Commentary: The Moment When The Filipino Audience is Too Closed-Minded and/or Dense to Understand a Simple Advertisement

There are a lot of things to be frustrated about with Philippine entertainment. But maybe one of the things that irks me the most is the closed-mindedness of the Filipino television audience. Everyone familiar with Philippine entertainment knows about the petty network war and the blind loyalty people have to their network.

But what’s even worse is when a simple advertising campaign flies completely over the heads of the know-it-all Filipino netizen population, eliciting some cringe-worthy and eye roll-inducing pronouncements about a network, a show and its star.

TV5 is set to premiere Jasmine the Series this Sunday. The new drama stars Jasmine Curtis-Smith as a fictionalized version of herself who becomes the target of a dangerous stalker. The series aims to be both a dramatized look at the ins and outs of Philippine entertainment and a suspense thriller about one fantard who apparently goes too far.

A fresh and interesting concept for a series.

But it’s on TV5, a network that still struggles to appeal to an unwilling audience, no matter how good their shows can be (and are). Of course, that isn’t going to stop them from trying.

From to

And for part of TV5’s advertising campaign for Jasmine the Series, they’ve decided to be creative. Using Jasmine the Series‘ dramatized reality, a billboard of a product endorsed by Jasmine and Vin Abrenica (or his character on the show, Alexis) was mysteriously vandalized this week.

The first appearance of the endorsement and subsequent defacing of the billboard a few days later is first reported by Wendell Bautista (played by Alwyn Uytingco) on his Showbiz Scoops by Wendell blog and Twitter account.

In keeping with the spirit of the show and its premise, TV5’s official Facebook page also posted the photo with this harmless caption earlier today:

This billboard gave us the creeps. We wonder who did this to Jasmine‘s billboard.

Notice, they specifically link to Jasmine the Series‘ official Facebook page as well.

It’s a fun and creative little way, though unconventional for the Philippines, to promote the upcoming series.

Unfortunately, the simple, yet creative little promo has gone over the heads of most of TV5’s Facebook followers.

(And for anyone who follows TV5’s Facebook, that should not come as a surprise when most people who comment on posts and News 5 stories don’t even care to read the actual story and learn the details before hastily posting opinions that end up being completely discredited by the actual facts they’ve glossed over in the process.)

A sample of some of the comments on TV5’s post:

“halata pakulo lang para sa bago show”



“may masabi lang. . aba matindi?
gusto bang sumikat ng TV5 o gusto lang magpasikat?”

“Baka kasi kasama sa print ‘yan? utak TV5 hahaha”

“Wala naman gagawan ng ganyan eh. Kundi yung sariling network HAHA.”

“Yah right to promote the show ggwa ng issue?! #TV5SUCKS!!”

“kulang sa pansin yon tv 5 hahahah sino naman gaggo gagawa nyan eow aksaya ng oras … hindi naman popular yan jasmin na yan ..”

“Kumita na yan! Wag nio gawing bobong katulad nio ang madlang pipol!”

“Kayo gumawa pero natakot kayo? Whooa im scared”

Wow. Seriously?

You know… Oh boy. Like I said, there’s plenty of things to be frustrated about when it comes to Philippine entertainment. But the worst is how closed-minded the Filipino audience really is. And the reaction to this simple bit of marketing, I wouldn’t even say is the result of closed-minded thinking. Cynicism? Maybe. Or worse, they just don’t get it. It’s gone completely over their heads.

Thank goodness not everyone fails to see a very simple example of guerilla marketing as many comments on the same Facebook post attempt to explain the obvious. But it’s not a surprise people don’t get it when they are used to and eat up the traditional way of promoting upcoming shows. That is, drum up interest by making up tsismis about the lovelife of the star or loveteam of an upcoming movie or television series.

Much of the Filipino audience eats that all up, yet mocks and derides TV5’s attempts at something different. Especially when not only is this little “stunt” creative, it actually fits and will likely be a part of the actual series.

One of the most famous examples of guerrilla and viral marketing was Adult Swim’s simple and otherwise innocuous campaign to promote Aqua Teen Hunger Force in 2007 that led to a bomb scare. Boston authorities mistakenly identified LED advertisements of characters from the series that had been placed around the Boston area as explosive devices.

The company behind that campaign had no intention of perpetrating some kind of hoax. And TV5’s ONE billboard has no other intention than to get people in the mood to watch Jasmine the Series.

It’s not TV5 that’s making the audience “bobo” or somehow treating them like idiots. It’s unfortunately the audience itself who is absolutely not familiar with such marketing ideas thanks to decades of loveteam tsismis promo and ho-hum television content.

Judging from the (HD!) trailer, Jasmine the Series looks very slick and definitely intriguing.

But if one billboard has already flown right over the heads of half the Filipino audience, I fear Jasmine the Series will have an even harder time to make it through to them. Especially with its premise of “blurring the lines of drama and reality.”

Why does this frustrate me so? Because I wish the Filipino audience was more sophisticated. That is, I want the Filipino audience to want something more than the same old, cookie cutter shows and content they’ve been fed all these years. Jasmine the Series appears to be something more. But when the Filipino audience doesn’t seem to be all that open to something more, it’s an unfortunate reality indeed.

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