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Biz Buzz: Razon ad boycott

/ 12:16 AM March 24, 2017

The business empire of tycoon Enrique Razon Jr. is one of the most coveted clients of media companies because of its large advertising budget.
Whether one is engaged in broadcast, online or print media, the big spending International Container Terminal Services Inc. or Bloomberry’s Solaire Resort and Casino is likely to be a VIP customer.

But if Mr. Razon’s advertising largesse isn’t already obvious, one glossy magazine is certainly finding out the hard way nowadays.
Biz Buzz learned that this particular publication—let’s call it P.T. magazine—is now experiencing a painful ad boycott courtesy of the port tycoon’s businesses, in particular, his swanky Solaire enterprise.

How did this happen? Well, a few weeks ago, Mr. Razon’s wife, Lizzie, was invited to an event that was held at a new members-only club in Bonifacio Global City. Well and good. As the wife of one of the country’s few dollar billionaires, she definitely belongs in that circle (or almost certainly above it).

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But there was a small problem. We were told that Mr. Razon’s wife took a few pictures of the event in this exclusive venue (let’s call it M.H. club) and posted the photos on social media. Now here’s the problem: M.H. club has a strict “no social media posting” policy.

Mrs. Razon’s posts caught the attention of the big boss at M.H. club, who called her up and asked her to delete her online posts.

We’re not sure if the post was taken down, but what inevitably followed was that the famously short temper of the port and gaming tycoon was stoked and, after the usual crisp cussing, he ordered his firms to stop their ad placements in P.T. magazine. Why? because the closely watched society publication is being run by the same person who managed M.H. club.

The latest word is that Mr. Razon has asked the high society owner of P.T. magazine to “take measures” against the offending magazine/club manager if the publication wanted to see Solaire’s multimillion-peso ads on its glossy pages again.

This makes Manila’s elite wonder aloud: Didn’t the manager know whom he was messing with? Tsk tsk. —DAXIM L. LUCAS

Fake resort vouchers

Some of the country’s most upscale island-beach resorts that are accessible only to the most discerning holiday-makers have been targeted by fraudsters who hawk fake vouchers. Typically, they promise accommodations in plush tropical paradise at prices that are too good to be true.

In January, at least two plush resorts in Palawan—Amanpulo and Huma—separately issued warning about “unauthorized” parties claiming to be able to book rooms at discounted rates. “Please be aware that these fraudulent parties are not at all associated with Amanpulo and that guests booking through such unauthorized brokers do so at their own risk,” one official said.

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The resorts issued such warnings after finding out that some people had been duped into buying fake vouchers. In particular, one woman supposedly related to a local politician from Laguna has been identified as a con artist claiming to represent the resorts.

“She sells fake vouchers. When customers fall in her trap, she asks them to pay her. She then tells some other (people) to invest in her company. They invest using resort/hotel bank account.”

“Months after, investors who do not receive ROI look for her, so she goes into hiding,” said a hotel industry source familiar with the case.

This female con artist, whom we will call elusive entrepreneur or EE, instructs victims to deposit their “investment” in the real bank accounts of the hotel/resort, making them believe she’s a legitimate representative. But she previously made real bookings on behalf of other people, thereby paying for earlier bookings using the victims’ money.

EE has since then been blacklisted by the resorts which have uncovered her scam. She would afterwards use aliases once unmasked, even trying to change her voice when making new bookings. E.E. has singlehandedly earned millions of pesos from this modus operandi but remained scot-free for now. The most the resorts can do is to advice people to be more circumspect in dealing with anyone selling cheap accommodations or soliciting investments on their behalf. —DORIS DUMLAO-ABADILLA

Game changer

The ridesharing industry here has truly changed how many people, apparently including those at the top of the economic ladder, travel.

Even with vast resources at her fingertips, Mariana Zobel de Ayala, manager of Ayala Malls the 30th, said in an event with Uber that she did use the service out of necessity from time to time.
If the mall bearing her name is not clue enough, Zobel is the daughter of tycoon Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, CEO of Ayala Corp., a conglomerate with property, banking, telco, power and manufacturing interests.

That event was to launch the uberHOP carpooling service, which is also available in Makati City and Bonifacio Global City, in Ayala Malls the 30th.

The advantage is the fixed fare of P70. The catch with uberHOP is there are preset pick up and drop off points. Operations are limited to peak hours.

The step seems the latest in Uber’s strategy to make inroads via partnerships with major companies. Last year, uberHOP sealed an agreement with San Miguel Corp. to make the conglomerate’s head office a drop off and pick up point.

Mariana said the deal with Uber was a way to increase access to the mall. For this property, it was not possible to build a larger transport hub given its smaller format.

It’s interesting that these creative steps are being taken to widen access, especially at a time when government policy has turned icy toward ridesharing. —MIGUEL R. CAMUS

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TAGS: ad boycott, Advertising, broadcast, Enrique Razon Jr., online or print media
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