‘Brands should be relevant but not opportunistic’ in how they help Typhoon Haiyan relief effort: McCann study

A survey by ad agency McCann in the Philippines has found that nearly all Filipinos aged 21 and over expect brands to play a role in the recovery effort from Typhoon Haiyan, known locally at Typhoon Yolanda.

However, brands should be “relevant and not opportunistic” in how they help out, McCann Philippines’s VP and chief strategy officer Gino Borromeo has said.

The announcement:

Manila, Philippines. Ninety-six percent (96%) of Filipinos aged 21 years and older expect brands and private companies to play an effective role in the road to Philippine recovery from the effects of Typhoon Yolanda. This puts brands alongside global organizations (97%), such as the United Nations, the Red Cross, and the World Health Organization, as well as the international community (97%), as “effective” contributors to the recovery efforts of the country in the coming years.

This was uncovered in McCann Worldgroup Philippines’ Post Yolanda Consumer Sentiment Survey. The Agency, the country’s leader in integrated marketing solutions and champion of pioneering brands for positive change, believes that the Study underscores the bond between Filipino consumers and the brands that are part of their daily lives.

Gino Borromeo, Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer of McCann Worldgroup Philippines says: “Not only are brands seen as symbols of quality products and services; brands are indeed seen as part of the Filipinos’ lives and that in challenging times such as this, as a partner that could help empower and catalyze positive change. The onus therefore is on brands to make themselves visible, relevant, and reliable during these times. Brands should position themselves as partners not just in good times, but also in challenging times.”

He notes that there is the danger of being seen as opportunistic and solely concerned with selling and achieving business goals; however, Mr. Borromeo advises brands “to be true to themselves and to be respectful of the consumers. Brands have to be visible and be seen as relevant but should be very cautious such that they are not seen as opportunistic. Consumers know the stark difference between a heartfelt desire to help and an opportunistic desire to push one’s agenda during these challenging times.”

Brands as Sources of Inspiration, as Catalysts for Positive Change When asked “Which activities or projects should brands consider doing in view of the effects of the typhoon?”, 75% of the Filipinos surveyed said that brands should “inspire others to continue helping”, underscoring the need for brands to be involved not just in short-term relief and recovery efforts but also for continued involvement as the country rebuilds after the ill-effects of Typhoon Yolanda. Brands are also expected by 73% of the surveyed Filipinos to “actively cooperate in the Philippines’ recovery” Addressing environmental issues was also highlighted by a majority of the surveyed Filipinos as areas where brands should make a difference. Brands should “be more environmentally-friendly”, according to 75% of the surveyed respondents, as well as be supportive of climate change initiatives in the Philippines and globally (70%).

Raul M. Castro, McCann Worldgroup Philippines Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, says, “Brands are no longer just symbols of quality, of prestige, or of differentiation. They have evolved to become catalysts of and engines for positive change. Filipinos now expect brands to play a more active role in the betterment of the lives, not just of the survivors of the typhoon but of society at large.”

Full Recovery Expected to be up to Five Years, but Optimism Abounds

A majority of the Filipinos (71%) surveyed expect that the full recovery from the ill-effects of Typhoon Yolanda to last somewhere between one to five years. However, optimism abounds among the surveyed Filipinos.

84% expect that the Philippines will be better off in the next six months, with only 8% saying that the country will be worse. Forty-nine percent (49%) of the survey respondents also said that the Philippines will be better off after it fully recovers from the effects of Typhoon Yolanda.

A Return to Basics

When asked what changes respondents implemented in their lives as a result of the typhoon, close to two-thirds said that they have become more grateful and appreciative of the things that they now have (66%) and more ‘aware of my blessings’ (63%). Sixty-four percent (64%) also said that they are more positive about life in general, with another 61% finding recourse in prayers.

Castro says, “The typhoon – the strongest ever recorded in human history – and its effects are unprecedented. It is during these times that the Filipino spirit rises. We have already seen the indomitable Filipino spirit at work immediately after the typhoon left the country.

Grounded on faith, powered by our unconquerable spirit, and motivated by our philosophy of ‘Bayanihan’, the Filipino will thrive. Brands can play a role in building up and inspiring the Filipino to trudge on in spite of the challenges we are facing.”


About the Research

Five hundred (500) respondents aged 21+ were surveyed from 6th 2013 by McCann Worldgroup Philippines. Respondents from the Metro Manila Area, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao were represented in the survey.

The research is an initiative of McCann Truth Central, McCann’s intelligence unit, that has representation in over 100 countries around the world and is dedicated to discovering the truths that illuminate the world and help brands make their mark in it. For more about Truth Central or to access previous Truth Studies, visit:

Source: press release


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