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New advertising tack

/ 10:03 PM May 28, 2013

Television viewers will notice that dominant carrier Smart Communications launched a new set of commercials on all major networks. Even more discerning viewers, however, will notice the absence of the “Live More” phrase that the company has been using for months to paint its rival Globe Telecom in a bad light.

The very catchy “Live More” campaign emphasized Globe’s perceived shortcomings in terms of delivering quality service. The campaign’s main message was that with Smart, you can “Live More,” because you won’t have to deal with dropped calls, delayed texts, and slow Internet speeds—and it worked, to some extent.

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It worked so well that Globe even cried foul when the Live More ads were first launched, saying it was a dirty kind of marketing that the advertising community should not condone.

Our sources say the removal of the “Live More” phrase was a result of the departure of Noel Lorenzana, Smart’s former consumer marketing head who was recently appointed CEO of the money-losing TV5.

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Whether Smart’s new commercials will click with audiences remains to be seen. The bigger question, of course, is whether Lorenzana, reportedly a marketing genius, is the man to bring TV5 to profitability.

As TV networks like to say, Stay Tuned. Paolo Montecillo

Wooing Sea World

Disneyland may not be coming to Philippine shores anytime soon but another world-class theme park could literally start making waves in the country if the Department of Tourism (DOT) has its way.

Daniel Corpuz, undersecretary of the DOT’s tourism planning and promotions division, told Biz Buzz that they have invited Australia’s Sea World to expand to the Philippines. Corpuz said Sea World, which is located in Australia’s Gold Coast and is distinct from the US-based animal theme park with the same name, has been casting its gaze toward Southeast Asia on expectations that rising economic prospects will boost consumer spending on leisure activities.

“Sea World told us to identify some of our priority areas. Then they can schedule a technical visit, hopefully by the fourth quarter of the year,” Corpuz said.

Corpuz said they have initially identified areas in Cebu, namely, Mactan Island and Moalboal in the southwest part of the island. One early concern of the DOT, however, is the water pressure in Cebu. Sea World, perhaps obviously, would need large volumes of water after all.

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Sea World made its name marrying natural attractions with traditional thrill rides. In the Gold Coast, visitors can hop on a roller coaster built around a “storm-ravaged” container port. For the faint-of-heart, there’s always the dolphin show.

These plans are running parallel with the agency’s plan to expand the “It’s more fun in the Philippines” slogan. Corpuz said the DOT was toying with an idea to use the campaign to also promote Filipino artists, in particular, musicians. The DOT is exploring all options, some seemingly pricey but would certainly do much to boost the country’s profile overseas.

“We have had some talks with the organizer of MTV Asia. They are requiring us to put in some $750,000 to bring the MTV Asia awards here in Manila,” Corpuz said. “But these are still in the development stage,” he quickly added.   Miguel Camus

Villarosa reaps rewards

Security Bank president and CEO Alberto Villarosa is on a winning streak.

For one, Villarosa has received The Asian Banker CEO Leadership Achievement Award for the Philippines—an award given only once every three years and considered the highest recognition for individual achievement in the Asia-Pacific banking industry—at the Asian Banker Achievement Awards held in Jakarta, Indonesia, a couple of weeks ago.

Just before that, Villarosa was recognized as one of Asia’s best CEOs by Corporate Governance Asia. Then he led efforts for Security Bank to do its part for nation-building with the unveiling tomorrow of the new “Security Bank Hall” at the National Museum Building.

The new hall—a joint project of Security Bank and the Pambansang Museo ng Pilipinas —punctuates the month-long celebration of “The Filipino Heritage Festival.” The Hall’s maiden feature will showcase three-dimensional works of National Artist Guillermo Tolentino, including sculptures from the Security Bank Collection.

Among the prominent works of Tolentino are the Bonifacio Monument, the University of the Philippines Oblation, the Quezon Memorial Monument and the Sagisag ng Pangulo ng Pilipinas. Tina Arceo-Dumlao

Moving out

Philippine National Bank will soon bid adieu to its headquarters in Pasay City, a large, “very expensive and inefficient”—and some say haunted—office complex built two decades ago when it was still a government financial institution. Now that PNB and Allied Bank have officially merged, the plan is to relocate and unify the headquarters to the Allied Bank building along Ayala Avenue.

The 11-storey PNB building, which has a vast office space of about 6,000 square meters per floor, is valued at PNB’s books at P10 billion but its current market value is P15 billion. But no, it is not for sale. “That’s a very valuable piece of property. Just by selling that, you’ll make money, but you don’t want to sell that, you want to realize more and develop it,” PNB president Omar Mier told Biz Buzz Tuesday.

Eton Properties, the property development arm of the Lucio Tan group, would probably take a look at developing this asset, he said.

What spooks PNB folks the most in occupying the large eerie complex along Diosdado Macapagal Highway, especially the “Kapitan,” are not the supernatural inhabitants of the building but the high electricity bill.  PNB pays about P100 million a year in electricity just to stay in this single complex. So apart from nestling at the country’s prime central business district, which is much better for its corporate frontliners, PNB will save a lot by moving out of Pasay.

Most likely, it’s goodbye PNB Pasay within a year’s time.   Doris C. Dumlao

Rethinking CMIC

A new structure mulled over by the Philippine Stock Exchange for market regulation—currently under a self-regulatory organization named Capital Market Integrity Corp. (CMIC)—was to keep a professionally run CMIC structure under its wings but the appeals would go straight to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), PSE president Hans Sicat explained.

But why does the PSE see the need to restructure CMIC only after a year after its spin-off in the first place? Cost factor is part of the equation especially as PSE has agreed to guarantee the funding for CMIC, Sicat explained. “The problem, as we’re finding out, is that operational cost is over 100 percent of what it was under the old structure and as the CEO, it’s worrisome because we’re not talking peanuts here. In theory, it’s good (to have a separate unit) but it’s a lot harder to manage expenses,” Sicat said, noting that he was the one being grilled by the PSE board for CMIC’s unbridled expenses.

And assuming that the deal to acquire the fixed-income trading platform under Philippine Dealing and Exchange Corp. would happen, Sicat said it was likewise a good time to rethink the structure as these market infrastructure providers move into one big holding company.  Does he think CMIC is being overly strict? Sicat said it was just like how the PSE would always complain that the SEC tended to over-regulate. “It’s not so much the rules. What we have to rethink is the model,” he said.

On the reported overhaul of the five-member CMIC board, Sicat clarified that this was partly due to an order from the SEC changing the definition of independent directorship.  Under the new rules, CMIC’s two independent directors could not sit as independent directors in other listed companies.

As for the leadership of the restructured CMIC, Sicat said Antonio Garcia would likely remain its president.  Doris C. Dumlao

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TAGS: Advertising, Alberto Villarosa, Business, Capital Market Integrity Corp., Globe telecom, PNB, sea world theme park, Security Bank, Smart Communications
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