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first snow in boston, first snow in hand and the journey of first good-byes from the heart

February 2, 2012 1 comment

i have  been monitoring the winter situation in the US almost on a daily basis since november last year. it has been a long wait for the real winter or at least for snow, the unofficial mascot of winter, it came late this winter in the US.  snow only arrived middle of january instead of november or december of  previous years.

having lived in snow-less asia all your life makes the arrival of snow both an exciting and daunting experience.

i remember the first time i saw snow in the US – it was in the early morning of a november month  many years ago somewhere in  new jersey where we stayed in a good friend’s house. we woke up early in the morning as we were flying back out to california. it was a shock, in a good way,  to go out of the house and suddenly saw the whole neighborhood covered with a  fine white snow blanket.  color was absent except for white over every space.  the place had color just the previous day!

the 3-year-old enjoying her first winter

it felt like we were looking at a painting of the place we have been staying in but the artist decided to put an abundant layer of white on the whole painting. it felt like a giant spray paint was used to lay on it an even spread of fine white snow. it was early morning and the painting was untouched and unbroken by anything, just beauty and wonderment in white snow.

it was really spectacular and would have wanted to get a near boil coffee in a mug,  get thick blankets and sit on the porch and enjoy the view.  but we didn’t have time to enjoy it as we needed to catch our flight back to california.

we were going to be driving to the airport and our host was good enough to give us a briefing on what to expect and what to do in driving through snow, it would be our first time to do that. aside from getting the all important briefing on driving through snow,  we also needed to load our stuff into the rental which does not leave us a lot of time.  more than half of the things we had belong to my 3-year-old daughter.

my android phone monitoring snow in boston

my android cellphone and ipod touch have the Weather Channel applications on them, even a widget on the android so that it automatically tracks and  informs me of weather changes in boston.  i woke up last saturday, manila time with tiny specks of snow on the weather channel application on my android phone. i immediately sent an email to boston asking – “have you seen snow yet?”.

i  got an email reply, no words, just 4 pictures probably taken from a cellphone or ipod touch camera.

the reply was yet the most eloquent i ever got on email.  it did that for many reasons beyond the pictures sent to me.  it’s like some invisible melody coming from some place deep.  this email, even without words  talked straight to my heart and my heart spoke back.

like a painting where the artist applied an over abundance of  even white where there was color just a day before

time seemed to have stood still in the pictures.  i wondered if seeing snow for the first time this way, which was very much like what we saw years ago evoked the same kind of feelings i felt then.

the first picture, above, is one taken from inside a window looking out to the scene outside. it reminded me of how many things have changed. things from the inside and the outside.  in this picture life seemed to have changed in a very major way in over  just a day so it seems.  it was a familiar place because you saw it every day but now all of it seems gone,  the same place redefined in a major way. while many have changed, you knew it is the same place.

all of it looking very different and yet it is the same place and knowing that with certainty.  there is no contradiction there. it’s just how time and seasons operate and how it affects us and our lives in ways that sometimes we don’t understand and without permission.  there is comfort there and  mixed with some mystery. that is what happens when you see from the inside looking out.

i felt different things when i saw the picture above. while it seemed solitary and even sad, i saw a kiss, next a wave good bye and soon enough i see footsteps breaking the snow as they move  away from me.

the footsteps will eventually go past my field of vision, beyond what i can see. and that is a good thing. more than what i can see means pathways i was unable to reach now conquered. that is always reason to be happy.

the good thing about pathways is that if it is there for the going, it is also there for the coming.  in afternoons already too many to count, that has always happened. a doorbell, the same kiss and this time a hug instead of a wave good bye happened with regularity.  the unsettled returns to what it was from  the day that started in the morning.

but this is now snow. that is a whole different story altogether.  i had broken snow myself on a pathway just a few times a long time ago. this new pathway and this snow will be broken almost everyday and soon it will be too many to count as well, made by  different footsteps and not mine.

for now, i can only hope that this pathway returns to me eventually, in some future time.  for sure not on a daily basis but at least once in awhile and that will be enough to fill the waiting and the half empty heart with overflowing  joy.

the 3 year old is now 18 and in her hand, this time wearing red gloves, is snow. the picture above.

