Pagoda Philippines, Inc. may not be a household name to many, but it still holds a place among older television viewers.
Two of their products received a push during the 80s and 90s via commercial spots on networks such as PTV-4, RPN-9 and IBC-13. The Western-themed commercials of Dragon Katol, a brand of mosquito coil, may be memorable, but none can top the commercials for Family Rubbing Alcohol featuring boxing referee Carlos Padilla, Jr.
Padilla, now best known as the father of singer/actress Zsa Zsa Padilla, is considered among the early celebrity product endorsers in the country. While product endorsement by celebrities is now prevalent today, it was not as recognizable back in Padilla’s day.
Family Rubbing Alcohol remains in production these days, but the commercials with Padilla will always be stuck in the minds of TV viewers across the country. Imagine a boxing fight back then without Family Rubbing Alcohol during a break in the action.
33 thoughts on “In 150 Words: Remembering Pagoda Philippines and Family Rubbing Alcohol Ads”
There was a time that the PBA games had those kinds of ads back then with the old Vintage Sports days on PTV.
However, it is during boxing events that Family Rubbing Alcohol will always be associated with, because of referee Padilla’s endorsement.
It was not only on PTV 4, RPN 9, and IBC 13 where the Pagoda TV commercials were aired, but also on ABS-CBN 2 during “Eat Bulaga,” ABC 5 during “Sine Klasiks,” and GMA 7 during some of their news and entertainment programs during the 90’s.
The Pagoda products really peaked at the time. That was a period when virtually all networks have ads to keep up with. Now only the big-name stations are getting their money’s worth with ads.
Still, sports programming remained the one aspect that Pagoda products benefited the most, until recently.
Their main rival i think though,at that time, was IPI. They were also pretty strong in advertising, especially in TV. However, they were more stronger in the vis-min region where their ads such as Casino, Bioderm, and Efficascent Oil are being carried repetitively (esp. during TV Patrol regional, visayan drama and talk shows, or ABC-5’s regional newscasts).
Those two companies in IPI and Pagoda were really competitive at the time. And even when their advertising impact waned, they still sell well. Still, I wonder how rubbing alcohol products are rarely aired on TV nowadays. It doesn’t make sense.
Family Rubbing Alcohol nowadays is still alive, but they’re advertise instead during ABS-CBN’s variety shows (ahead of the usual commercial breaks).
Wala na yatang commercials ang Family Rubbing Alcohol. Last I saw of that was eight or seven years ago.
In my side, the last time I saw Family Rubbing Alcohol TV commercials was in 2010, during the commercial breaks of NBN (now PTV)’s “Amerika ATBP.”
Anyway, I noticed in a 1982-83 issue of Women’s Journal that even then, there was already Family Rubbing Alcohol, in an omnibus print ad by Pagoda Philippines published in the magazine, along with their other products like Pagoda Cold Wave Lotion, Bon-bon Baby Cologne, Bon-bon Feeding Bottles and Nipples, and Ly-na Cream.
BTW, is Dragon Katol and Family Toothpaste still in the market nowadays? The last time I saw these two was in SM Supermarket Cebu in March 2010.
I’ll go check on them once I go to the grocery soon.
AFAIK, Pagoda Philippines was already advertising on TV even during the 1960s. Ly-na Cream even served as a sponsor of IBC 13’s coverage of the Miss International pageant from Tokyo in 1969. Evidence: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=102569133286273&set=a.102568976619622.1073741832.100005995592929&type=1&permPage=1
CORRECTION: “1970s” and “1979.”
Wow! They’ve been there for a long time.
Aside from Pagoda Philippines and Family Rubbing Alcohol, remember Belman Laboratories, whose product ads were always aired on ABC 5 during “Sine Klasiks” in the 1990s and early 2000s?
Oh yeah. Pidro Worm Killer, among others. Too bad the small companies disappeared from mainstream TV after that.
I even saw 3D-animated TV commercials of Cocksure Herbal Shampoo, Vetcombex, Pidro Worm Killer, Pet Society Soap, Amimycin, Haloa Toothbrush, and other Belman products on IBC 13 in 2010 before and after a cockfighting show starts, and sometimes, before their station ID.
Back in the topic of Pagoda Philippines, I also remembered Clox Liquid Bleach, which was also one of their products. It was first introduced in the 1980s with the tagline, “Tama na ‘yang paputiang ‘yan! Dahil narito na ang Clox Liquid Bleach mula sa Amerika! OX CLOX!” And then, in 2005, a similar commercial was created, this time, with Myka(?) of “Bubble Gang,” and I first saw the ad in 2005 on Solar Sports while watching “Sagupaan.”
