Monday, March 24, 2014

Barako for Beauty

Pond’s Men endorsers: real estate mogul Victor Consunji, singer-songwriter Rico Blanco, actor Xian Lim, film director Paul Soriano and football player Anton del Rosario
In Filipino, barako is a virile and brave man, a stud. It lends its name to a type of locally grown Arabica coffee, the kapeng barako or barako coffee, or the strong brew made from it. Now, both — the man and the coffee — are essential elements for an established beauty brand for its new product line targeting men.
Masculinity changes over time. Although there are still left, men are no longer generally slobs and pigs. Over the years, good grooming and taking of how one looks were often emphasized to the point that metrosexual became once a buzzword. Skin care is becoming less and less attributed to only women.
Guys really use personal care products. It’s only they use ‘female brands.’ We learned that one-third of Pond’s facial wash users are men,” revealed Cesca Silvestre, Pond’s senior brand manager.
In the course of their research, they noticed that many young male office workers bring them toilet kits containing essentials for grooming and skincare products. It’s their version of the women’s kikay kit, she said and dubbed it “man’s purse” or “murse” for short.
Some of these men may not be buyers themselves but use their wives,’ girlfriends’ or sisters’ skincare products. But men’s skin are different from women’s, according to Anuchai Sinsawati, the Thai product manager for Southeast Asia Unilever. They have bigger pores and thus tend to have oilier faces. Also, their skin ages faster.
So we saw it fit to develop Pond’s Men that specifically addresses those problems,” Silvestre said.
Pond’s consider this a milestone. The famous brand, which released its first product in 1846 in the United States and is currently owned by the multinational company Unilever, has pioneered many things in beauty and skincare. For example, they introduced face washes to replace soaps, and face washes are now part of the essential regimen. They also introduced the beauty regimen. Actually, Pond’s had also released men’s products before, such as the aftershave, but obviously it did not take off.
Pond’s Men was first launched in Indonesia in 2012, where the brand is big in the Muslim-dominated country. Then in late 2013, it was launched in Thailand.
Unilever has a number of men’s products in such brands as Vaseline and Master, but they believe they will not compete with each other.
We have segmented the markets,” Silvestre explained. “Pond’s Men talks to the more affluent man, already a groomer, who is taking care of himself, knows how to dress. We want them to upgrade to Pond’s Men. Master talks to teens and addresses their problems like oiliness. It is more affordable and comes in sachets. Vaseline Men talks to yuppies as well but the concerns of yuppies are really about whitening. There’s a growing whitening segment even among men. It’s not really that they want to have kutis mayaman. These guys are bothered about pimple marks.”
Although Pond’s Men products have whitening properties, they added a new ingredient.
We did a lot of research and we learned that the biggest problem of men is dull-looking skin, the ‘haggard-looking’ skin because of their hectic lifestyle,” Silvestre said. 

Pond’s Men Acne Clear Oil Control Face Wash controls oil for up to 12 hours with salicylic acid and mineral clay for SRP of P190 (100-gram Tube)
 To address this problem, they added coffee bean extract to its products. Coffee is known to perk up its drinkers thus Pond’s is harnessing this ability as well as its antioxidant property for their products. It enhances skin circulation that lends skin a healthy and recharged glow, they said, promising that the products will “perk up” the skin for a “bright and energized” look.
Dr. Jason Harcup, vice president of Personal Care Research at Unilever, said, “At the Pond’s Institute, we discovered that coffee bean extract, an innovative ingredient, has scientifically proven skin care benefits that can address male skincare concerns.”
There are two lines in the Pond’s Men products — the Pond’s Men Energy Charge and the Pond’s Men Acne Clear Oil Control.
The Pond’s Men Energy Charge is for normal skin types and has a facial foam, gel moisturizer and all-in-one moisturizer. The facial foam (suggested retail price of P190 for 100-gram tube) is said to brighten tired-looking skin while the gel moisturizer (SRP of P145 for 15 gram tube) is a light formula that is said to energize skin while lending it a healthy glow. On the other hand, the all-in-one moisturizer (SRP of P350 for 50 gram pump) is a moisturizer, toner and serum in one. The moisturizer whitens the skin and lightens spots, while the toner cools the skin and minimizes pores. The serum gives the skin an active glow. On the other hand, the Pond’s Men Acne Clear Oil Control has a face wash (SRP P190 for 100-gram tube) of which has the added ingredient of mineral clay, said to absorb oil for 12 hours, and hazel extract, known for its astringent properties. This is recommended for men who have problems with oily faces and pimples.

