Love All Kinds of Love: Did Bench Create a Fake Controversy With its Gay Couple Billboard Ad?

The “Love All Kinds of Love” ad campaign by Bench (a Philippines’ based clothing brand) is heating up social media with its “defaced” billboard featuring a gay couple. Was the billboard vandalized? Was the billboard censored? or Did Bench marketing staff do the defacing themselves to generate controversy? Is other words, is #PaintTheirHandsBack just an elaborate gimmick?

The Philippines is home to more than 100 million people, so there must be a lot of gay people in the country. Fashion is also one of the industries that seem to be gay tolerant. Bench, a Philippines based clothing brand that now has an international presence, unveiled its ad campaign just in time for Valentine’s. The campaign, titled “Love All Kinds of Love”, featured platonic love between a grandmother (veteran Filipina actress Gloria Romero) and her grandson, and romantic love between straight, gay and lesbian couples.

This was the gay couple ad photo. It features Vince Uy and Nino Gaddi Continue reading Love All Kinds of Love: Did Bench Create a Fake Controversy With its Gay Couple Billboard Ad?

Philippines’ Best Valentines Deals for 2015

Valentine’s Day is coming. For many businesses, this is the time to make a lot of money from lovestruck consumers. Fortunately, there are still good deals out there. Finance MD has chosen the best ones for Valentine’s.

I looked for the best Valentine’s deals out there. From champagne, to concerts, to peanut butter, and even the ‘red room of pain’ – I have it all. Here are the best sales, promos, freebies, contests, etc. in my opinion:

Continue reading Philippines’ Best Valentines Deals for 2015

The ‘I Love You’ That Cost Billions

In 2000, when people were still naive enough to open email attachments from unknown sources, the ILOVEYOU virus (also known as “I Love You” or “Love Letter” virus) quickly spread and cost billions of dollars in damages and repairs.

It’s only Wednesday but it’s throwback time! Let’s go back to the year 2000, when people communicated online primarily via email. The virus originated in the Philippines, then spread to Hong Kong, to Europe and finally to the United States. The White House, Congress, the FBI and the Pentagon were all affected. The State Department was forced to disconnect its computer systems from the internet, according to a spokesman. The damages was estimated at US$ 5.5 Billion during its first week of spread alone. The final cost (including system repairs) was estimated at US$ 15 Billion.

 

I Love You Virus
“I Love You – and I won’t think you’re stupid for actually opening this attachment.” – is probably the long form of the message.  Image from people.carleton.edu

 

The author of the virus is alleged to be a Filipino Continue reading The ‘I Love You’ That Cost Billions

Sex Sells: SM Cinemas Will Miss Out Big on Fifty Shades of Grey Ticket Sales

Fifty Shades of Grey is one of the most highly anticipated movies this year. The movie will hit theatres on February 11, 2015 in the Philippines. However, the biggest cinema chain in the Philippines, SM Cinema, will not be showing Fifty Shades of Grey in its theatres as it follows its traditional rule of not exhibiting R18 movies.

Fifty Shades of Grey, a movie based on the book of the same name by E L James, will hit theatres in most parts of the world this month.

Gif of Bathroom scene in Fifity Shades of Grey movie
Fifty Shades of Grey will be “unveiled” to worldwide audiences this Valentine’s week. Image by popsugar.com from the official movie trailer

 

Fans of the movie in the Philippines will be lucky to see it earlier than most since the movie will open here on February 11, ahead of its February 13 release in the United States.

Decades ago, Hollywood movies are usually shown in the Philippines a few months after their American releases. Due to movie piracy, that practice has changed. Continue reading Sex Sells: SM Cinemas Will Miss Out Big on Fifty Shades of Grey Ticket Sales

The Big Mac Index and Purchasing Power Parity: Which Big Mac is Actually the Yummiest?

The Economist invented the Big Mac Index in 1986 to better demonstrate Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). But does The Economist actually eat the Big Macs in their study? The Big Mac Index assumes parity in value; but I disagree, because Big Macs around the world are not equal in yumminess.

What is PPP? Investopedia defines it as:

An economic theory that estimates the amount of adjustment needed on the exchange rate between countries in order for the exchange to be equivalent to each currency’s purchasing power.

In layman’s terms; if a basket of goods and services is worth US$100 in the United States and an identical basket of goods and services is worth only US$ 77 in the Philippines at current exchange rates, then the Philippine Peso (PHP) is undervalued by 23 %.

Unfortunately, many people in the world no longer use baskets, and deciding which good makes it to the basket may be contentious. Since McDonald’s (see MCD:US latest stock quote), the company that serves Big Macs, can be found in most countries, using the burger as a proxy for the “basket of good and services” makes sense. Of course, the Big Mac method is not accurate; but according to The Economist, this makes the PPP theory more “digestible”.

