Waves Without Sounds

When things come crashing on the shores of the mind.

Category: Marketing/Advertising

Independent writers and entrepreneurs share the same road

As one courted by the corporate world and the art of writing, I can totally relate to this.

Cristian Mihai

Being an independent writer is very similar to being an entrepreneur. No one is there to help you succeed. You only have yourself and your skillset to make it in this cruel world. Cristian has been working on his novel for over 2 years without knowing if it will be a success or not. His dedication and unwillingness to give up is what will ultimately bring him success. Soldiering on and doing what you believe is the single most powerful ingredient in succeeding in what you do. Writing for the love of writing is akin to entrepreneurs who struggle to set up a business for years without getting paid because they love to build businesses and help bring value to people. Becoming a self-made business man can share a similar path to becoming a self-published novelist. The road isn’t an easy road to travel, but the getting to the destination…

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Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité: Examining the Hexagon’s Marketing Success


Alberto Mondi in the Korean comedy show 'Abnormal Summit'

Alberto Mondi in the Korean comedy show ‘Abnormal Summit’

Some time ago, a friend of mine convinced me to watch a Korean TV programme entitled ‘Abnormal Summit’. Eleven ‘abnormal’ representatives from different countries, excluding that of Korea, discuss agendas that vary per episode to decide on the ‘abnormality’ of the agenda presented. On the fourth episode of the programme, the topic about which fashion is better was brought up between the representatives of France and Italy. The Italian representative, Alberto Mondi, argued that Italy has better wine and fashion, and that French companies are buying out Italian brands. However, Alberto admitted to one strength that the French has over the Italians, and that is marketing. This got me curious, is French marketing really that good? If so, what makes them good?

To assess the efficiency of French marketing, let us first of all look into the existing rules important to marketing and advertising in France. One of those rules is on the language. French must be used for all advertisements. Other languages can only be used with accompanying French translations. This is the most important and established rule in French advertising. The establishment of one and only one language for advertisement within a country is very important in reaching out to the target market and creating brand awareness. The existence of this rule also ensures that everyone understands and are made aware of the brand. Another rule–not exclusive to France–that affects French marketing is cultural and political sensitivity. France is notorious for rather extreme demonstrations which reflects the sensitivity of French people to sociopolitical issues. As in other countries, advertisements deemed offensive may be taken down in France. Another important thing to note as rule of thumb in French marketing is that word-of-mouth is more revered by French consumers, and this is the most uncontrollable aspect of marketing in France.

A Louis Vuitton store in communist Ho Chi Minh City

A Louis Vuitton store in communist Ho Chi Minh City

Having presented rules to remember in French marketing, it is time to examine the characteristics of French marketing itself. According to Simon Silvester, the French are natural marketers even before the term ‘marketing’ was coined. To the French, marketing is a conceptual art, and like how they treat any form of art, French people put great value in its authenticity. Their brands, such as Champagne and Roquefort, do not seem like brands at all. Unlike that of American brands that use catchy–and even funny–names for their brands, the French stick to how the product has been called upon its creation. This gives French products history and origin to attest to its authenticity, which, in turn, leads to the people treating these brands as premium. Another thing we might notice about famous French products is that most of them are feminine. This is because French marketers acknowledge the fact that 80% of brand consumers are women and that the ones who love shopping are the gatherers–not the hunters. As a part of the female population, I would not deny my craving for a bottle of Dior, nor would my mother hold back in spending thousands for a Louis Vuitton. The secret to the female rave on French brands is how French marketers are so much in touch with their feminine side. Despite all these, French marketers take lots of risk. They are not hindered by populism and the fear of their brands being seen as elitist. This results to extravagant brand values and highly committed customers which now characterize many French brands. Another thing French marketers are not afraid of is irrationality. French marketers knew that their consumers dream, and thus marketed these dreams. They chose to focus on the wants instead of the needs of their customers, and listened to the wishes like “I want to look younger” from their customers instead of telling them “you need to look younger”. Nationalism also plays a major role in French Marketing–they knew being French alone is already marketable. As how Simon Silvester put it, “France is the biggest showroom in the world”. France herself is already known for her rich culture and history, and the luxury goods she provides the world. Also, the French protect their intellectual property well. You cannot call it Champagne if it’s not from Champagne, you cannot call it Roquefort if it’s not from Roquefort. The police will reprimand you if the bag you own imitations of French brands.

Going back to the ‘Abnormal Summit’, Alberto Mondi was right in saying that the French are good in marketing. However, it is not only marketing that the French are good at. Upon examining French marketing, it is revealed that France is good in many other fields which they utilized to succeed in marketing. To be honest, I was surprised at how marketing styles actually differ among countries. Indeed, there is much to learn from examining cultures that are foreign to ours. I believe that the Philippines has great potential in marketing–that I will repeatedly say. I wish Filipino marketers would learn from the ways, not just of French marketers, but also of marketers from other cultures. However, I am not urging Filipino marketers to copy foreign styles, on the contrary, I wish to see the day that Filipino marketing has its own mark and identity that the whole world recognizes.





