thru your writing. maybe i should read something of a more personal experience of yours.

    ps… sayang di mo na upload yung bagong biolink commercial. A PA i used to work with in the very 1st production house i worked for is in that commercial. hehe!

    i shall read some more… heheh..

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