What’s Your Say on This? – Is Superbrands Philippines Credible?

One of the hospitals I work for proudly displayed the Superbrands seal in its posters when it was awarded one years ago so I assumed then that this award was totally legit and prestigious.

Fast forward to 2015 and here are the awardees:

 

Superbrands 1st certificate awardees 2015
As a Filipino consumer – do I think these brands represent the cream of the crop of Philippine brands? Short answer – NO. Long answer – Not even close. Image from One Lightning Corporation Products Facebook page

 

One of the brands awarded above was the subject of three advisories (cease and desist orders for alleged investment related “modus operandi”) from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Philippines.

The three advisories were issued against that brand in February, March and April 2015. Superbrands handed out its awards May 2015 (see image above). Wow! How did that happen?

In February 2015 (posted in March on the website), SEC issued its first advisory against One Lightning Corporation – a multi-level marketing (MLM) company based in the Philippines.

 

SEC Advisory One Lightning Corporation
As written. Image from Securities and Exchange Commission website

 

I don’t want to go into the details about the One Lightning Corporation (OLC) issue, so just read from the following links:

SEC advisories – you can also see various SEC advisories against other companies

One Lightning Corporation Facebook page – their recent photo stream is made up mainly of memos and documents on how distributors can receive and encash their post dated checks. No more photos of vacations, grand parties and brand new cars?

OLC discussion in Pinoyexchange forum – a good long read on investors’ experiences from when OLC started to when it started having troubles

OLC related news – not so good at the moment

 

This post is about Superbrands after all, so let’s look at the pictures when Superbrands bestowed its awards (yes, there’s actually three awards) on One Lightning Corporation.

Superbrands awards One Lightning Corporation
Superbrands International Chairman Karl Mclean (leftmost) and Superbrands Senior Marketing Manager Kenneth Rocete (rightmost) award One Lightning Corporation as a Superbrands Philippine’s Choice brand. Photo dated May 2015. Image from One Lightning Corporation Facebook page

 

There’s more!

Superbrands awards Yuji Ito of One Lightning Corporation as Oustanding Professional
Superbrands awards Yuji Ito, Chairman of One Lightning Corporation as Outstanding Professional for 2015. Photo dated May 2015. Image from One Lightning Corporation Facebook page.

 

Superbrands awards Kenji Ito of One Lightning Corporation
Superbrands awards Kenji Ito, President of One Lightning Corporation as Outstanding Professional for 2015. Photo dated May 2015. Image from One Lightning Corporation Facebook page.

 

How did Superbrands come up with its list of awardees? Here is what the Superbrands Philippines website says:

According to the Superbrands methodology, each programme has its own relevant council and defines a list of exceptional brands that collectively represent some of the strongest brands in Philippines… individually award each brand on the following main criteria: Reputation & Prestige, Quality, Reliability & Trust, and respectively, Distinction, according to the Superbrands methodology. The lowest-scoring brands are eliminated and the leading brands are awarded Superbrand status and invited to join the programme.

 

One Lightning Corporation is not even a year old (it started its operations in August 2014) and it’s already worthy of “Superbrand” status according to Superbrands methodology? Longevity is one of the grading criteria of Superbrands,according to its website, so this had me confused. I want to be a fly on the wall during the deliberations.

See One Lightning Corporation products page here and evaluate for yourself if any of these products is worthy of being acknowledged as prestigious (if you even heard of them, since brand recognition should count for a lot right?). Don’t even ask my opinion about the prices. PHP 480 for a 15-sachet pack of choco powder? Nah, those high prices are the norm for MLM products anyway, since many “uplines” of distributors have to get their cut.

Based on the list of brand awardees on the first image – is “Boardwalk” the leading apparel brand? Is “Milk Magic” the leading milk brand? Is “My View” the leading television brand? At this rate, I will not be surprised if CD-R King is awarded leading electronics “Superbrands” status, if it had not been already.

Fun Fact: Superbrands also hand out awards for Most Outstanding Local Legislators. In 2014, four of the nine awardees were Bulacan Vice Governor Daniel Fernando (former actor, of “Macho Dancer” fame), Paranaque Councilor Vanessa Lacsamana  (also known as actress Alma Moreno, of “Loveliness” fame) Manila Vice Mayor Francisco Domagoso (also known as Isko Moreno, of “That’s Entertainment” fame) and Cavite Vice Governor Ramon “Jolo” Revilla III (actor, of “My Binondo Girl” fame). It looks like Superbrands is going the showbiz route as well.

It seems that caveat emptor applies not only to specific brands but to so-called “brand awards” as well. I wonder if there is a super brand for “grain of salt”?

 

– thefinancemd.com

 

 

 

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Finance, M.D.

Finance, M.D. is a practicing physician who dabbles in finance and investment. He has passed all three levels of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams, all in his first attempts. thefinancemd.com

2 thoughts on “What’s Your Say on This? – Is Superbrands Philippines Credible?”

    1. SEC Chairman Teresita Herbosa was actually part of a panel discussion in the Philippine Retail Investment Conference last May (I posted about that event btw). I’ll probably blog about her responses to MLM and pyramid related questions (which made up most of the questions) in a separate post.

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