The whole concept behind the economies of scale has always been a fact of life here in the Philippines. But some "product developers" (or mad scientists) at pseudo-ketchup mega-brand UFC have just insulted the Filipino middle class even further. (And the citizens don’t even know it yet.)
Introducing UFC Sarsarap Rice Buddy! The latest “product” from another semi-monopolistic conglomerate aimed at making a buck off hapless people, while helping push the rapid downward spiral of Filipino malnutrition even faster than ever.
"...But man… to peddle a product of such questionable value..."
As an ad guy for over a decade and a half, I can imagine the ultimate joke is that the cost of the tri-media ad campaign, the fees of a has-been celebrity endorser, the product development fees of the creative house, the “research and development” costs, and the production cost of the sachet packaging makes the cost of the actual product mere crumbs.
At P5.00 per sachet (suggested retail price), I’m guessing that a few milliliters of starch, sugar, MSG, breadings, flavoring powder, and of course water will chalk up less than a single Peso at the most. And I’m being generous there.
So the product exists mainly so we can see a poor cup of rice haplessly made to look like said has-been celebrity endorser singing a sad, sad tagline: “No more lonely rice.”
"...so rich and delicious that people sometimes came by to buy only the sarsa..."
In the advertising universe not too long ago in an ethical galaxy now far, far away… there was a beloved product called “Mang Tomas Sarsa ng Litson.”
People may not know this, but legend has it (according to my yaya, when I was a child) that there really WAS a Mang Tomas lechon store in Metro Manila. And the legend further states that their “sarsa” (or liver gravy, for non-Filipinos who may be reading this) was so rich and delicious that people sometimes came by to buy only the sarsa.
Fast forward to the present. The lechon store is no more (was it ever?), but the bottled sauce lives on. People have made “Mang Tomas” a staple in the cupboard. Used with or without lechon. Now the concept of using anything one can find in the cupboard to top off some rice, whether it be with some soy sauce, or a pinch of salt, a bit of bagoong, a spot of banana “ketchup,” or (horrors) Mang Tomas, is a common practice in every Filipino home. In my “growing years” (which didn’t do me much height-wise), I have wolfed down up to five cups of rice matched up against a single tablespoon of bagoong (again, shrimp paste, for non-Pinoy readers).
At one point, Mang Tomas “Sarsa ng Litson” was relaunched into “All-Around Sarsa” with an amusing ad campaign that featured local band, Parokya ni Edgar. One of the most memorable moments of that ad was when Mang Tomas was used (horrors, in public view!) to top off rice as a viand substitute, and even as a bread spread (again, horrors!).
But see, while some people found it demeaning, it was being done. And at the very least, it was presented merely as an “alternative use.” It’s pretty common to find a bottle of Mang Tomas in very other Filipino home. What the residents do with their sauce is none of anybody’s else business.
But man… to peddle a product of such questionable value to capitalize on a people trying to scrimp and save in every possible aspect, and render them even more malnourished than ever… a whole new level, man… if they used the money to produce the Sarsarap monstrosity and diverted it into a rural feeding program, they can probably cover a few hundred barangays.
I have been told that Sarsarap isn’t doing too well in the stores. I hope it falls sooner than expected. Because while I believe that Pinoys really are hanging on to every Peso like crazy, they still have enough self-respect to not want to be caught dead with a “product” that is pretty much little more than an added insult to a nation’s already deep injury.
‘catch you later…