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Your Preferred Public Relations Partner in Cebu and Southern Philippines

ABS-CBN talent endorses GT Cosmetics


Phoebe Kay Fernandez

Since it was founded in 1994, GT slowly captured its market mostly through the so-called word of mouth that miraculously made its products among the sought-after brands in the country today.

Now that its products have virtually captured a nationwide market, GT has seen the need — not only to protect its market — but to strengthen it further by having someone credible to endorse its products starting this year.

“To ensure continued patronage of our products, we realized the effectiveness of a celebrity endorser to promote them,” GT owner Engr. Leonora B. Salvane said. “So, our search for an endorser started, but we decided to have a Cebuana because our product is Cebuano-made.”

And that Cebuana endorser is ABS-CBN talent and Visayan indie film actress Phoebe Kaye Fernandez, who is young, vibrant, fair-complexioned, and beautiful inside out.

“For us, Phoebe perfectly fits the bill,” Salvane said. “We know she can help us capture the young audience.” According to Salvane, they also based their choice of Phoebe on GT’s facebook demographics. “Furthermore, Phoebe and her mother both use GT products,” Salvane added.

The 24-year-old entertainment news reporter of ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol Central Visayas graduated magna cum laude in 2008 from the University of San Carlos in Cebu and became a registered nurse the same year. She is also a beauty contestant and finished first runner-up in the 2008 Miss Mandaue pageant.

In 2011, Phoebe was named Best Actress in the Cebu Sinulog Short Film Festival for her role in “Biyahe” and was nominated Best Actress in the Cinema One Film Festival for her portrayal as a psychic in “My Paranormal Romance.”

Phoebe Kaye Fernandez, who formally signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with GT Cosmetics on March 30, is not as popular as the celebrities from Manila, but Salvane believes she can deliver the goods for GT.

“Although Phoebe is not popular nationwide, we believe she can be influential in endorsing GT with her great communication skills, her vast experience in public relations, and her charm and charisma,” Salvane said. “We know she will make an effective endorser of our products not just in Cebu, but in the entire Philippine archipelago.”

GT Cosmetics’ bestselling Carrot, Papaya, and Bleaching organic soaps, night and day cosmetic creams, sunblock, and toner have now all become quite popular among the youth and young professionals in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

All GT products can be purchased in about 200 retail outlets such as Watsons Personal Care stores, Robinsons supermarkets, SM malls and supermarkets, Savemore supermarkets, Gaisano Metro chain of stores, as well as in other leading malls, department stores, supermarkets, and soon in all leading drugstores nationwide.

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Public Relations in southern Philippines this 2012 (d)


Impact of the 2013 elections.

The post on Miss Universe runner up Chamcey Supsup and businessman-politician Glenn Soco of One Cebu was one of the most viewed so far in politika2013.wordpress.com.

A huge portion of the broad social media community is involved in advocacy and sharing of politically-related news and views. In the same manner, government starting with President Noynoy Aquino and a growing number of political personalities are also actively engaging social media.

PRworks, for instance, has decided to join the political conversations last October 2011 in anticipation of the increase in traffic for politically-relevant blogs. The agency has encouraged and supported our networks of writers and bloggers to join politika2013.wordpress.com which is designed broadcast views from the Philippine south.

Consider also the impact on Philippine politics of extensive use and success of engaging social media in political mobilizations abroad like the 2011 Arab Spring  and Occupy movement. Then there is the 2012  presidential elections in the United States. Facebook and Twitter users would more likely participate in offline political meetings. Online sharing is leading to offline engagement.

Politicians interested in running for national and local public offices during the 2013 midterm elections would be stupid to ignore the importance and power of engaging social media communities. Already, several Facebook accounts and pages of known politicians. Some have also gone into putting up blogs and even Twitter accounts.