Nomenclature in Marketing and the Wit of Filipinos

There used to be a tailor living in our neighborhood called Mang Jaime. Mang Jaime repaired my bags, shoes, and did some school projects for me ever since I was in elementary until my first year in high school. My father easily befriended him with their shared interest in oldies music and ‘dad’ humor. There are many seamstresses and tailors in our vicinity, but my father chose to do business with Mang Jaime’s establishment simply because of the name of his tailoring shop which was inspired by one of my father’s favorite musicians. The name of Mang Jaime’s tailoring shop is ‘James Tailor’.

You see, the economy of the Philippines is yet developing. From the smallest of businesses to the biggest of corporations, competition is very intense in the Philippine market. Intelligent marketing is needed for the public to notice them, and the Filipino humor is an excellent target for that. Here are some of the funniest names of Filipino businesses that I have stumbled upon in the Internet. Credits to the owners of the photos, and applause to the owners of the businesses.

Food– Filipinos love food as much as we love a good laugh. Fill us with mirth as you fill our stomachs.

Merienda meaning 'snack'. The logo is a photoshopped picture of Chito Miranda, lead vocalist of popular Filipino band Parokya ni Edgar, eating a burger. I heard he reacted to this the traditional Filipino way--with laughter and cussing.

Merienda meaning ‘snack’. The logo is a photoshopped picture of Chito Miranda, lead vocalist of popular Filipino band Parokya ni Edgar, eating a burger. I heard he reacted to this the traditional Filipino way–with laughter and cussing.

McDonald's is #1 all over the world, except in the Philippines where their greatest rival is the local fast food chain Jollibee. It seems they got over their rivalry and decided to sell fish.

McDonald’s is #1 all over the world, except in the Philippines where their greatest rival is the local fast food chain Jollibee. It seems they got over their rivalry and decided to sell fish.

This store is a bakery. I wonder if the baker looks like Brad.

This store is a bakery. I wonder if the baker looks like Brad.

Food cart selling fishballs and other streetfoods

Food cart selling fishballs and other streetfoods

Another food cart, but going so far as adding an inviting "don't be shy, come on!"

Another food cart, but going so far as adding an inviting “don’t be shy, come on!”

What a well-wisher! But something smells...

What a well-wisher! But something smells…

Services– In the Philippines, conversations usually start with a joke and a laugh, even while cutting your hair, repairing your shoes or fixing up the departed.

Caesar's Palace does not offer to style your hair, but Scissors Palace does.

Caesar’s Palace does not offer to style your hair, but Scissors Palace does.

Cut your hair in the style of presidents

Cut your hair in the style of presidents

The boy who trimmed.

The boy who trimmed.

In the true sense of the words.

In the true sense of the words.

With flying colours.

With flying colours.

The Two Dryers

The Two Dryers

Libing' is the Filipino word for 'bury'. Splendid irony.

Libing’ is the Filipino word for ‘bury’. Splendid irony.

My favorite. I've seen this in person. The text at the bottom says "we will HEEL you, save your SOLE, and DYE for you". I would not think twice about this.

My favorite. I’ve seen this in person. The text at the bottom says “we will HEEL you, save your SOLE, and DYE for you”. I would not think twice about this.

The fact that these funny business names went around the Internet proves that nomenclature is an excellent marketing strategy. Aside from inviting people into their establishments, the names of these businesses are pleasantly imprinted in the memories of people who have encountered them. This is also proof that Filipinos have immense potential in business and marketing. The easy wit, ready smiles and ringing laughter is what I like most about the Filipino people. We only have to learn how to utilize it properly for the progress of our nation.


A Little Digression and a Hint of Lament

Let me ride the wave of current events in this post. Does the name ‘Jennifer Laude’ seem familiar to you? That name has been hitting the local news frequently as of late, and the case associated with the person named so had sparked several issues. For those not familiar with the case, please read about it in the following links.

Jennifer 'Ganda' Laude, a woman.

Jennifer ‘Ganda’ Laude, a woman.