the snow was pressed , i can see her fingers’ indention on the snow. she went out, scooped some snow in her hand and pressed it to get a feel of snow. that is perhaps to make sure she is really there in boston. it is a good way to experience snow for the first time.  it’s a very natural thing to do – squeeze the snow as if to find out what it is made of. i would have done the same.

it is also a very good way to answer the  question i emailed her – “have you seen snow yet?”.

i immediately remembered that picture of hers, one of my favorites,  when she was 3 when we went to  New York. we had to bundle her up, with multiple layers of clothing as it was her first time to experience winter. coming from sunny philippines all her life, catching a cold is a key concern, 24/7.

for some reason she decided that her little hands held high and her face tilted  with a big smile just like it is in that picture, above, will be the only pose she will ever have in that US trip.  so all her pictures during that US trip had her in that exact pose. we didn’t bother asking her why she chose that pose nor did we ask her to change to other poses.  it made her happy, so we let her be.

why is it that during her first trip to winter in New York when she was 3 that  her hands  were  most prominent and now, 15 years after, she being  18 now, her first encounter with snow, the same hand is also prominent?  it feels like some poetic string sprouted from that time , grew and  traveled 15 years through time to this  moment in that boston picture.

they are the same hands, its just that then they were from a  3 year old in that picture and now from an  18 year old holding snow.

i have read in baby books that the infant is born without yet knowing her body parts and that included her hands. the books said there will come a time when the baby will realize she has hands.

i was there when that happened to her.

it was an afternoon, she was on the bed, after a nice warm bath and she momentarily stopped wiggling her feet.  i saw her whole body sort of freeze, then she stared at her hand, fixed her gaze at it then  moved  her head to  follow it as she moved her hand from side to side. realizing what just happened, i quickly removed the cloth gloves we always put on her (prevents her from scratching her own face or poke her eye). i wanted  her to see her own fingers too.

it happened  exactly the way the baby books described it. it was sort of funny for me as i found the idea of not knowing you have hands sounded ridiculous and discovering it the way she did was even funnier.  she looked silly keeping her gaze at her own hand and moving  her head to follow her hand as she moved it.

while finding it funny, i felt a beautiful warm feeling came over me. i knew she has reached a new milestone in her life., just 3 months old.  it felt good and i felt very honored to be right there to witness it when it happened. it was very special for a father to be right there with your daughter as she crossed a milestone, no matter how small it is.  this was the first beginning of a new phase in her life that i had witnessed and through the years, there were many more firsts that i had witnessed.

a little sadness,  more like missing her that i felt when i saw that picture of  snow for the first time being in her hand.  with oceans separating us, i could only experience it with her through an emailed picture. how i wish i was with her.

i had seen the same  hands do many things for the first time – taking it out of her mouth from finger sucking to holding a nursing bottle to pulling at my arm and pressing my hand when she felt terrified while watching a scary movie to getting comfort as the doctor gave her an injection.

i saw that hand through different times of her life – from her first discovery that she had hands, to teaching her how to use that hand to hold things, to  getting comfort and strength from me, to holding it to give her affection to a wave good bye at the airport.  it has now grown to almost the size of my hand. that boston picture of snow in hand told it to me so eloquently – she is an  adult now and all that i can do for now is to see what those hands are doing  with several time zones separating us through a picture sent by email.

the upside is those hands that she discovered when she was 3 months old, then raised for pictures at 3 years old  and now holding snow at 18 for sure will be doing great things that i will enjoy and be proud of soon enough. there is something  in that a hand meant to touch is being able to touch my heart without physical contact. while i  smile, my heart cries a little.

to bring back some warmth to my heart, i search for one end of that poetic  string and attach it to my heart. then i heard my heart  whisper through that string –  “you are missed badly. and loved completely.  then, now and forever.”

~~ a love letter to happiness ~~
carlo arvisu 

the meaning of imelda marcos to the Ateneo

July 7, 2014 Leave a comment

this picture of imelda marcos attending an ateneo event circulated on the internet yesterday, sunday. the event was the Ateneo Scholarship Fund (ASF) 40th year anniversary celebration at the ateneo. it was held saturday, june 5, 2014.

the above picture immediately got very strong reactions mostly from ateneans – all of it negative. the picture must have gone viral.

by the late afternoon, ateneo de manila president issued an apology for inviting imelda to the university for the event and reassuring the community  :

More importantly, I would like to reaffirm that we have not forgotten the darkness of those years of dictatorship and that we will not compromise on our principles in forming those who would leas this nation, striving at all times to be ‘constantly true’ to ourselves and to our God

in part, fr. villarin’s apology letter reads as follows:

“Please know that in the education of our youth, the Ateneo de Manila will never forget the Martial Law years of oppression and injustice presided over by Mr. Ferdinand Marcos.

