Thursday, March 15, 2007

32. My First Brand Group

The brand group that I was assigned to was Toilet Soaps. My new boss, Ato Maningat, was probably three years older than I was. He was a product of one of the better-known business schools in the US, the Wharton School of Business. His undergraduate schooling was with the Jesuits and he remembered one of my brothers in school as being his classmate. He struck me as being on the serious side and slightly aloof. Despite his fine academic credentials he didn’t seem eager to flaunt it and had a rather unassuming quality about him that was reassuring. I was beginning to feel out of place because everyone here seemed to have awesome academic backgrounds.

Joe Montemayor, Ato Maningat, Peter Bachelor, Tony Marquez, Ed Roa

There were two other guys in the group; Boy Trillana, a brand supervisor just like me and a newly hired management trainee, Joe Montemayor. Another brand supervisor, Tony Marquez, whom I would discover to be my cousin would join us a month later. My cousin was a graduate of Denver University while our marketing assistant graduated from New York University. When Joe left the company Fredrick Dael replaced him. Fred, a graduate of Silliman University in the Visayas was the loquacious sort and would volunteer an opinion on just about anything if you allowed him to. This earned him the sobriquet “The Dumaguete Lip”. As it turned out he really did have something to say. He became an executive of Pepsi Cola International as regional head of Asia and of the latest account he headed IslaCom, a telecommunications company.
Boy Trillana, who was there ahead of us all, though not from a stateside university, was a product of De Lasalle University. Lifebuoy was his brand. He had his hands full thwarting the relentless offensives of a major entry by P&G. He was the right man for the job. Determined and aggressive he staved off their swamping efforts and gave competition a run for their money. He had a curiosity about advertising and knowing that I have had experience in it he kept asking me about it every time he had the opportunity.

After PRC, he and his wife, Sonjie de Ocampo, also a former brand manager in the company, embarked on marketing ventures with Chris Barber-Lomax, our marketing director who stayed in the Philippines after his retirement from Unilever. Boy and Sonjie had other successful business investments one of which was the ownership of Lintas (post Hemisphere affiliation) one of the largest agencies locally. A fairly recent venture of theirs, Go nuts Donuts seem to be off to a good start. Other achievement of sorts is his stable of fine race horses and his appointment as the head of the Philippine Racing Commission at one time.

Manoling de Leon succeeded Hank Nijk as Advertising Manager of PRC. He had within his group the Media, marketing intelligence and Advertising Budget sections. Tito Claudio was the Media Manager, Nilo Santos was in charge of marketing intelligence while Mel Lagman was the budget supervisor. Rene Ranjo was in charge of marketing services which at that time was limited to field promotions. Some of the marketing trainees at that time were Bong de Guzman, whose dad was the mayor of Baguio City at that time, Jes Asuncion, Hernan Reyes, whose family owned the popular UFC banana ketchup and joining later, Josie Gregorio, one of the few female marketing recruits then.

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