RETAIL | Pinoy Superbrands + The OFWs That Keep Them Afloat
The Superbrands organization is an independent arbiter on branding. It pays tribute to brands that it considers exceptional through its programs. Superbrands has launched its programs in many key global markets and has publications in over 80 countries.
– Wikipedia, “Superbrands”
The Philippines belongs to the “Superbrands” organization that decides which products and services are “cool.” Yet, when I think of the country’s real superbrands, I can really only count two: Jollibee and bench/.
Philippine Airlines has a great corporate ID; National Book Stores (often the only source of the printed word in the country) is a godsend; and San Miguel beer has its fans.
But only Jollibee and bench/ have taken on the “big guys” (McDonalds and the Gap, respectively) and won on their own turf.
Jollibee’s food is not quite ready for prime-time, but it sure is popular amongst the mid-level income Filipino family.
Just like McD’s, Jollibee’s omnipresent advertising ensures that new generations of Jollikids are being indoctrinated into the ways of fast food. Who can resist that cute Jollibee statue outside every outlet, beckoning us into his deep fried coconut oil grease pit? He’s arguably the most recognized character in the archipelago, although GMA tries hard to compete.
bench/ also uses saturation marketing to aggressively promote its products. Their heavily sexualized ads feature the cutest of Euroasians in provocative poses (the company’s website has a page devoted to more photos of said models, their stats, and interests, much like a cheesy online dating service).
The aspirational message these images send to the youth of the country ensures a steady drove of shoppers and lookey loos into bench/ stores nationwide (about 35% of the county’s 98 million people are under the age of 15).
These, then, are the two true Pinoy superbrands.
But looking at the country from another perspective, the Philippines’ biggest export is its human resources. Overseas Foreign Workers (OFWs in this acronym-obsessed country) keep the Pinoy economy afloat. They are referred to as “heroes” for remitting part of their overseas salaries back to the communities from whence they came.
OFWs just might be the country’s one, true, superbrand. More than 10% of Filipinos are living outside their homeland to support their compatriots back home.
Shoemart (SM), the country’s largest retailer, is aware of the impact of the OFW on the retail landscape of the Philippines. Just in time for the Xmas 2009 season, they established a pilot “Global Pinoy” centre at their flagship Mall of Asia. Here, the families of separated OFWs can contact their loved ones via Internet and avail themselves of other services:
Overseas Filipino workers can now process all their documents, requirements, remittance and hold videoconferencing with their loved ones at the Global Pinoy Centers located in the SM supermalls all over the country. Hans Sy, president of SM Prime Holdings Inc., the mall developer of the SM Group, told reporters at Thursday’s launch of the pilot Global Pinoy Center in the Mall of Asia that this latest service of its malls is a recognition of the new Filipino heroes, the OFWs.
Sy narrated that when he goes abroad to meet with their foreign investors, who are jittery about the domestic economy, he would always cite the huge OFW remittances to appease their apprehensions. ‘I always told our foreign investors that as long as the OFWs continue sending their money back home, there is nothing to worry about the local economy,’ he said.
> check out Filipino Voices, a collective voice for politics, news and social commentary
About this entry
You’re currently reading “RETAIL | Pinoy Superbrands + The OFWs That Keep Them Afloat,” an entry on designKULTUR
- 2009/12/31 / 19:43