We will not be catching up on nation building as we are today, had it not been for all that was destroyed during that terrible time.

While not an official school arm, the ASF has been a source of many scholarships ever since its inception. The event last Saturday was a social one and, in spite of the visit of Mrs. Marcos, the evening was really a celebration of our scholars, the foundation’s scholarship programs, and the generosity of countless benefactors over the last 40 years.

I apologize for any doubts that may have arisen on the mission of the school and the pain this event may have caused. As I hope for your understanding, I would like to assure you that we in the administration have learned our lesson to be more mindful of those we invite in our celebrations.

More importantly, I would like to reaffirm that we have not forgotten the darkness of those years of dictatorship and that we will not compromise on our principles in forming those who would leas this nation, striving at all times to be ‘constantly true’ to ourselves and to our God.”

the Ateneo Scholarship Foundation website does not mention the role of Imelda Marcos at its formation. fr. villarin in his letter of apology mentioned that Imelda was invited to the 40th anniversary of the ASF as the “ASF began with a donation from the proceeds of a Van Cliburn piano concert that was organized by her in 1974

view website here : (http://www.ateneoscholarshipfoundation.com/history)

ASF History

learnings on social media :

  • the ateneo incident is one more example that social media in the philippines has impact
  • the event was on a saturday, the pictures went viral next day, sunday. then the apology letter was released on sunday afternoon.
  • that was very quick – netizens got a response in just a day. this should be a record of sorts
  • it says social media can make a difference
  • it also says it pays that institutions like the Ateneo is connected to social media. ateneo obviously was connected to twitter and its quick response put the issue to rest. that is rare in the philippines. kudos to ateneo!


UPCAT 2015 schedule already out

May 14, 2014 Leave a comment



read here : http://upcat.up.edu.ph/

click here to view:

Please download the following documents and read carefully:

 Note: Download Acrobat Reader to open .pdf files.
 Please print downloaded forms in an 8.5″x13″ paper. 

public safety & preparedness campaign asks drivers to tweet, putting safety at risk

April 3, 2014 Leave a comment

before 6 am of april 2, saw this tweet by @IMReadyPH of GMA News & Public Affairs of the country’s largest TV network GMA 7. it was asking those who were commuting and driving to tweet the traffic situation on the roads they were travelling.




traffic is an on-going problem in metro manila. social media has also been a popular way to get information for many in the city. but the problem was @IMReadyPH was asking those driving to send tweets. driving and texting at the same time is a very dangerous thing to do. tweeting, getting your cellphone and looking at it and spending time, even just seconds to send a tweet can cause major accidents for the driver and those around the person sending the tweet. it means the driver is distracting himself, taking off his concentration from the road and a much bigger risk, the driver takes his eye off the road.

we replied to that tweet of @IMReadyPH and called its attention to what it did with its tweet – asking drivers to tweet is like inviting road accidents to happen. the twitter account did not reply to us. instead, we saw another twitter account replying with a traffic situation where he was. to that, @IMReadyPH advised the twitter account to “be careful”.



reading what the twitter account @IMReadyPh is all about, we were shocked to read that it is “the official public safety and preparedness campaign of GMA News & Public Affairs – for safe and convenient living“. (underscoring ours)

it is ironical or maybe a real failure for this “public safety” twitter account of GMA7 to tweet and ask people to be unsafe by asking them to tweet and drive at the same time.

at around the same time, i encountered on twitter some statistics from the US on the real risks of texting and driving. the data is sobering and clearly states the high risk that driving and texting has. we sent the same infographics to @IMReadyPH but we did not get any response. i thought being a “public safety” twitter account, it will acknowledge the infographics, retweet it to its followers and even apologize for what it had sent out in twitter earlier. none of that happened.



social media, specially a twitter account is very popular among philippine media. twitter has immediacy, you can send out news bits in practically real time plus it has a very wide reach among pinoys. in fact many pinoys get news on on-going news events from twitter at times faster and definitely much better than the traditional media of TV and even radio.

