Foreign celebrities have endorsed local consumer products for the past 10 years, even earlier. But it’s become more noticeable lately, with clothing brands Bench and Penshoppe tapping popular international musicians, TV and film actors one after the other in high-profile media campaigns.
The frontman of an American rock band that performed in Manila recently was said to have been paid $400,000 (about P18 million) for his image wearing one of the clothing brands splashed across giant billboards on Edsa.
Inquirer asked local talent managers what they thought of these deals, and whether foreign endorsers should be made to pay equity dues, similar to levies imposed on visiting performers.
Manila Genesis Entertainment, Inc. (Talents: Gary Valenciano, Jericho Rosales, Leo Martinez, Maricel Laxa, Candy Pangilinan, Donita Rose, Quest, Paolo, Gab and Kiana Valenciano, Juan Miguel Salvador, Princess Punzalan, Hilda Koronel, Elma Muros)
We can either be upset that our local brands are not using local celebrities, or we can think positive and look at it as progress for the Philippines. I don’t believe there is anything wrong because it only elevates our country to world-class status.
Equity is important because local celebrities lose income opportunities [when a foreign celebrity is tapped to endorse a local brand]. The revenues from endorsements are huge, but we are in a democracy where free enterprise is the practice. If we can go to Thailand and use the production staff of commercial producers there so that advertisers could afford the high endorsement fees of the Filipino lead stars, Mario Mauer should be free to come to Manila to endorse whatever brand that wants him.
If the casting agencies can create equity for local talents through legislation, that would be awesome. But it’s a thrill to see foreign artists endorsing local product brands.
Stages Talents Group (Talents: Christian Bautista, Karylle, Sam Concepcion, Jay-R, Zia Quizon, Nanette Inventor, Miguel Faustmann)
It’s an open market. Entrepreneurs have the right to hire anyone, whether local or international talents, to endorse their products.
Bench, for instance, has hired our talents like Christian Bautista, Karylle and Sam Concepcion. But I also believe that managers should turn their sights overseas to market Filipino talents [for brand endorsement opportunities]. We have a great wealth of artists deserving international recognition.
With regards to equity, it’s one thing to protect our own and it’s another to constantly improve homegrown talents and market them effectively. Our advantage is that we speak good English, which makes us globally competitive. Anything is possible if we are all united.
Global Resource Creative Exchange (Talents: Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, Celeste Legaspi, Cris Villonco, Geneva Cruz [co-managed with ALV Talent Circuit], Joanna Ampil [co-managed with Viva], Korina Sanchez, Marie Digby, Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski, Rachel Alejandro)
I can’t really object to the hiring of foreign celebrities because I have represented some of them to endorse Penshoppe and Bench. I believe in free enterprise and I promote a no-boundaries world.
If local brands believe that a foreign endorser can promote their products effectively, then I believe it is their right to hire them. After all, they are world-class Filipino brands and besides, they also hire a lot of local celebrities.
I believe in the Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM) equity program, but I don’t think the same principles apply to endorsements.
ALV Talent Circuit (Talents: Carla Abellana, Nikki Gil, Billy Crawford, Iya Villania, John and Camille Prats, Patrick Garcia, Divine Lee, Victor Basa, Andrew Wolff, Eric Tai, and Chris Everingham of the Philippine Volcanoes, Kris Lawrence, Pinky Amador, Jessa Zaragoza, Geneva Cruz, Baron Geisler, Grace Lee, Gov. ER Ejercito, Priscilla Mereilles)
It’s understandable that local consumer brands put a high premium on the endorsement capabilities of foreign celebrities. Obviously, these celebs command strong multimedia presence.
This is something that’s defined by consumer psychology, and should not be misconstrued as an admission of weakness or inferiority on the part of Filipino celebrities.
On the contrary, it should be taken as a challenge for our local artists to strive harder and excel in their respective crafts. For example, look at Manny Pacquiao. Because of his exemplary talent and iconic stature, he has been tapped to endorse various global brands like Nike. Are there American or Caucasian athletes protesting this in any way, just because he is Filipino? None at all.
I believe that talent always takes precedence over race or creed, and as long as you’re worth it, the world’s best premium brands will be willing to pay the price to have you as their endorser.
There are undefinable elements that come into play when we talk about equity. If we’re talking about protecting the interests of our own countrymen, it’s a Catch 22 situation, because again, we wouldn’t want to believe that the people behind the brands are deliberately undermining local talent just because they get a foreign endorser. And, as it is, they are already paying a steep price for the foreign celebrities.
Maybe a modified, entertainment-related value-added tax for the foreign celebrities could be one practical solution to this.
President, Professional Artists and Managers Inc. (PAMI); senior vice president, Viva Films (Personal manager of Edu Manzano, Luis Manzano, Pia Guanio, Joel Torre, Ronnie Lazaro, Michael de Mesa, Mark Gil, Cherie Gil, Pia Guanio, Ryan Eigenmann, Maryo J. de los Reyes, Wenn Deramas)
I don’t really mind, as long as the local brands they’re endorsing have a chance to go global, so that the companies earn back the money they paid these foreign celebs.
As for the need to pay equity, I don’t think it’s necessary, unless it’s mandated by law.