PHILIPPINE mythological creatures ransacking the city was the clever marketing strategy of a Thomasian-led advertising firm for Netflix’s anime-inspired series “Trese.” 

 Days before the show’s premiere in June 2021, various Trese billboards nationwide were “suspiciously” vandalized with the words “Siyudad namin ‘to! Layas!” (This is our city! Leave!) in spray paint.

These “incidents,” which generated curious buzz in social media, were later revealed to be a marketing ploy by GIGIL, an ad agency hired by the Trese team.

“The client wanted something big and they wanted to be the talk of the town—they want something big out there. Iyon talaga ang direction ng client namin sa Netflix,” GIGIL founding partner and fine arts alumnus Herbert Hernandez told the Varsitarian.

“[Since] si Trese is parang pulis sa underworld, naisip namin na pag dumating siya, ang unang magagalit ay ‘yong mga aswang,” he added.

Video clips revealing the suspects behind the “vandalisms” as popular Philippine creatures like the aswang, manananggal, and tiyanak also made the rounds online and generated hype.

But GIGIL’s biggest stunt came in the transformation of media network ABS-CBN’s headquarters sign into “ABC-ZNN”, which is a reference to the TV station of the same name featured in one of Trese’s episodes. 

BREAKING: Trese has officially taken over ABC-ZNN!!!

Posted by Netflix on Friday, June 11, 2021

Hernandez said that their “ABS-CBN takeover” stunt was the most challenging to pull off.

“Ilang beses kami nadecline doon, pero we had to go back and to ask again, to tell them the degrees [that] being the first [Filipino] comic translated to anime, Trese is the pride of the Philippines,” he said.

Tropical storm Dante which hit the country during the latter part of May also proved to be a major hurdle for the ad firm as some of the billboards had to be taken down.

A concert for ghosts

GIGIL also created a special social media profile photo filter, with which audiences could turn themselves into ghosts during the pre-Trese launch virtual concert with Filipino band Up Dharma Down.

“Eto yung first na concert na ang crowd mga ghost so … gumawa kami ng filter na pwedeng maconvert mo yung sarili mo to a ghost para makasali dun sa launch,” Hernandez said.

GIGIL was also behind viral and peculiar commercials for RC Cola, Mega Tuna and Julie’s Bakeshop.

Based on the award-winning Filipino comic series by writer Budjette Tan and artists Kajo Baldisimo, Trese revolves around the adventures of Alexandra Trese, who investigates crimes involving supernatural beings in Philippine mythology and folklore.

The series ranked No. 1 in Netflix within 24 hours after its premiere.


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