Beefcake Billboards
Social Issues

Beefcake Billboards

Beefcake Billboards

IMAGE CREDITS Billboard: FreakingNews.com; Meat: thegoatcheeselady.wordpress.com

Andreo Sakay, fresh out of college, has just been hired as a staff writer for Escort, a soft-porn magazine and gadget catalogue that pretends to be a high-brow culture guide. He hates his every minute in the magazine because he feels he is just wasting this talents doing Q-and-As with female models in bikinis who all believe that getting photographed in Escort is a “big break”. He thinks he has a prodigious talent in writing and he would be better off working either at the National Geographic or the New Yorker. Unfortunately, neither the National Geographic nor the New Yorker has any Philippine franchise. The only research he does in Escort is for that column that spotlights a new sex position in every monthly issue. The theme for its December 2011 issue is Genius, so it is profiling 20 geniuses in the Philippines. Andreo is assigned to interview the Genius Number 2: Banson Co, CEO of Soyeah Corporation and creator of the clothing brand Banco, which is making waves these days for its risque billboards. (Genius Number 1 is Mario V. Pakyawan, President of Smack Telecommunications, one of the biggest telecommunications company in the country) Banco happens to be one of the magazine’s major advertisers. Here is an excerpt of his interview with Banson in the office of Soyeah Corporation in the Ortigas Business District.

Andreo

Muscular male models are the rage these days. We see them in almost every ad, be it on TV or print or billboard. Banco’s billboards are especially known for them.

Banson

I like the way you put it: “Muscular male models”. Alliteration, isn’t it? I can say we started the trend. In the late Nineties, when you can only see pictures of hunky men in small magazines for gay men, we dared create a TV commercial where Raymond Garos was driving a bike in a hilly place, wearing sando and spandex shorts. As all brilliant ideas do, our idea got copied. Now, every ad, say, for iced tea in PET bottles or pancit canton or feminine wash, it always has a hunk in it.

A

Your billboards have gotten so much attention this year. There’s this one in Makati with three members of the Philippine Sungka team wearing nothing but their briefs, which the mayor wanted to be brought down. The CBCP said your billboards corrupt people’s morals. The MMDA has also requested the court to ban your billboards because they distract motorists and so, cause road accidents.

B

We are selling briefs here. How could we do that if our models had their pants on? As for the CBCP, with all due respect to these guardians of our morals and spirits: Morals? What do morals have to do with briefs? Why do the priests always freak out at every suggestion of skin? Do they want all Filipinos walking around in soutannes like them? That would be too unfashionable and impractical in a tropical country like ours so I would never allow that to happen. Banco has kept its promise to give the masa at least a piece of the lifestyle of the rich, beautiful and famous through our trendy yet affordable clothes. To ask us to guard people’s morals would be too much. That would mean adding a new department in our company. As for the proposed ban on our billboards: We have taken care of it. A five-year supply of briefs did the trick.

A

An industry insider told me that Banco’s men’s underwear ads are made to appeal to gay men.

B

Of course – I mean, of course not! Actually, our ads are made to appeal to women. We found out through our market research that it’s the women who buy briefs for their boyfriends and husbands. Women have become the top spenders in the Philippines, what with more women becoming domestic helpers and caregivers abroad and call center agents here. So that explains why we use hunky male models with perfect biceps, pecs and abs, very much like the leading men in the paperback romances they so love. That’s what women want.

A

What about the men? Shouldn’t they be the main market for briefs? The metrosexuals, especially. I can say you’re partly responsible for creating the metrosexuals in this country. They know exactly what they want and they wouldn’t simply pass the task of shopping for underwear to their partners, would they?

B

Yes, yes. Women, and metrosexuals. But never gay men.That would be too much trouble.

A

Trouble?

B

Trouble, because that would mean asking people for their sexual orientation. How many people are willing to answer that? So, yes, age, socio-economic status, media consumption, and pyschographics are what defines our target markets. And, yes, sex; that is, male or female. But never sexual orientation. If we got a lot of flak for putting together in an ad three sungka players who had just finished picking cowrie shells in the beach, imagine how much trouble would it bring us to mount another with two football players snuggling in their jockey shorts.

