Ad FAIL: M. Lhuillier’s Sleeping Guard

The security guard was unfairly portrayed as someone sleeping on the job

Have you seen the latest M. Lhuillier – Kuwarta Padala (Cash Remittance) commercial?

The advertising agency in charge of this account failed to uplift the honorable, decent, and worthy profession of our common, well-meaning folks – a security guard.

PLOT: M. Lhuillier endorser-lead character, Ogie Alcasid, shown excited to remit money to his daughter in college late in the evening only to be disappointed to see his usual remittance location already closed. A sleeping guard then “answered him in his sleep” that a nearby remittance location is open to serve his needs.

THE PROBLEM: Why portray a security personnel sleeping on the job? Is this the overall It’s not a question of reality because the focus is the lead character’s discovery that a nearby agency accepts 24-hour remittance service. The advertising agency could’ve shown an alert security guard that interacts with brand endorser, Ogie Alcasid. The alternative approach could’ve given honor to the profession and it would’ve justified the latter’s suggestion that referred Ogie to the nearby 24-hour M. Lhuillier money remittance location.

The ad left a bad taste because one, it typecast all security personnel as lazy, irresponsible that didn’t build the character of the profession and two,  as a business-owner we make light of serious situation that should not be communicated this way.

M. Lhuillier should know better. Humor for the sake of profit or putting others down is no way to do business for a big company like M. Lhuillier.

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Low ‘Bench’mark Insults

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Have you seen the newest bench billboard ads? What do you think about it? If Bench could  come out with ads like these, then why didn’t they do this to begin with? The ads are clean and they are true to their word when they say, “Throw your support behind the Philippine Volcanoes.” This ad is now in context, meaning the company is intending to support Rugby as a sport WITHOUT asking the team ANYTHING IN RETURN – like asking them to pose in their underwear.  Popular fashion companies should help the sensibilities of the people especially those who appreciate new sports coming out aside from basketball. Not like this. Not this way.

Lesson I learned from this brouhaha? Advertisers needs to weed out through their creative geniuses and ask themselves – “What’s our intention to begin with?” Old school paradigm in marketing says, “Sex, Drugs, and Rock N’ Roll” is the way to go through promotions in advertising. That’s true – if you want to cheat and brand your product cheap? The way Bench promoted the sport of Rugby the way their previous billboards did is crass, thoughtless, and mindless. Imagine introducing us – who do not know the sport – to Rugby with men in their briefs posing in front of darkened skies. Huh? Where’s the action? Rugby is an action sport. Where’s the dynamism? Why would I support them? Because they’re handsome, buff, and good looking? Huh?! But I’m not fit! What did they do? What’s Rugby? I don’t know why that idea became the million-peso concept Bench approved? Bench, your market are men who – for the most part – don’t look like them. I wouldn’t feel good wearing Bench if my body don’t look like Rugby players. Your concept is a stretch (read in Filipino: Pilit!) that’s why people think you’re out for those who gets attracted to them in the wrong way. Challenge our wits, Bench! Up until now, I still remember Michael Jordan’s Hanes underwear campaign (2003). Up until now they haven’t made him wear briefs and yet their message stuck. It’s time to get your creative people out of their caves and achieve your purpose and help more people love your brand. Unless you change gears, you may just be diving to your brand’s demise.

About the images: thanks to GMA 7 Blog for the photo. Mabuhay Media altered the image.

New Bench Billboard Unfolds Today

BREAKING: After the much controversial removal of the Benchtm billboards on EDSA-Guadalupe, Mandaluyong by its city mayor, the said local shirt company is now putting something back in its stead. It’s unknown what they replaced it with but the first of four gigantic billboard says, “Throw”, which is one of the words Bench used in its underwear campaign with the Philippine Volcanoes (An All-Filipino Rugby Team).

The “Throw-Your-Support-Behind The Philippine Volcanoes” Bench underwear campaign caused a lot of stir with residents of Metropolitan Manila showing the national team rugby players in briefs. Majority of this nation has no previous knowledge of the sport, the club, nor their exploits, nor the players, which questioned the whole context of the said ads.

All eyes will definitely be on Bench again when they unfold their new billboard campaign this weekend and I’m sure they’re digging this post.

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