but that should not stay there. media outlets should understand and have the competency on the twitter accounts they set up. this one was for “public safety”, it needs to understand what that means and apply its mandate in every tweet it does.

this one was obviously a failure, a big WAWAM!

dirty little tricks of call center agents for top US bank

March 27, 2014 Leave a comment

i encountered these dirty little tricks recently from a philippine call center agents for a top US bank:

  • putting you on hold for a long time to pretend he is trying to get more info and resolve the issues and get answers to your questions but coming back with nothing. bring up another issue and the same thing is done – put you on hold for a long time and when you call him back gives you nothing. this agent obviously does not know his job. he puts you on hold just to make you feel better.
  • when you ask the call center agent to talk to his supervisor to escalate the call and complain about his performance, the call center agent transfers you to another call center agent, not his supervisor. this new call center agent pretends to be a supervisor. this is done so that the call center agent avoidstheescalation. “escalation” in the call center industry is a bad thing. it means a customer is bring up a problem with the call center agent. agents who get an escalation diminishes his performance rating.

    this is a stock photo, not the agents written about here. source of photo : http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/files/2013/05/24TAlk_Call-Center-300×194.jpg

  • you know the person you are talking to is not a supervisor because he told you so and his tone, demeanor and style of customer handling is not that of a supervisor.
  • the call center agent who transferred you to another agent  is obviously being very dishonest. in my view agents who do this should be fired from their jobs.
  • there is also collusion between the original call center agent and the other agent who took the escalation and pretended to be the supervisor of the original call center. this agent who colluded with the original agent should be fired from his job as well.
  • when asked to talk to the supervisor, the call center agent puts you on hold and says he will be looking for a supervisor. this hold time will be a long time, hoping the customer will get tired of waiting and no longer ask to talk to the supervisor. the call center agent will even go back to you and tell you his supervisor is busy and cannot take the call. this is just to tire the customer out.
  • call center agent gives a fake name when the customer asks for it. obviously nothing will happen when a customer who reports the fake name to his superiors, the person who gave the fake name cannot be traced.
  • call center refuses to give their ID number to customers who ask for them, saying they are not allowed to give their ID numbers to customers when many other call center agents from the same company give their ID numbers. the reason for refusing to give the ID numbers is to be able to hide from their superiors when the customer files a complaint about their performance.
  • call center agent gives a fake ID number. this becomes obvious when the ID number given to you is very different in format versus others from the same company who have given you their ID numbers. its easy to assume that the same company and specially if they belong to the same department will have the same alpha-numeric format for their ID numbers.
  • call center agent gives you answers to your questions and issues on a topic he has not been trained for, not his job and is unable to access the information on your account because he belongs to another department which does not have authorization to access your information.  you know this is so because he gives you wrong answers and theories and when you ask him can you see the details of your account on his computer and he answered “no”, it’s not on his screen because he is not authorized to see those.

after 4 long hours on the phone and talking to 5 different departments in the bank (fraud, credit card, personal checking and savings account, bill pay and online banking) and no resolution to the issues plus it is obvious the agents you are talking to are incompetent, you give in, exhausted and very frustrated and just give up and hang-up.

we took the matter to twitter, sending messages to the bank. the bank also emailed a survey form specific to the experience and we filled it up with very much what was written here plus names and ID numbers of the call center agents. to us at least 2 agents should be fired from their jobs and everyone on that call should be coached (“coached” means reprimanded and re-trained).

these are call center agents from one of the biggest banks in the US and in the world. we have called the same bank before over many years and it has never been as bad this latest experience. we think this bank probably changed call center companies in recent years, hence the change in quality of service.

we are also sure this call center is a philippine based call center. the accent of some of their agents betray that they are actually filipinos. that makes it really sad. the philippines is one of the leading if not the leading country in the call center business in the world and this kind of experience and quality of work does not speak well for the philippine call center industry.

and that is over and above the negative impression these call center agents create for the bank that they service. these agents are supposedly employees of the bank. we do not know the company name of their call center company, we only know the name of the bank they service. it creates a negative image for the bank.

at the end of the 4 hours of pain and frustration, we end up not liking the bank and philippine call center agents.


note : photo in this article is not the call center agent/s written about in this posting. source of photo : http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/files/2013/05/24TAlk_Call-Center-300×194.jpg

when use of a celebrity in TV ad fails – the new security bank’s TV ad with Megan Young

