By now you’ve probably seen that freaky ad from RC Cola. The video opens with a child confronting his mother, tearfully asking if he was adopted. The seemingly mundane ‘ampon’ trope soon gives way to a surreal twist.
The kid is indeed different, only because he has four drinking glasses sticking out of his back, while his mother has an RC bottle for her head. The two, and the rest of the family, eventually reconcile by drinking from the son’s back. Oh, and the mother’s decapitated head happily sips with a smile.
It’s the sheer randomness and creepy vibes that made it a social media hit, with over 3 million views on Facebook and counting. People can’t stop talking about it, with theories over the ad’s supposed hidden meanings, the most popular one being a twisted allegory for a mother’s love.
We managed to grab hold of Herbert Hernandez (Creative Partner), Jake Yrastorza (Managing Partner), Dionie Tañada (Assoc. Creative Director) to answer the pvblic’s collective question ‘What the f- where you guys thinking?’
Let’s start with the concept. How did it happen and where you guys on crack?
Herbert: We’re actually scared that we might get ‘tokhang’d’ because we always get asked the same question. Pero we’re clean (laughs)
Jake: *quips* We hate drugs!
Alright, just checking. But for real, what was the idea behind the campaign?
Dionie: Gen Zs are spontaneous. Whenever they get asked about anything, their go-to answer is ‘Ah, basta’ or ‘Kahit ano!’. From out of the blue, they’d go on road trips. That sense of randomness was our insight.
Jake: They keep saying ‘Basta’. They don’t wanna give reasons. Why do you like a certain band? Why do you dance on Tiktok? I think that’s why the spot exploded. The feeling of ‘I don’t get it, but I like it’.
Herbert: There are also a lot of things that you do without explanation. Drinking soft drinks is one of them.
J: You do it because it’s fun. It feels good. that’s it.
D: As for RC, the brand needs to stand for something that hasn’t been done before. Others bank on music marketing, for example. We realized that no one has adopted humor, which also happens to be a huge thing with our audience.
H: At GIGIL, we have the mindset that if a concept is ‘too correct’, it’s boring. You have to make it ‘wrong’ to make it more interesting.
The ad has spawned lots of well-detailed theories. Was there ever really an intent to be that ‘deep’?
Dionie: I think the beauty of the spot is that it’s open to interpretation. Some see it as political. Others as psychological.
Jake: An ad is similar to any art form. A painter creates a painting with his own creative intent, but once he makes it pvblic, he loses a part of its ownership, because the audience now starts to have their own take.
The ad didn’t come out with the intent of having so many hidden layers, but if that’s how they see it, that’s fine.
Herbert: It’s like a song. It can have different meanings. Even those who were turned off, that’s cool. We just wanted to make something fun.
How do you get a concept this weird approved by the brand?
Jake: I’d like to think that GIGIL’s reputation in advertising precedes us. When a client comes to us, they know they’re in for a campaign that’s gonna push the envelope, but is still effective.
As they say, the biggest enemy of communications is when you become vanilla. That’s what we try to avoid. And it all goes back to the type of audience we’re trying to talk to.
Herbert: We have to give props to RC. They’re the ones who took the risk. They staked their jobs on this campaign. Could you just imagine if it flopped?
What can you say to convince brands to be more…open-minded?
Jake: If you join the sea of vanilla commercials out there, you’re just wasting money. The phrase “stand out from the crowd” is so cliche, but that’s so true. Otherwise, what’s the point?
You have to be different so your campaign can resonate.
Herbert: I always say high risk, high reward. It’s more expensive nowadays to be safe, especially online, because it’s so much easier to be skipped over.