A.

Some people say that billboards have become eyesores in the city.

B

Eyesores? I’ll tell you, our billboards are the most beautiful things that have ever been erected in this city. Don’t you just love hard, muscular bodies that glisten with oil everywhere you turn your head to? It’s eyecandy, not eyesore. I can even say it’s art in the league of Robert Mapplethorpe’s works, so we’re giving people a free lesson on art appreciation.

A

Why does it have to be so big?

B

Of course, it has to be big! Who doesn’t love big? I even personally check on our male models to see if their equipment are big enough.

A

It’s the models who build the billboards?

B

What? Oh, well, what I really mean is, of course, our billboards should be that big for people to better see the quality of our underwear, how it’s different from that of our competitors, see for themselves the shaft – I mean, shape – of it.

A

A billboard bearing your ad toppled over during one stormy day a few years back. What can you say about billboards as hazards during typhoons as many billboards are built over residential areas?

B

It was an accident, so it wasn’t our fault.Why did those people choose to build their shanties at the foot of a billboard, in the first place, when they think it could harm them in some way? When a river overflows during a stormy day and it wipes out the houses on its banks, do you blame the river? Do you tell it, hey, you, river, move away! You’re a hazard! Residential areas? You mean, areas like Corinthian or White Plains?

A

A group of independent journalists did an investigative report on your company and found out that your clothes are made in sweatshop factories in China.

B

Well, at least it’s not in the Philippines. It’s cheaper there in China.

A

What about the sweatshop issue? The report said that dressmakers are locked inside poorly ventilated factories.

B

What can we do? It’s not as if we can dictate our Chinese contractors how to run their business. At least, these dressmakers have jobs. Our paper bags are made of recycled paper, and we sell t-shirts with Banoy Acuna’s large eyeglasses on them. I think that’s enough corporate social responsibility, don’t you think? Worker’s rights is not exactly our corporate communication team’s cup of tea. Besides, Filipinos will buy anything as long as it’s Banco and a model from Macondo wears it. Who are these journalists, anyway?

A

Speaking of Macondo models, Jose Arcadio Yamashita recently had this press conference where he blamed your company for his asthma. He said that during the shoot for one of Banco’s campaigns, you had him swim in a freezing swimming pool for twenty-four hours.

B

He’s an ingrate. Before he did that campaign with us, he had nothing but a bit role as a plumber with steroid-pumped muscles who can’t speak straight English nor Filipino in a corny sitcom that lasted only for two episodes. Look at him now: He’s got projects here and there despite his weird Filipino and lack of talent and girls and gays swoon over him because of his weird Filipino and lack of talent. All that because of Banco. And now he’s blaming us for his asthma? That’s ridiculous, if anything. Actually, we wouldn’t have moved the shoot to the pool had he been good in bed.

A

Bed?

B

Yes. The original idea was to shoot him lying on the hotel bed. The problem was, as soon as his back touched bed, he would doze off. He’s got a bad case of sleep apnea. We weren’t shooting a campaign for sleeping pills here, were we? How can you expect us to work with such a model? So unprofessional. It was already midnight and we still didn’t have any decent shot. Imagine how inconvenient it was for the whole team. So we decided to move the shoot to the pool and have him swim in it. And it was good. The water jolted him awake.

A

He said no one gave him any bathrobe after the shoot.

B

Why would we? After all the trouble he gave us? If only he had a brain as large as his biceps…

A

Now, what should fans of Banco expect this new year? Trunks that would keep its wearer afloat when the Great Flood comes?

B

First, let me thank you all for making us the top clothing brand in the country all these twenty years. We promise to continue providing you fashionable yet affordable clothes so you can look like your favorite celebrities without the hefty price tag. And exciting mornings as you commute to work, as we plan to fill the entire length of EDSA with our billboards. Now, for that floatable trunks, you just gave me an idea.

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