Tuesday, March 4, 2008


(The end tag of the "It's Jollibee Good! TV Commercial)

It will probably be remembered as the TV commercial that launched the career of actress Carmina Villaroel. But for those of us who were present at that sales rally in June,1988, it was a marketing coup of sorts against our rival McDonald's.

During the latter part of the '80's,the rivalry between Jollibee and McDonald's was heating up,with both sides claiming supremacy over the Philippine fastfood market. By 1988,we had more than 30 stores while McD had probably less than 20.

But they,through spokesperson Greg Yang, always boasted of having higher sales per store. Their argument was if we matched them store by store they would come out on top.

Bobby Sumulong, our Marketing VP then, had a ready answer to that argument. He said that if you computed sales on the basis of floor area, our Jollibee stores, which were usually smaller than McD's behemoths, would definitely be generating more sales per square meter.

One arena where the Battle of the Burgers was closely fought was in Marketing. For instance, when McDonald's hired Martin Nievera to do a commercial, Jollibee countered with a TVC featuring Martin's close friend,Gary Valenciano, in what we call the "Gotta Bite" commercial.

Whenever McD had a novelty promo using their mascots,we came up with our own featuring all 8 mascots. When they saw that we were making brisk sales with Jollibee Spaghetti,they retaliated with their own McSpaghetti,which we found out was only served here in the Philippines.

McDonald's had an advantage when it came to launching TV commercials because they could just easily use any canned material from the USA. They also didn't have to figure out what campaign would work because any marketing effort would most likely have been tested somewhere else in the world.

At about this time,they had a very catchy slogan: "Good Times! Great Taste! McDonald's" which, besides being easy to remember and recall, was a direct attack on a strength we at Jollibee claimed:i.e., we had better tasting products than they had.

We had capitalized on this by highlighting that McD's taste was bland and not suited to the Filipino palate. For several years, we had used the tag line "Jollibee...Langhap Sarap" with great success.

Our advertising agency, Basic Foot,Cone & Belding (Basic FCB) thought it was high time we became more aggressive in the fight for our customers top of mind. They came out with, not one... but two,TV thematic ad concepts which revolved around the tagline:"All the good things you hunger for..IT'S JOLLIBEE GOOD!"

The accompanying jingle was easy to remember and memorize, such that even after 20 years I can still sing it :

If you long for something good
It stays in your mind
If you want it so much
You crave deep inside
And when you get it
It's Jollibee good
When you get it
It's Jollibee good
All the good things you hunger for
It's Jollibee good!

In a subtle way,we had counter attacked McD's "Good Times! Great Taste!" and come up with a catchy line of our own;"It's Jollibee Good!"

Needless to say, when the commercials were aired on TV and the supporting media blitzes were launched, we left McD eating our dust, so to speak.

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