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Brand World

Siège arrière à Manille

16/03/2015 - par Mark Tungate

Le monde est moins globalisé qu'on le croit parfois. Notre chroniqueur Mark Tungate en a fait l'expérience à Manille, la capitale des Philippines. C'est, écrit-il cette semaine, parce que les marques sont partie prenante de la culture - et c'est une bonne nouvelle.

There are many great things about Manila – such as the Museum Café in Ayala, under whose twirling tropical fans I’m now parked, looking out on a garden of bamboo and ferns – but the traffic is not one of them. People leave for work here before 7am, to avoid getting stuck in crawling lines of metal. I’m actually at this café to meet Angel Guerrero, editor of Adobo magazine, the local equivalent of Stratégies. But I’m 45 minutes early, because I was afraid of being late.

 

The good thing about being trapped in the back of a slow-moving taxi is that it gives you time to experience the local brands. Radio must be an effective medium here: by the time I arrived I was very familiar with Jollibee, the local fast food giant. The radio sang: “Jollibee chickenjoy and Jolly Spaghetti – the perfect combination!”

 

Wikipedia informs me that Jollibee was founded in 1978 by Tony Tan, who ran an ice cream parlour until a management consultant told him that fast food was a better bet. Now it has more than 800 domestic stores, and another 90 or so worldwide. It even has its own TV show, Jollitown, featuring the eponymous bee and his best friend Yum the scientist.

 

People talk about globalisation, but on my travels I regularly stumble across brands I’ve never heard of. The radio sang to me about Unique toothpaste (“50% cheaper than the leading brand”). This is produced by the ACS corporation, another Philippine consumer giant, which also makes Shield Bath Soap and Pride Power Detergent.

 

Local names seem to be holding out against the multinationals. Ikea has yet to enter the country, for example. “There’s a lot of red tape,” says Angel Guerrero. “This is a culture of networking and connections – it’s all about who you know. Most of the international brands here are franchises.”

 

Personally I prefer the exotic spice of home-made brands. Like the garish Jeepney minibuses that cruise amid the bland Japanese cars, they are evidence that the world is not as homogenised as we sometimes fear. Brands are part of culture, and the Filipino culture is not about to be submerged.

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