This means spreading political campaign budgets to include publicity through social media. Those who refuse to do so for various reasons would find their campaigns overtaken by social media-savvy politicians. Because the central offices of national candidates are based in Metro Manila, politicians would need public relations assistance to engage traditional and social media in southern Philippines.

Understanding and insights into how social media can help a particular political campaign vary however. Professional public relations practitioners could help in crafting an integrated political marketing campaign.

While the corporate world needs to deal with the faster spread of bad news – a situation that bred more crisis communicators, politicians running for elective positions face active competition that (it is safe to assume) engages in demolition tactics. Politicians need to learn fast in controlling social media conversations.

Role of public relations will grow further.

As the corporate world, the political community and stakeholders, and traditional media organizations in the Philippines engage social media to reach the public, the value of proactive and reactive public relations grows with it. Our experience as PR partners in the Visayas and Mindanao for Globe Telecom and Nokia Philippines has made us realize and take advantage of new ways to communicate using emerging technologies.

Public relations agencies like PRworks will have to compete with advertising and SEO companies that pay for placement however. PR primarily focuses on building earned hits and communities of followers.

We, in PRworks, are doing this by engaging traditional and social media in online and offline activities and networks. Aside from helping Cebu and Visayas bloggers organize their events, for instance, the agency initiated the formation of the Media Information Network for Nutrition and Development (MIND) 7 with the National Nutrition Council (NNC) in Central Visayas. We also moved to form the Tourism and Heritage Information Network (THINK) 7 together with the Department of Tourism (DOT) also in Central Visayas.

Still, the pace at which information moves in all directions is a continuing challenge. We are dealing with an ever changing traditional and social media world. This means the continuing challenge for building brands and reputations, helping clients face crisis situations proactively, and engaging communities in southern Philippines online and offline. Back

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Public Relations in southern Philippines this 2012 (c)


Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama (center) poses with Miss Earth 2011 candidates and Charlyn Macaraeg, image model of GT Cosmetics, during the second Visayas Blogging Summit held in Cebu City. Charlyn was promoting GT & Me, the Facebook community of GT Cosmetics. PRworks helped organize the event.

Emerging social media communities.

Since the first Filipino bloggers began writing online at the turn of the century, their numbers and significance have grown as the years passed. In 2010, Visayas and Mindanao bloggers have separately organized blogging summits and awards for several years now. Globe Telecom, Nokia Philippines, and the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) have found engaging an increasing number of bloggers effective in promoting products, services and advocacy online and offline.

Meanwhile, Facebook communities have likewise grown around places to several hundreds of thousand members like ‘I love Cebu.’ Groups such as “Barkadahan Tsika Tsika Cebu” have reached over 20,000 members. More locally-based SMEs have begun engaging these online communities for promoting products and services. GT Cosmetics has gone the route of creating GT & Me – a Facebook community that celebrates “Gandang Tunay” or true beauty.

The growth of social media communities is abetted through active engagement by traditional print, radio, and television media outlets.

The power of these social media communities was seen in how fast the spread of information about the tragedy wrought by typhoon Sendong in Northern Mindanao and the mobilization of resources to help the victims. Thus aside from the traditional media, top Philippine corporations like Globe Telecom posted advisories about its relief efforts through social media.

Come 2012, PRworks anticipates that public relations will continued to be defined by developments in social media. Social media will grow as the information-dissemination avenue for both top corporations and SMEs in southern Philippines. Read part D. Back

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Public Relations in southern Philippines this 2012 (b)


Doris Mongaya, managing director of PRworks Inc., poses with Superbalita columnists Bobby Nalzaro (left) and Ruphil Bañoc (right). Bobby is also a columnist of Sun.Star Cebu, a top rated commentator of dySS, and news anchor of GMA 7. Ruphil, on the other hand, is the station manager of dyHP and news anchor of TV 5.

