commercial, entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television

In 150 Words: Remembering Pagoda Philippines and Family Rubbing Alcohol Ads

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

  1. James Ty III says:

    There was a time that the PBA games had those kinds of ads back then with the old Vintage Sports days on PTV.

  2. Jake-jake Jacinto says:

    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.

  3. Gab says:

    Family Rubbing Alcohol nowadays is still alive, but they’re advertise instead during ABS-CBN’s variety shows (ahead of the usual commercial breaks).

      • Jake-jake Jacinto says:

        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.

  4. Jake-jake Jacinto says:

    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?

      • Jake-jake Jacinto says:

        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.

      • Jake-jake Jacinto says:

        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.)

  5. James Ty III says:

    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.

  6. BB3221 says:

    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.

  7. Jake J. says:

    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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s