Cockfighting shows are not the only ones receiving commercials from minor companies nowadays. Even shows like Ating Alamin, Auto Review and Motoring Today receive sponsorships from other small companies. Other than that, the ads on TV are leaning more towards the big companies.
I guess what had enabled small and medium companies, or what we usually call SMEs, to advertise or make sponsorships on TV nowadays is the profileration of computer equipment and hi-tech technology, because back in the day, during the 1960s and 1970s, TV advertising was limited to big companies, mostly the multinationals (P&G, Unilever, CP, Nestlé, etc.) and some of the countries’ biggest companies (RFM, San Miguel, the now-defunct PBM Steel, Insular Life, etc.)
Such technologies are affordable nowadays, provided that they have the finances to do so, not to mention some help from other people.
Motoring Today’s advertisers are mostly car companies because its producer and host, Butch Gamboa, has ties to these companies. Same with his other shows like Business and Leisure and Auto Focus. All three, by the way, are aired on Solar Sports where Gamboa is a blocktimer, similar to what Willie Revillame and Tony Tuviera are with GMA.
Of course, Motoring Today is a car-oriented show, hence the many car ads. Same goes to Ating Alamin with agri products, and Tukaan and Sagupaan with cockfight feeds. The specialized programs benefit from specialized products.
Anzahl Paints is one of their advertisers, esp. the classic ad with the caucasian girl posing around the car.
It used to be popular. I wonder why they stopped promoting since.
They even have the word WEST GERMANY on it…despite the fact that Germany reunited in 1990…and I saw in the early 90s.
Probably it was produced in the late 80s.
Pagoda Philippines still exists today, and they have a website. Almost all of their products are still sold to this day.
Family Rubbing Alcohol is no longer the best-selling rubbing alcohol brand in the Philippines. It is taken over by Green Cross (older, but not to be confused with the defunct Japanese company) and Casino.
@Jake-jake Jacinto TV advertising on the bigger networks nowadays are limited to big and well-known companies. Belman Laboratories still exists too, and also has a website.
Green Cross benefited the most from TV ads, something Family couldn’t sustain following the Carlos Padilla-starred ads of the 80s and 90s. As for Casino, they benefit mostly from billboard ads.
And we do agree that ads on big networks are now limited to iconic companies. Of course, it has to do with the gulf between mainstream and alternative television, which is why smaller companies get to advertise on latter networks.
There was also a Casino ad from the 90s featuring Ernie Baron where he discusses about the benefits of sugarcane through the alcohol itself.
I saw that too. Casino was also a popular brand then, like its competitor Family Rubbing Alcohol.
Actually, the Family Rubbing Alcohol TV commercials feat. referee Carlos Padilla, Jr. had plenty of (at least five) versions during its run (according to a comment by James Arvin Domingo on the VOTIII page). Here’s the info, as provided by him:
1. The first version came out in circa 1987, featuring the international referee training young boxers in a gym. In the beginning of the ad, he said, “Kasama sa training…,” or something like that. (James Arvin vaguely remembers this.)
2. Version two of that ad series, released in 1988 on grainy film quality, showed the said referee doing some workouts in the gym (“Sa everyday workout ko…), and when referee Carlos relaxed, he used the 70% solution variant of Family. (NOTE: It was in this version that the ever-memorable tagline “Hindi lang pampamilya, pang-isports pa” was first used.)
3. Yet another version came out, this time promoting Family’s 40% solution variant, starring referee Carlos acting (this time) as an office worker, working inside a classy office room. Perhaps this was released in 1989.
4. Then came one more version in 1992. This time, this Family Rubbing Alcohol TV ad version was shot at the Eumorpho Gym. Here, referee Carlos is accompanied not just with boxers, but with female aerobic dancers as well.
5. The last version of the Carlos Padilla-starred Family Alcohol ads, released in 1996 and known as the longest-running Family Alcohol TV commercial for the next 14-15 years, IS the one Ralph posted above. No need to elaborate this version further.
Many of us grew up with the last iteration. The first four pale in comparison to the fifth since it endured the test of time for many years, hence it’s the iconic symbol of the brand.
The hairstyles of the women do not match the time period to be set in 1996…Maybe also 1992-94.
The last incarnation that still runs up to this day was first aired in 1995.