Sun.Star publisher Sonny Garcia and Editor-in-Chief Pachico A. Seares published the first Cebuano-language daily in1994 that primarily catered to the B-C-D market in Cebu and neighboring provinces. The Freeman, Sun.Star’s main competitor in Cebu at the time, countered with the emergence of Banat News.

Both Cebuano-language dailies grew fast and in a few years have overtaken the circulation of its sister publications. In the late 90s, the Sun.Star management exerted efforts in duplicating the success of Superbalita in several urban centers in the Visayas and Mindanao. Today, the Superbalita in Cagayan de Oro and Davao Cities have bigger circulations than their sister English dailies.

Industry insiders attribute this rapid growth to the tabloid format, the use of the local language, and cheaper cost for readers. The Cebuano dailies became the print medium to reach out to the grassroots market.

However, while these Cebuano-language newspapers targeted the B-C-D market, a growing segment of the AB market in Vis-Min urban centers and surrounding rural communities are now reading the Cebuano dailies primarily at the expense of their English counterparts.

We expect this trend to further gain momentum in 2012. Brands (and hence public relations) that target the A-B market in central and southern Philippines cannot anymore ignore the growing A-B audience of Cebuano-language newspapers.Read Part C  Back

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Public Relations in southern Philippines this 2012 (a)


Helping Honorary Russian Consul Armi Lopez-Garcia promote Philippine-Russian relations.

The Visayas and Mindanao, the central and southern islands in the Philippine archipelago, have been the public relations playing field for the Cebu-based PRworks for several years now.

Top Philippine corporations like Globe Telecom and Nokia Philippines along with small-medium enterprises like GT Cosmetics Manufacturing has precisely engaged PRworks because of its Vis-Min niche.

In Cebu and Central Visayas, we are helping several friends, corporations, and agencies like Honorary Russian Consul Armi Lopez, the San Remigio Beach Club (SRBC), the KEPCO-SPC Power Corporation (KSPC) and SPC Power Corp. (SPC), the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC), the National Nutrition Council (NNC) 7, and the Department of Tourism (DOT) 7.

As we approach the end of 2011, we begin looking into the year ahead. And we ask, what’s in store for public relations work in central and southern Philippines for 2012?

Increasing market share of online news media.

English-language community papers will increasingly feel the pressure of the increasing market share of online news media.

A growing segment of urban and provincial population is going online and spending more time in social media especially Facebook through the years. They are learning the habit of accessing news, not by buying anymore their favorite English dailies. More often, they now merely click on news shared by friends, go to search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing for more related information, or enter the online versions of their favorite community paper.

This trend has led to the emergence and growing audience of online versions of practically all community papers in major Vis-Min urban centers. This also paved the way for the rise of online news and opinion blogs and the shift of local news syndicates like Minda News to being online publications. The forward looking management of Sun.Star network of community publications has closed weak publication affiliates in the cities of Ilo-ilo, Zamboanga, and General Santos and shifted news coverage to the online Sun.Star news exchange (Sunnex).

This means the community papers will be using only the best stories – and that includes press releases and news pitches – especially with the more intense competition and declining news space. For PRworks, this means adhering to its belief that the best PR uplifts lives. Read Part B

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PR campaign key to Diva2Diva hit


Diva concert poster

Filling up a plush hotel ballroom with 4,000 Cebuanos on a Monday three days before payday proved to be a challenging task when organizers of the Cebu hit Diva2Diva concert began selling tickets during the long 2008 Christmas vacation.

To recall, both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day fell on a Thursday. Considering that the Philippines celebrated Jose Rizal Day – to commemorate the death of the national hero – on December 30, 2008, the whole country experienced the longest Christmas holiday in years. Filipinos came back for work only on January 5, 2009.

The concert was set on December 12, 2009 – the Monday right before Cebu’s grand Santo Niño feast and Sinulog festival the next weekend. Competing for attention was another concert at the same venue on a Friday featuring a comedienne Pokwang of a popular television noontime show that appealed to a wider audience.