March 26, 2014 Comments off

use of celebrities in ads is a huge trend in the philippines, it has been for decades years now.  almost all the ads you see in TV, print, billboards and hear on radio use a celebrity. use of a celebrity in advertising is the go-to ad concept for most if not all the advertising agencies in the phiippines. we do not know how that happened or if that was instigated by ad agencies in general or clients in general. that is an interesting question but it is for another article in the future.

for now, we are interested in this particular celebrity TV ad by security bank using megan young.

megan young won the Miss World beauty title in 2013. she has brought so much glory to the country for this win
specially when it has been a long time when the country has won a major international beauty contest title.

beautiful women and men have been big choices for philippine advertising agencies specially if they have gained celebrity status. the usual choices are TV and movie stars and big sports heroes like manny pacquiao but beauty queens specially someone like young who has won a major international beauty contest classifies her a celebrity endorser.

security bank is a medium sized bank in the country. it has a good reputation among institutional or business bank clients but not as popular and in fact has very little mass consumer clientele like the top 3 major banks. you would know very few among your friends and relatives who bank with security bank.

security bank is not a big advertiser among the banks. it makes sense that it is not since its clientele, specially among mass consumers is not that much but it has been known to try to get into attract mass consumer clientele from time to time in spurts and in very limited efforts in the past.

this advertising with megan young represents a giant marketing effort for security bank. it has been many, many years since it had released any kind of advertising and in this magnitude. it has been airing heavily in the past weeks.

in marketing this megan young TV campaign represent what is called a brand relaunch where the bank re-positions itself and puts across a “new bank”, a new security bank.

based on the TV ad, security ad wants consumers to “switch to the new security bank, you deserve better“, the tagline of the ad. the “new security bank” offers the following new services : “priority queuing”, “exclusive privileges” and a “relationship manager” with all that intending to give clients better, more efficient, faster and personalized banking services. the ad shows young going into the bank and talks to the camera about her “new relationship” and she breezes through the bank services and gets attended to by a handsome relationship manager who wears a suit, no less.

well, that part of the handsome relationship manager in a suit is for certain an over promise and the roominess and good ambiance of the security bank branch featured in the TV, we do not think there is one single branch of security bank that has that kind of employee and branch design. but let’s pretend that is not an issue in this ad for the moment.

the ad also shows megan young being served coffee by the relationship manager. another over-promise that we should pretend we did not see in the ad and something we should not expect in an actual security bank branch.

the issue we have on this TV ad is much more than the over-promises of what a security bank branch looks like and what happens to customers inside the bank, what we are making a point on is the choice of the talent in the ad, the celebrity endorser and what the promises of what a new security bank is all about.

first a side bar – technically, security bank as a whole has not been changed. it’s not really a “new security bank” but its a just new product that security bank offers to well-off clients. this “new relationship” or the “new security bank” that is being talked about in the ad will be given to a select number of clients – those who have a minimum P100,000 deposit in the bank, not to all clients of the bank. because it is offered only to a select few of its clients, it is just one product in the bank. do not expect to get the kind of servicing in a security bank if you are an ordinary bank client.

this new product of security bank  is being pitched to young bank clients, the yuppies given the use of young who is herself young (pun unintended) and the ad uses references to “relationships that are not complicated” a modern-day reference to social media (facebook) that young adults are familiar with and most likely very few older adults know about.

from there the question comes up on the defined target market of the ad – young yuppies as we would think very few of them can afford to have a remaining balance of  P100,000 in their bank accounts. they can afford to buy an iPhone worth P30,0000+ but hardly will you find people at that age bracket having that large amount of cash in their bank accounts.

now back to megan young.

the point of this “new security bank” but actually the new security bank product is that it promises to give its bank clients “special treatment”, something that clients of other banks and other security bank clients will not or do not get. what it is saying is that bank clients get the regular treatment of having to line up, no privileges and no relationship manager tending to your personal needs (including coffee being served). it is saying many bank clients get the regular treatment, not the special one.

and that is where the choice of megan young as talent in this tv ad shows a disconnect.

megan young IS A VERY POPULAR CELEBRITY. everyone knows her. for being a celebrity and this kind of beauty with an international beauty title, she WILL get special treatment from any bank or in fact any establishment like restaurants, department stores and malls even if she does not do anything, ask for it or have P100,000 with her to open a bank account with. getting special treatment, even the priority ones is part and parcel of the benefits one gets in being a celebrity and being an international beauty titlist.