Digestible? Did The Economist staff actually eat the Big Macs? Do The Economist writers actually eat at McDonald’s? In my opinion, some Big Macs are yummier than others.

 

Here is a rundown from Big Macs from around the world, and a depiction of the countries’ under/ over-valuation against the US Dollar:

 

Big Mac from New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America. Average Price: US$ 4.79

Big Mac in New Haven Connecticut USA
Do students in Yale eat this New Haven Big Mac while debating the merits of the Big Mac Index? Image from spaceofjase.com

My friend spaceofjase liked this burger from New Haven. My opinion: I ate an American Big Mac in Chicago. As the city is the location of franchise no.1, Chicago didn’t mess this up for me. The US Dollar is our base currency here by the way. Continue reading The Big Mac Index and Purchasing Power Parity: Which Big Mac is Actually the Yummiest?

The Australian Open Finalists’ Outfits: The Sponsors Tell You to Buy Them Now!

The 2015 Australian Open Men’s and Women’s Singles Finalists are playing for the championship. Get a piece of the action by wearing their outfits. Don’t know where to buy them and how much they cost? This post will help you.

For two weeks, we have seen tennis players at the 2015 Australian Open wear the same outfits over and over again. There’s a reason for that. There’s also a reason why those clothes (or variations of them) are available in stores now. That reason is for you to buy them. That’s marketing for you.

Some outfits looked great. Some outfits looked hideous. At the end of the day (or tournament in this case), only the outfits of the tennis stars matter. That’s why they are paid the big bucks.

Federer and Nadal obviously got the best kits from Nike. Does anyone want to buy the outfits that handed Roger and Rafa early eliminations? Nah, I’ll pass on those. I’m buying what the winners were wearing.

Here are the outfits of the 2015 Australian Open Men’s Singles finalists, where to buy them, and how much they cost:

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic's Uniqlo ensemble for the 2015 Australian Open Tournament
Among a sea of look-at-me outfits, Novak’s kit looks refreshingly normal and relatable. Image from Quinn Rooney/ Getty Images

 

Buy the shirt at Uniqlo for US$ 49.90. The white version which Novak also wore is also available for the same price. (see 9983:JP latest stock information)

Novak Djokovic Australian Open 2015 Shirt
Look, it says low stock. Image from uniqlo.com

Continue reading The Australian Open Finalists’ Outfits: The Sponsors Tell You to Buy Them Now!

Sharapova and Sugarpova: Game, Set and Mismatch – But Both are Winning

This post is part of a series that is related to the ongoing Australian Open 2015 tournament.

Sharapova and Sugarpova initially seemed to be a mismatch, but the combination actually makes sense.

 

Health and sugar don’t match. In fact, in recent years, sugar has probably earned the unhealthy reputation of bacon. Look at what has happened to Krispy Kreme.

A sport star is a bastion of fitness and if ever one will associate himself with a sugary product, the terms used will be “fuel”, “power” or “energy boost” rather than “sweet, “sugar” or “candy”.

In 2012, when Maria Sharapova, a five time grand slam tennis champion, launched Sugarpova, a line of premium candies, many were perplexed with the move.

Sharapova is the world’s highest paid female athlete, and she makes most of that money off the court by hawking products from Tag Heuer, Nike, Porsche, Cole Haan and other brands. What makes Sugarpova different from all those other brands is that it is actually Sharapova’s own business. She’s selling the candies on behalf of herself.

Sugarpova is “premium” candy; in other words, more expensive than usual candies. A 5 oz bag of Sugarpovas costs around USD 5.99, many times more than usual candy brands. Not that these candies have something to be premium about. Most premium products boast using the finest ingredients, the finest manufacturing technique (finest being either ultra modern or handmade, but never the in-between), posh packaging, or luxurious buying experience. None of these are present in or claimed by Sugarpova. Sugarpovas are expensive because of Maria Sharapova.

There have always been premium chocolates, but never premium candies. Who would have thought of coming up with premium sour balls or gummy bears? Apparently no one has, which is why Sugarpova occupies its own niche. There must be candy that’s worthy of selfies, instagrams and facebook posts. Sugarpova fills that void.

In its first three months of release, Sugarpova had sold around 250,000 bags. It has probably sold more than a million bags by now. That’s major, considering that these candies have limited availability. In fact, here in the Philippines, there’s only one store chain that carries it.

I was lucky to get a bag here in Manila. The store I went to had only two bags. One is  “Quirky Sour, the other is  “Quirky”. Obviously, I didn’t have to ask what the difference between the two is… Actually I did. The sales lady said one was sweet, the other was sour. I went with the non-sour one.

Sugarpova candies available in the Philippines
Cheaper in the Philippines. Just PHP 199.75 or USD 4.52 in Manila. Do I see an arbitrage opportunity? Image by thefinancemd.com

 

Continue reading Sharapova and Sugarpova: Game, Set and Mismatch – But Both are Winning