Two contrasting feedbacks immediately met PRWorks Inc. Managing Director Doris Mongaya on December 29, 2008, the Monday after Christmas. The agency handled sales and marketing for this grand pre-Sinulog event.

Cebu socialites, business executives and top government officials who stayed in Cebu during the long Christmas vacation were excited to learn that three Philippine divas – Kuh Ledesma, Pops Fernandez and Zsa-Zsa Padilla along with popular male singers Erik Santos and Jed Madela – would perform in a pre-Sinulog concert at the Grand Pacific Ballroom of the Cebu City Waterfront Hotel and Casino on January 12, 2009.

They began buying tickets for choice seats in bulk. After New Year’s Day, practically all the choice seats in the first five rows were filled up.

However, tickets in public outlets in Cebu City’s top malls – Ayala Commercial Center and SM City – were not selling fast as expected during the long vacation. Many prominent Cebuanos were out of town while others complained that a Monday several days before payday was not a good day for the difficult Cebuano market. The middle class meanwhile preferred to buy tickets for the Pokwang show.

With most of the Diva2Diva tickets pegged at P2,500 and P2,000, the initial feedback from ticket outlets was negative in the sense that Cebuanos are accustomed to less expensive concerts in the past. Moreover, the neophyte producer refused to invest in full-page newspaper ads but instead focused on posters placed in malls, call center officers, restaurants, and Cebu nightlife hangouts.

With only eight days to sell tickets starting on the day people begin going back for work, PRWorks Inc. was presented with a dilemma. Would it push for a slashing of the ticket prices to respond to the feedback received from ticket outlets? Or would it persevere in the set pricing scheme but focus on specific niches to fill up the rest of the plush Waterfront ballroom?

After assessing the situation, PRWorks Inc. decided to push through with the pricing scheme.

However, the agency also launched a public relations campaign designed to reach out a non-traditional concert market. According to Doris Mongaya of PRWorks Inc., “We set out to reach out people who have money to spend and don’t rely on the 15th day paycheck but have yet not decided on what entertainment fare they intend to enjoy during the pre-Sinulog days.

To achieve this, the agency pushed for the putting up of a big billboard befitting a grand pre-Sinulog extravaganza at the busy Gen. Maxilom Avenue. Then, instructions were issued to place the remaining posters at luxury dining destinations around Metro Cebu.

This was followed by press releases positioning the concert as the grandest pre-Sinulog event with a special focus on the Cebuano glitterati falling over each other seeking choice front seats. The subliminal message sent was: “This is THE pre-Sinulog concert. One has to be there or you’re not ‘in.’”

On December 8, 2009, PRWORKS Inc. conducted a press conference at the plush Chinese cuisine destination The Ching Palace that featured phone patch interviews with the divas. An excited local entertainment media responded with prominent features about the Diva2Diva show that week until weekend.

These moves worked like magic on the target audience. Ticket sales grew exponentially especially the premium P2,500 tickets as well as the pang-masa and middle class P300, P700 and P1,000 tickets.

Known socialites who came home from their extended vacations outside Cebu started calling the different ticket outlets reserving what choice seats were left.

Hours before show time, Cebu’s well-heeled high society crowd came in their party’s best quite early to settle in their reserve seats. The hundreds who came to buy at the last minute had to settle for the remaining seats worth P2,000. The other categories were already sold out.

True to their reputation as Philippine divas, Kuh Ledesma, Pops Fernandez and Sza-Sza Padilla wowed Cebu’s high society crowd – which is admittedly a difficult audience to please – with a grand three-hour extravaganza that set the tone for the week’s Sinulog festivities.

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Links to Diva2Diva publicity that appeared online:

Ticket sales are up for ‘showdown’ of divas

Diva2Diva: Kuh Ledesma, Zsa-Zsa Padilla, Pops Fernandez, Live in Cebu

Text bahin ni Cutie alang kang Pops nakapaukay sa media

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