How to Distract the Attention to Your Brand, and Help the Society Too

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  • Monday, April 8, 2013
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  • Jennifer C. Jimenez
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  • The current media hype in the Philippines regarding the certain political figures and their love affairs trigger the outburst from the national audience, to avoid distracting them from the more important issues.

    Brand managers also aim to generate news about their brands, but they want good news about it. As member of the biggest social media blogging community in the Philippines and in Asia, I usually receive streams of invites from several managers for upcoming events. Most come with free entrance and items, for social media review. Their ultimate aim is to gather the social media mavens to generate buzz and news for their brands and advocacy—or in the marketing parlance, publicity.

    Publicity is a matter usually thought of with utmost care. Bad publicity can make people forget all about the good things you did years before. It can wreck the pillars of goodness that you diligently built over the years in an instant. Gossip or side stories can play a role when it comes to having publicity, thus choosing good brand ambassadors is a must. After all, it only takes a few well-connected people to start an epidemic.

    As the law of advertising goes*, once born, a brand needs advertisements to stay healthy. But its conception begins with the law of publicity: the birth of a brand is achieved through publicity. Some products immediately lose in the race due to either bad publicity or lack of any publicity.

    But how can brands gain publicity without distracting them from the more pressing issues of the society? Or from the managers’ point of view, how can they gain publicity without taking the risk of getting a negative one instead?

    One excellent strategy is the cause-related marketing or advocacy advertising. “Those who truly lead are able to create a following of people who act not because they were swayed, but because they were inspired… who are willing to pay a premium or endure inconvenience,” said Simon Sinek, author of the book Start with Why.

    But how can brands come off as well-intentioned, rather than as brands hiding behind the cloak of a good cause? Authenticity and consistency are the answers. Consumers are intelligent individuals who can sense pretentions even from a distance. Thus, companies, from top to bottom, from fa├žade to inside, must exert effort to show that they really walk the talk.

    During the 2012 FAO Advertising Conference, Ms. Merlee Jayme, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of DM9 shared: “Our job in advertising gives marketers the power to influence. Advertising is about selling, from products to ideas and causes, and with great power comes great responsibility”. The then-hailed goddess of Philippine Advertising shared some of their agency’s excellent projects. The World’s Safest Firecracker, an initiative in collaboration with the country’s Department of Tourism, is one of those projects. With this, they were able to provide the superstitious Filipinos the safest firecracker experience that they almost cannot live without every New Year’s Day. Taiwan developed this project as well.

    Another project which garnered praises from the award-winning bodies here and abroad, is the Gabriela duct-tape-ads. Just like all the other ads, it came off as an insight from a thought-provoking question: How do you target the victims of abuse when the inflictor of abuse is also dwelling in the house? “You can’t go TV, radio or print to target them,” she said. Thus the Gabriela Call-for-Help Ad was placed on Meralco posters and telephone posts, where victims can see them individually.

    This was succeeded by the Violence Against Women Signature Campaign, which I must say, is indeed a stroke of genius. It encouraged public audience to participate in the advocacy and heightened their awareness about the issue. The people were able to utilize lipstick as an ink for pledge, which comes with a question, “If you had the power to end abuse, would you lift a finger?”

    Last 2012, Gabriela set another awareness campaign, this time against electronic violence. It focused on the women who were victims of abuse during parties where they were highly intoxicated, then waking up the day after with a tormented reputation upon several clicks and forwarding of their video scandals. The insight: People do not equate watching a scandal with violence. Obviously, the provisions of law such as the Republic Act 9995 Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009 are not enough. Thus, the campaign also aimed to educate people that a click can be as hurtful as a punch. You can check out the campaign in these sites: and

    Ms. Jayme ended her lecture with a wonderful take-home advice for the marketers: “You really have to dig for the insight, and make sure that it is the truth, even if it is the truth that no one wants to talk about”. There are a lot of causes that inflict pain and suffering to people. These causes are worth looking into, and acting upon. Marketing is one of those areas where professionals can turn the seemingly negative things into positive ones by inciting actions, virtues and changes one campaign at a time.

    It is wonderful to hear someone like Ms. Jayme, speaking about how advertising and marketing can actually help unleash the innate goodness within the audience. I first saw Ms. Jayme from the Adobo Magazine, where her photo was the on the cover page. She's the it girl of the Philippine Advertising, and yes, her lecture is a truly inspiring one.

    To cap off this article, here is an interesting ad that makes sure that it only reaches its target. Using a lenticular lens, this ad targets the kids who mights be victims of child abuse, even when they are with their aggressors. Quite intelligently done, I hope that this inspires more NGO volunteers and marketers to use whatever talents they have to further push their causes and advocacies.

    *From the 22 Immutable Laws of Branding