Finally I get to watch commercials.

One of the unexpected side effects of maternity
leave is having to watch what my mother watches. Sayonara, Star World. Adieu,
AXN. Mom watches Channel 7 every night, from 24 Oras (the news show) to Mulawin,
and heaven help me or Bit if we even so much as suggest the Amazing Race.

So, I watch commercials and think of
it as competitive monitoring. That way I can pretend to work while grappling
with Luc’s pacifier.

These are the
currently-airing commercials that knit my eyebrows

1. Hapee toothpaste with Jasmine
Trias – Superfluous auntie character, could-have-been-better production values,
irritating “Sarap!” delivery by Jasmine to cam at the end. What is this, a
burger commercial?

2. Sprite “Chill Out” – The
decade-old Nestea execution masquerading as an urban sepia stereotypical hip
Pinoy casting job.

3. Ponds – I’m on the fence
about this one. I can see the validity of the strategy – mestiza whiteness – but
the subliminal suggestion that a whiter girl (who is presumably not just
beautiful but also intelligent because she knows Spanish) is welcome in a
peninsulares family just feeds our collective raza de esclavos mentality. It
doesn’t even have the grace of humor.

4. Silka
– oh please, not another girl giggling for no reason at

Thank the advertising gods for
commercials I actually like:

1. Lucky Me!
Supreme – a straight pitch with a bald bespectacled pitchman, insisting that a
bowl of Lucky Me! saves you from the dangerous effects of work fatigue. The
ending, “Tingnan n’yo – gising,” is funny without being forced. The tagline
“Daming benefits” makes me shake my head a little, but hey, you can’t have
everything. A nice and neat commercial built around an interesting strategy,
which is unique in its own way, but not at all unique to the brand or the
product, as any convenient soup can step in. Still, brands first to claim what
could have been a generic benefit do stand a good chance of owning it.

2. Imodium – doctors telling a woman in labor
to push are assaulted by a fart from the woman’s partner, who beats a hasty
shamed retreat.

3. Mr. Clean “sampayan” series
– lovely little puns on the sampayan, or clothesline. I’m curious to see if it
will actually deliver on the credibility of the claim of “more washes” with its
target market, but the materials are amusing

In a purely creative
endeavor, your only limits are native talent and force of will. In advertising,
you are only as creative as your client will allow.