David Guerrero
Jul 20, 2015

What the data says (and what it means)

From data to selfies to how brands make headway in the Philippines.

What the data says (and what it means)

From data to selfies to how brands making headway in the Philippines.

One of the priceless moments of Cannes 2015 was when TV (and real life) physics professor Brian Cox asked his audience “who is John Hegarty? is he anyone important?”. As the crowd and presenter both let out a quick gasp, Cox went on to argue that ‘overuse of data’ could never be a bad thing, in contrast to Sir John’s quoted assertion that it leads to bland, ‘wind-tunnel’ strategies. Ignore data at your peril.

In light of that, we approach the list of top brands in The Philippines with a good deal of respect. The data says these are the top trademarks in Southeast Asia’s fastest growing economy. They are the brands the nation’s consumers have named as ‘best’ in a variety of categories. So what does the ranking tell us?

Let’s start with the top five: Samsung, Nestle, Sony, Apple and Nike.

The Philippines is the per capita ‘selfie’ capital of the world according to Time Magazine. So all that capturing, uploading and sharing explains the strong showing of the three tech brands Samsung, Sony and Apple (along with Nike to stay looking good). And with a population of 100 million, plus another 10 million living/working overseas, it’s safe to say the need for communication is driving these brands to the top. Which is why you’ll also find Google, Yahoo and Facebook high on the list. The latter has partnered with the survey’s preferred telco, Globe Telecom, to offer phone subscribers free access to the social network. There’s also a lot of Starbucks WiFi being consumed along with its coffee, as any visit to the islands will confirm.

Among larger advertisers in the country, Nestle is doing a good job finishing near the top both regionally and locally (APAC-wide adspend reported at US$588 million) and currently has a spot at the top of the YouTube rankings for the first half of the year. In fact seven out of the top 10 on the YouTube list are local productions—which is a pretty healthy sign.

Heartland brands such as Coke, J&J, Del Monte, BPI (a bank) and Mercury Drug (which doesn’t appear to advertise but simply has a presence in every town and big city neighborhood) take up much of the list. These have all been staples of Filipino life for decades. Familiarity clearly carries some weight.

There are also loads of appliance brands—makers of fans, refrigerators, TVs and cookers. Which presumably have earned their stripes through long exposure—such as LG, Panasonic, Sharp and Whirlpool.

However it’s interesting that McDonald’s has made the list well ahead of local Jollibee. That Air Asia is in the top 40 but the larger local airlines are not (Philippine Airlines comes in at 54 for the nation and 97 overall for APAC versus 40 and 34 for Air Asia). And that Honda in the Philippines gets a higher brand recognition than best-selling Toyota. No surprises, however, about the presence of dominant category leaders such as Lucky Me noodles, San Miguel Beer and Colgate.

Ultimately, the lesson in the Philippines is that we see strong value propositions beating price-only brands; and familiarity winning respect.

What has upended the usual convention though is the rise of tech. These brands, taking some of the top spots in the ranking, have won Philippine hearts with access to connections and community. And unlimited status updates. And cat videos. So yes, we’re (over)using data alright. Professor Cox would approve.


David Guerrero is CCO and chairman of BBDO Guerrero in the Phillippines





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