we are willing to bet that if she enters any branch of any bank, the branch manager will most likely stand up from her desk and attend to her. she is that recognizable and that is what we do for celebrities.

using her in this ad then destroys the whole concept of the “new security bank”. if the bank used a regular person, a non-celebrity in the ad and the ad proceeds to show this regular person gets special treatment in security bank, then the ad works and delivers the message very well.

the point of relationship products like this is that one gets “special treatment” even if you are an ordinary person but has P100,000 minimum deposit. a regular person gets special treatment, that is the idea.

in this ad and with the new security bank product, the choice of a celebrity endorser destroyed the very idea of the new product. it’s a WAWAM!


 ~~~ mindscape landmark ~~~
carlo arvisu









BIR’s public shaming of doctors print ad – brilliant ad, disparaging to doctors & it can be banned from publication

March 5, 2014 Leave a comment

this is Part 2 : BIR’s public shaming of doctors print ad is disparaging to doctors and the profession

this print ad has gotten thousands of reactions from pinoy netizens on the very first day the ad was published. not surprising, many of the negative reactions, angry even came from doctors themselves. non-doctor netizens also gave a lot of reaction to the ad almost in the same 20140304-090954.jpgintensity and content – some liked the ad, others didn’t.

this i think is the first public shaming ad published in the philippines. it is the first of its kind that we have seen in our entire career. there have been other shaming activities  done in the philippines but not an advertising campaign like this one.my non-scientific scanning of the reactions to the ad i think are mostly negative where they are saying they do not like the ad. this is not surprising. i think the negative reaction to the ads both by doctors and non-medical netizens is a result of the tone and concept of the ad – it is public shaming of a group of people.

we have heard  alfredo lim’s shaming campaign against frug pushers when he was interior secretary where he spray painted the homes of suspected drug pushers to identify the occupant as one.

“shaming” of tax cheats is one of the intended objectives of this print advertising campaign. the question of course is will shaming the doctors get them to pay the appropriate taxes?

the number 1 objective of any ad campaign is to get the target audience to take action after seeing the ad. volume sales, market share increase or attitude change are the goals of advertising. for this particular ad, the intended action is for doctors to finally pay the right amount of taxes on their earnings.

another objective of ads, in the top 2, is to create awareness. this ad has done extremely well on the awareness part as we can see that it is the key topic talked about of almost everyone exposed to media, both in the internet and traditional media. the ad and accompanying controversy it 20140305-122241.jpgcreated led to it being front page headline news at the Philippine Daily Inquirer on March  4, 2014 .

the kind of exposure it got and the resulting discussions obviously had this ad over-achieving its objective of creating awareness on the importance of properly paying your taxes. we think on this alone the BIR and the ad agency that developed it should look at the ad as a huge success.

high awareness is the first step before action. with awareness very high, will the doctors take action and stop cheating the BIR and start paying the correct taxes?

that is actually left to be seen. we suppose the BIR has some way of tracking whether this public shaming ad campaign will generate more taxpayers to pay the right amount of taxes. an increase of 10% will be a great achievement.

filipinos are big on reputation. things like protecting  or preserving the good name of the family is important to us as a race. this is even more important for doctors. doctors get their patients on the basis of their reputation. we know of names of doctors who are good in certain fields of specializations.  while they have not been specifically named in this ad, we think this ad will have the effect it intends to achieve and will succeed on getting more doctors to pay the right taxes.

aside from avoiding an even indirect slight to their reputation as doctors, this ad will signal to the doctors that the BIR in the next tax filing will closely scrutinize the tax returns of doctors. the BIR with this ad has put the doctors on notice. that should instill some kind of fear on the doctors. we won’t be surprised if many doctors have hired accountants in the past days to have their tax returns professionally and accurately prepared in the next tax filing which is in a few weeks time.

the doctors feeling shamed and insulted by this ad has merit. i think the ad do disparage the reputation of doctors. the key problem of the ad is that it does not have a disclaimer that not all doctors are tax cheats. all it has is this fictitious name of a doctor and this one ad talent appearing to be a doctor. the ad even without directly saying it generalizes ALL DOCTORS to be tax cheats. of course not all doctors are tax cheats.

releasing just this one ad first obviously singles out doctors. we only get to know that there are two more versions only from news articles on interviews done by BIR chief Kim Henares. the ad could have just featured the “generic tax cheat”, not identifying specific professions and that could have removed the problem of disparaging the practitioners of the medical profession. but if that was done we do not think it will be as provocative and effective as this ad is.

PMA president: ‘We are not tax evaders’

the print ad actually talks about doctors as tax cheats which has nothing to do with their medical skills and reputation.  but regardless, it is understandable that the doctors feels slighted by the print ad. for people who belong to a profession where reputation gets you business and your livelihood, even a indirect insult can have the same intensity.

>> more to come <<