Pond’s Men Energy Charge All-in-One Moisturizer is moisturizer, toner and serum in one pack, available for SRP of P350 per 50-gram pump
 The Pond’s Men campaign is a big one. Giant billboards are now scattered all over Metro Manila. The grand launch was held at Whitespace Manila in Makati City on March 18. The events place was transformed into a semblance of an exclusive men’s club with a Jaguar parked outside, a billiards table at one side of the room, a fireplace with a video of a flickering fire at another, cocktails flying about. Guests walked on black carpet and were held in a room by the entrance with video walls on both sides showing buildings that seemed to scroll down — it was a big elevator! — before being greeted by model’s and stands full of Pond’s Men products. An after party featured international and local acts such as DJ Nina, LA Duo DJ Kim and DJ hat, and Dutch DJ Trio Shermanology.
The highlight of the event was the launch of Pond’s Men endorsers — five men, most of them can be considered barakos in different ways, coming from different fields and of different persuasions.
Common among them is that they’re all driven, ambitious and successful,” said Silvestre. “They’re the men that Pond’s Men is catering to because they’re more discerning with their choices in many things. They work hard and they make sure that they get the best products and services they deserve.”
She added that these men are active and keep hectic schedules, thus their skin really needs care.
Leading the pack is Xian Lim, who is enjoying a lot of endorsements lately but Pond’s Men remains to be one of the biggest. According to the handsome actor, the number-one thing that keeps him refreshed is sleep, seven to eight hours of sleep to be exact, especially after longs hours of shooting. He said he also uses Pond’s skin care products. “I’ve always used Pond’s so it’s good that there’s now a Pond’s product made for men,” he averred.
The rest of the good-looking team is composed of football player and Azkals member Anton del Rosario; singer-songwriter Rico Blanco; film director Paul Soriano; and real estate mogul Victor Consunji.
While the choice — to represent different kinds of men according to their professions and passions — is commendable, there seems to be a lack to acknowledge another market segment. While sexual orientation is not highlighted, all of them are known to be heterosexual, and it will be a more commendable thing to include a gay man as one of the endorsers, knowing that gay men will form a bulk of its buyers.
Pond’s might have considered it but was not able to find a suitable endorser that as high-profile and good-looking but also gay and proud as the present crop. Most likely, the oversight is deliberate for to include a gay man, no matter how upstanding and masculine, may drive away heterosexual men buyers, or they maybe have the limited and erroneous notion that all gay men want to look like women and thus would prefer products that are for women.
Though several years ago, Pond’s released a breakthrough television ad, one of the very few, if not the only one during its time, to show gay men not in the stereotypical mold. The ad shows a couple, both men, walking hand in hand, and one is beguiled by the beauty and fairness of a woman, who uses Pond’s White Beauty day cream, walking along with them.
They could have sustained and reinforced that showing of this different image of gay men, especially in a time when My Husband’s Lover has broken grounds and its leading men are now being asked to be endorsers as a couple, with an inclusion of a gay man in the endorser roster to acknowledge that market segment as one of their long-time patrons, and to really show the wide spectrum of men, which Pond’s cater to equally. In this still restrictive environment, the move will be a brave and enlightened one.
As of now, Pond’s Men’s campaign with the endorsers sends a message that today’s barakos are accomplished, confident and aware of the importance of taking care of the themselves and how they look. If added a layer, today’s barakos are also sensitive, respectful, intelligent, confident and unafraid, unafraid to not only stand out but to stand up for something important.

For more information on Pond’s Men, visit or follow Pond’s Men on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @PondsMenpH and #GerEnergized.

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