Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Middle/National Bourgeoisie
- Businessmen who are interested in nationalist industrialization
- Capitalist relations of production in our country
- Interested in merging small enterprises into giant industries, citing Japan as a model
- Has a dual character :
· Oppressed by imperialism and has to compete with multi-national corporations but is also dependent on landlord class for loans and business connections
· Complains about graft and corruption but is also eager to join the ranks of capitalists
· Is against imperialism and feudalism but is also an advocate of the establishment of a capitalist state under class dictatorship
- Has potential to take part in the revolution

Examples of National Bourgeoisies:
Jollibee Food Corp.
Julie’s Bakeshop, Inc.
Zesto Corp.
Lamoiyan Corp. (Hapee Toothpaste)

Background of Lamoiyan Corporation
In 1977, Cecilio Pedro founded Aluminum Containers, Inc. and it quickly established itself as the major supplier of aluminum collapsible toothpaste tubes to multinational corporations Colgate-Palmolive and Unilever. But in 1985, a major change in the toothpaste industry occurred when plastic laminated tubes replaced the original aluminum packaging. But Pedro did not close down. Instead, he tried to look for a new business that could still make use of his equipment. With a small capital, he sent two local technicians to Japan to undergo training in toothpaste production. In 1987, he opened Lamoiyan Corp., more commonly known as the makers of Hapee toothpaste. Designed to suit the local taste, priced 30% less than the leading brands, and endorsed effectively, Hapee assumed its position as the No.3 toothpaste brand in the Philippines. Now, Hapee is even exported to Asia, Australia and the Middle East, and is widely known for being a locally-made world-class product.

Analysis of Hapee Toothpaste Commercials

We have seen many faces in Hapee Toothpaste Commercials. Kristine Hermosa and Angel Locsin were once endorsers of the product. But when Lamoiyan started exploring the possibility of exporting to foreign markets, they also started to bank on their product as something that is “world-class”, and this is something they tried to reinforce in their commercials.

A notable example of this is when they got Jasmine Trias as an endorser. Trias was a Fil-Am fresh from American Idol stardom who had a grand homecoming back then. The commercial showed her being toured around the best spots in the country. She sees the Hapee toothpaste and her aunt tells her that it is something we, Filipinos, could also be proud of. After she brushes, the voice over refers to her smile as a world-class smile. Then she says, “Mmmm sarap. Because I’m Filipino, I’m always Happee!”

The next commercial is of renowned theatre actress, Lea Salonga. It starts with colorful and bright animations of the different roles she played in Broadway and West End, until it ends with her role as a wife and mother. Then she says “Lahat ng ito nagawa ko ng nakangiti. Kahit ano pa, kahit saan pa, I have a Hapee smile.” Then the voice over goes “For a world-class artist is a world-class toothpaste”. Then Lea comes in dressed in a baro’t saya, embraces a globe and says “Ipinagmamalaki ko ang Hapee at ang mga Pinoy na tumatangkilik nito,” then places the globe before her, and the camera zooms in on the Philippine islands.

There is also a radio ad of Sarah Geronimo. She says she came straight from her 2007 European Concert Tour and that the climate was very cold over there. But we could also experience that coolness here in the Philippines if we use Hapee Toothgels. She ends with the slogan of “Hapee. Gawang Pinoy para sa buong mundo.”

The unifying factor in all three commercials is that they got Filipino female endorsers who have made it in the international scene. They obviously want to draw the parallelism between these world-class women and their world-class product. But aside from going with whichever world-class celebrity is big at the moment, we have observed a trend. We think that the more they position their product as something that is world-class, the less it appeals to the local market of the masses. And so they try to move over to the more nationalistic side of the spectrum to regain their consumers.

There are many factors that heavily affect what we perceive from a commercial: the people they hire as endorsers, the language they use, their taglines and the other images you see in the commercial. Jasmine’s commercial was mostly in English, which is understandable because she grew up in U.S. and so she’s more comfortable speaking that. Lea’s was in impeccable Filipino. But if you’ve seen Lea in most of her interviews, she uses English almost every time. That’s probably because she’s often based abroad whenever she has a long-running show to do. And if you will listen closely to her in the commercial, her slang shows through. We get the point that they are nationalistic in a sense that they bring pride to the Filipino people, and that in order to easily keep up with the international scene, one has to be a practised English speaker. But if the endorsed product’s only leverage against its multi-national rivals is that it is a local product and their multi-national rivals are doing a better job than they are at levelling with the Filipino masses, then their English taglines, “world-class” statements and English-speaking endorsers make the product appear too “foreign” for a local product and too “burgis” for the target market.

That is why we think they chose to go on a little different direction with Sarah Geronimo. Even though Sarah is world-class, she is also appealing to the masses. But the television ad where she was with polar bears and penguins seemed as if it was still too Western for the local market. What was better though is that in the radio ad, the slogan, which was in Filipino, gave as much importance to the product being local as it was world-class.

The best decision we think they made was when they got Marian Rivera to endorse their product. She is very appealing to the Filipino masses and she speaks our language in a very natural, almost colloquial, way. They downplayed the world-class theme and now revolved around the storyline that Hapee was with you throughout your life, from your awkward childhood days to when you are already in full bloom. The commercial ends with a more encompassing catchphrase of “Hapee para sa lahat.” which we think works better because it makes the Filipino consumers feel that Hapee is first and foremost a product made for Filipinos by Filipinos.

To summarize, the evolution of Hapee Toothpaste Commercial revolved around reconciling the fact that it was a local product and that it was a world-class brand at the same time. The right combination of endorsers and language used in the commercials proved to be a major factor in creating the right impression. As we can see, the national bourgeoisie is really in the middle. It has to compete with the multi-national corporations but somehow it finds itself wanting to assume a place beside its rivals. It is determined to be nationalistically grounded but it can’t help trying to appeal to the foreign market to increase exports. It takes pride in producing a local product but it also aspires to emerge as a successful giant capitalist enterprise in the future.

Sources: NeGOsyo (Joey Concepcion),,
Members: Nerissa Cruz, Camilla Bontogon, Lorraine Chua

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