~~~ mindscape landmark ~~~
carlo arvisu

Read here :

Part 1 : BIR’s public shaming of doctors print ad is brilliant, it should win an ad congress award for excellence

BIR’s public shaming of doctors print ad – brilliant print ad, disparaging to doctors & it can be banned from publication

March 4, 2014 Leave a comment

Part 1 : BIR’s public shaming of doctors print ad is brilliant, it should win an ad congress award for excellence


the BIR just launched what i call the “public shaming of doctors” (PSoD) ad campaign, above is the first print ad of the campaign. this doctor ad apparently is the first of three ad executions, with the accountants and online sellers being the next to be featured in two more ads. last night, i saw on GMA7 the TV version of the PSoD using accountants. we are assuming there are  2 more TV ad versions to come with doctors and online sellers.

the print ad has these elements :

> it features a doctor literally sitting on the shoulders of a teacher in a classroom setting

> the concept revolves the idea of tax cheats are a burden to honest taxpayers, in this ad represented literally as being put on the shoulders of the teacher. we all know that teachers in the philippines are not paid very well and yet their jobs are very important, very difficult and impacts the nation specially the youth in very significant ways. doctors on the hand we know to be high income individuals. we know that first hand through the professional fees we pay them in every visit to their clinics and when we need to pay hospital bills.

- the ad even includes a computation of the salaries and taxes paid by doctors and teachers where we see in very glaring numbers, shocking even that the doctor who earns much higher pays much lower taxes than the teacher.

- the ad ends with the tagline : “When you don’t pay your taxes, you’re a burden to those who do.”

from an advertising point of view we think this print ad is brilliant! we think it should win an award in the next ad congress.

> the ad’s message is very provocative. provocative is one of  the top 3 qualities that you want in an ad to be. it is in the top 3 by which you measure the effectiveness of  an ad. the responses and reactions it has been getting in social media and traditional media, both from doctors and citizens have been massive, for or against the ad, a good indicator of provocativeness (sic) for this kinds of ads.

>the ad concept and the visuals communicate the message very well and with ease. just by looking at the visuals, you understand the message of the ad.

the only push  back we have and this it is a minor one on this ad is the execution of the ‘burden”. we thought the ad could have been more effective if it showed more ‘burden” being suffered by the teacher.

i am guessing the ad agency thought of it but they probably decided against it as they probably knew it will be a controversial ad and pusing the burden more in the visuals might make the ad too much to bear for the audience.

> the strategy of the ad was spot on – the impact of tax cheats on taxpayers is real and full of credible and strong insight. the ill effect of the actions of tax cheats is not just on the government but also on individual citizens. being the weak link makes everyone else in the link weaker and burdened.

> the choice of the doctor and teacher for this comparison was brilliant and very effective, quickly understandable to the audience. almost by rote, we know that doctors are one of the highest paid in the country and teachers are one of the lowest paid.

we know of the doctors as we have our own experiences to base it on. for a visit to the doctor, we pay anywhere from P400 to P1,200 every consultation depending on the specialization and reputation of the doctor. those consultation fees are nothing when we or members of our family are hospitalized or God forbid goes through surgery. surgery fees of doctors range from P5T to P200T depending on what the surgery is.

our own experience also tells us the doctors we see almost always do not voluntarily issue official receipts after a consultation. they issue one only when we ask.

we know of teachers as we have read about them – on how their pay is so low and yet they do a lot of hard work, their roles important and even critical to nation building and to our children.

the doctor versus the teacher simply put gives an excellent and concrete contrast for the purpose of communicating disparities and burden.

>> more to come <<

~~~ mindscape landmark ~~~
carlo arvisu


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