Milo plus Mom

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Nanette Franco-Diyco

THE LATEST MILO TV commercial shows a mother’s supreme efforts to personally do everything she can, to help her son excel in his aim: to be a champion.

What I like about it is the magnificent simplicity with which the story is told. There are no ultra-unique camera angles, complicated effects, overly dramatic lines. Director Stephen Ngo’s major intent was “to show an emotional, inspirational material through production design, lighting, and acting of lead talents.”

Publicis Senior Account Manager Mica Valencia revealed that Director Stephen shot the material in normal speed, with minimal use of effects, in order to capture the authenticity of emotions and movement of the actors. “His peg was more like a documentary,” she said.


About a week ago, I heard about the plenary session of the 2016 Nestlé Sales Kickoff, held at the Sofitel with 1,300 people in attendance, consisting of sales and business units. What struck me was how, I’m told, “a lot of mothers and fathers actually shed copious tears when the Milo commercial was first shown.”

When I finally caught the 2-minuter online, I, too, remembered and felt again the unconditional love we mothers unselfishly give our children — which they all give back in return, year after year after year. No wonder this newly launched material is so kurot sa puso (pinch at the heart). Call this Milo commercial a masterpiece in relevance.

Producer Jem Lim recounts: “The biggest challenge was how to fit the story within 2 minutes without compromising the emotional angle. It is very difficult to create a linear story showing the relationship of mother and son — how mom goes through so much to uplift the son’s confidence — while also telling the story of the son’s journey to become a champion.”

I like the end tag, which encapsulates the son’s journey: “Champions: they don’t give up.”

Ms. Lim adds: “This is also the first Milo TVC where we see Mom’s active and physical involvement in her son’s activities. The bigger champion to me here is the mom. Stephen was able to interpret the simple storyline into something very heartwarming.”

I surely find the final part of the end tag giving the stellar role of championing to mothers, crowning their sons’ journey: “Because, every day, you don’t give up on them.” Call this end tag a mother’s day-to-day driving force.

The producer also stressed the role of music in the commercial: “The challenge was also in the sound. You don’t hear so much dialogue. The music, actors, and editing played key roles. Without excellent actors, this would have fallen flat on its face. The music needed to be subtle, needed to move with the emotion of the pictures. In this case, less is really more.”

Publicis stated that the objective of the commercial is “to communicate that Milo PLUS mom helps raise a champion child.” The objective is met indeed, which is consistent with the other Milo commercials of the past. I must say though that the 30-second edit-down for television misses out somewhat on the palpable warmth specially achieved in its newly launched 2-minuter that one can view only in YouTube.

The precious frames that build up from the tumult of a son’s defeat in football at the very beginning of the commercial, leading to the mother’s persevering intense efforts to speedily learn to train him right in their own backyard — her struggles and sacrifices — are precisely what make the material stand head and shoulders in vibrancy above the rest of the Milo commercials and other competing drinks in the category.

Without them, the new commercial is identifiable with other “Milo builds champions” campaigns of yesteryear. You must go to YouTube and catch this new 2-minuter ( It takes a different trajectory. The pacing and the flow of the story, and the visuals, provide great moments of illumination.

Take a graceful bow, ad agency Publicis Manila, client Nestlé Philippines, and production house Pabrika. Quite a triad of collaborators that butted heads to provoke thought and creatively glorify mothers to the hilt.

Credits. Client-company, Nestlé Philippines: Jaques Reber, chairman and CEO; Sherilla Bayona, business executive manager (beverages); Paolo Mercado, communications director; Jayel Ladioray, creative services head; Ellen Isturis, lead consumer marketing manager; Janice Yang, consumer marketing manager; and Dorothy Mediavillo / Christine Borillo, media relations head.

Ad agency, Publicis Manila: Matec Villanueva, chairwoman; Raul Villegas, managing director; Chrissy Roa, division head; Hannah Poblador, acting associate business director; Antoi Almosa, account director; Mica Valencia, senior account manager; Paolo Fabregas, executive creative director; Avery Alina, senior art director; and Alex Gonzales, copywriter.

Production house, Film Pabrika, Inc.: Marivic San Juan, chief operating officer; Stephen Ngo, director; Christine Blando and Cris Pasturan, assistant directors; Jem Lim and Danise Talaba; and Enric Munchua, caster.

Post-production house, Optima Digital.

Soundtrack, Loudbox: Gino Cruz, arrangement, and Corinne de Jose, audio engineer.

Nanette Franco-Diyco ended her 15th year advertising career as Vice-President of JWT, segueing into the world of academe, currently teaching communications at the Ateneo de Manila University.