From the Web site of Campaigns and Grey:
“I’m a great believer in learning new skills and looking at things in a fresh, new perspective, so that the traditional becomes untraditional.” – Yoly Ong, Group Chairperson
We now see the irony in those words after Ms Ong launched into a monumental tililing rampage (google the term!) that put her firm — and the name of its venerable Fifth Avenue, New York City parent company, the Grey Group — squarely in the cross-hairs of the best of the Philippine blogosphere and on-line media. No less than the Warrior Lawyer, Stuart Santiago, Jojo Robles and the MomBlogger weighed in on the spectacle, and in many words collectively had this to say about Ms Ong:
Poor Ms Ong. She made the mistake of leading Campaigns and Grey into the mine field of gaffes that is the Second Aquino Administration.
An excerpt from an interview with the Business Mirror sheds some light into the sort of administrative “expertise” Ms Ong and her team were dealing with in Malacanang:
Ong: Tulungan nyo nalang kami and we’ll fix it after.
[Campaigns & Grey chief of corporate affairs Marilyn] Villapando: Saka nalang tayo mag-usap. Basta [Undersecretary Vicente “Enteng” Romano] only said, “Basta ‘di naman ito libre, we will make sure that something….” There was no more talk about money because at that time…
Ong: Parang panic time na. Siya [Enteng] ang nagpa-panic. We tried our best naman, that’s why we came up with five [adcepts] from different groups namin. Initially our primary market was North America. And the initial was gawan muna ng exploratory concept for North America, and later we will do one for the rest [of the markets]. But I knew they only had P200 million for advertising…
I do wonder though: why the panic? It’s not as if the Philippines lacked a working tourism brand. Then again, perhaps it is precisely because there was one that this urgency to come up with a new one and bury the old one filled the halls of the country’s tourism department.
For that matter;
The Aquino Government destroys brands.
Indeed. It destroyed brand “Aquino”, destroyed brand “People Power”, destroyed brand “Enteng Romano” and his “e-mandirigma” mystique. The government of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III is, in fact, in the process of destroying brand “Philippines” (not that the Philippines had much of what can be considered to be brand equity to begin with). Where else does the Yellow Army start in its campaign of brand destruction than on the nation’s pitch to foreign tourists — first in the botched rescue operation that resulted in the deaths of eight such foreign tourists, and now this, our brand turismo itself.
Quite simply, Noynoy and his government are uncool. And in an industry like advertising where “cool” is everything, it’s just not surprising that a firm like Campaigns and Grey loses cool appeal simply by associating itself with a government unprecedented in its ability to subtract rather than add to the collective coolness of human civilisation.
Behold, the latest casualty of the Reign of Yellow: the Grey Group dragged from its tony Fifth Avenue neighbourhood in New York City into the tacky wanna-be world of Philippine politics. Nice job Ms Yoly Ong. At least you still have your Harvard degree. Lucky for you, the lack of class you exhibited in your Star piece will most likely be lost in a society that struggles to grasp the concept of class.