To be honest, it was not until today that I thoroughly read the news online for this topic. I first heard about it when I groggily ambled into our house one evening after a tedious day at school. As I was taking off my shoes, my father pointed at the TV rather enthusiastically for a 58-year-old man. “Ayan! Yan yung news kaninang tanghali. He explained, being an avid watcher of news whatever time of day it is. It got my attention, and my mother’s too, as the news anchor introduced the report. With LGBTQ rights as one of the advocacies that interest me most, I paid great attention to the report and so did my parents. Knowing my parents are conservative individuals who come from a generation wherein gender was not as widely-discussed as it is today, I steeled myself up so as not to be offended by the comments my parents might make by the end of the report. I got what I expected when the program moved on to another topic– my mother heaved a sigh and lowered her gaze and my father gave more than his three usual ‘tsk’s. “She’s another victim!” my father exclaimed. I was surprised. “‘She’?” I asked, “diba transgender siya? Jeffrey pa nga yung pangalan niya e.” My father looked at me sternly and said, “Oo, ‘she’. Kasi babae siya, anak. Siya si Jennifer.” I suppressed a tear at that moment as I resumed taking off my shoes, not because I felt defeated but because I felt proud that my father understood poor Jennifer’s predicament. My father continued to lash out regarding the Visiting Forces Agreement, how Americans treat Filipinos and how twisted the American mentality seemed to him. My mother chimed in from time to time to my father’s rambling that evening. I merely listened to them so I could assess their views in my mind. They never attacked the victim for not being ‘straight’ or for being a slut as they did Nicole, the victim of the Subic rape case. They discussed the case, the situation, the motives and such. I was waiting for the spite towards the victim, but it never came. I felt proud, perhaps because I felt responsible for their current views– telling myself that my lectures on gender during dinner has finally gotten into their minds. That night, I slept with a silent congratulation to myself. “Today, my family. Tomorrow, society.” I remember telling myself.

I told that story just so you can have a clue on my reaction when I turned to the internet earlier today. A friend of mine shared this link: https://anc.yahoo.com/news/jennifer-laude-s-fiance-vows-to-ensure-her-killer-will-be-punished-002535941.html telling his Facebook friends to read the letter and the comments then react on the state of Philippine society. It got my attention and I followed his words. I shed tears while reading the letter of Jennifer’s fiance, but I was astonished as I read the comments. All I was able to say as I read the comments was ‘why’, ‘how could you’ and ‘what the f*ck’. I heard that crisp, thin sheet of metaphorical paper on which I wrote the congratulatory note to myself being torn with zest. I wanted to show those spiteful comments to Marc Suselbeck himself and say “you’re right”. To me, those comments were personal blows to which I felt defeated.

Negative comments to Jennifer's case.

Negative comments to Jennifer’s case.

As any other person would, I sought someone or something to blame for the mentality of those people. The media sprang to my mind. The media that shows gay people cannot be taken seriously, that they are meant for comedy shows and mock-pageants, that only the ‘straight’ people can live happily ever after, that the LGBTQ are afflicted by some kind of perversion. It would give me a bit of joy when documentaries, shows and films would feature the lives of LGBTQ people nowadays. However, I think that narrating and delving into the lives of gay people is not enough to raise awareness.

Possibly one of the most sexist commercials I've seen.

Possibly one of the most sexist commercials I’ve seen.

Funny how the media would frequently define what a man is and what makes one manly, and what a woman is and what makes her womanly, how the media explains chivalry and modesty, the strong and the delicate, masculinity and femininity, and segregates them into two boxes to establish that it is what is proper– in other words, how the media draws one single line to separate the sexes in a binary way. Clearly, though, everything– especially gender– is not binary. For sure the media knows it and has acted on it, but merely showcasing is not enough, it has to be explained. I have not seen a single local show or program that has tried to explain the different genders and sexuality– heterosexual, homosexual, transsexual, transgender, transvestite and so on. The people needs to be educated, showing and protesting is not enough if we don’t make the subject clear to them.

As if only housewives do the dishes!

As if only housewives do the dishes!

This brings me to the issue of marketing and how sexist most ads are. In advertisements and commercials, it is always the woman who cooks, does the laundry, washes the dishes and does all the housework, and it is always the man who drives, drinks alcohol and energy drinks, and does all the heavy work, and it’s always “sa mga nanay na nanonood”. As a child, I would glance at my father whenever the host or whoever was speaking would directly address the mother. When I was little, my father decided that he would focus on nurturing me even if that meant he becomes unemployed and does the things only the Nanay would do. I think my father made the right choice because I would not be the person who stands where I am now if he was not able to always stay close to me as I grew up. So what about the fathers who decided to fill in the society-dictated role of the mother? Back when I was a child and even now, I would take offense when that generalization, “sa mga nanay”, is mentioned.

Perhaps, though, now that the media has decided to take an active role on gender education, the mindset of our society regarding gender issues could be shaped, especially through marketing. If we pay more attention to gender sensitivity, perhaps we can reach out and relate to more people. Say, if we minimize gendered marketing, maybe the society would be more welcoming to everyone no matter what their gender or sexuality is.