Bayo, a Filipino clothing brand that specializes in women's apparel, recently unveiled its "What's your mix?" campaign. [Note: Several hours after this article was published, Bayo issued an official statement. Read about it in "Bayo apologizes for 'confusing ad campaign."]
The ad series consists of images featuring mixed heritage models. What appears to be the idea behind the campaign is the celebration of diversity by the so-called "mixing and matching" of cultures, much like one would mix and match clothes. However, some netizens point out that something may have been lost in the process of fleshing out the concept.
For starters, most people were confused over the "heritage" or "genealogy" taglines that ran with the "What's your mix?" images. For an image featuring Filipino-Australian actress Jasmine Curtis went: "50% Australian and 50% Filipino."
Arguably, Curtis' tagline was easy enough to grasp. But then the taglines for the other models confused people. One goes: "60% African and 40% Filipino." Another reads: "30% Indian and 70% Filipino." One netizen asked, "How did they come up with these numbers? Did they actually have the models' genealogy examined by experts?"
Even with poetic license taken into consideration, the ad series somehow misses its mark. Of course, we don't doubt the fact that the people behind it had very good intentions. It's just that, well, perhaps the way they went about it wasn't quite effective. Case in point: What supposedly appeared as the ad campaign's "explanatory copy" (or "manifesto").
Below is a word-for-word copy of the words from the said "manifesto," with the grammar and punctuation faux pas included as it appears in the print ad:
“This is all about MIXING and MATCHING. Nationalities, moods, personalities, and, of course, your fashion pieces. Call it biased, but the mixing and matching of different nationalities with Filipino blood is almost a sure formula for someone beautiful and world class. We always have that fighting chance to make it to the world arena of almost all aspects. Be it Fashion. Music. Science and Sports. Having Filipino lineage is definitely something to be proud of.
This campaign is also just about having fun creating your own look in accordance to your mood or present state of mind. Bayo strongly encourages everyone to be bold, fearless, undaunted, and unrestricted in mixing and matching their clothes. Mix tops and bottoms, dresses with pants, plain on plain, print on print, and the list can go on and on. There are no conventions and do's and dont's. Fashion now can be anything and everything.
Bayo's strength has always been it's (sic) classy, basic, and timeless pieces...only now, matched with key pieces with twists and turns, accessorized like there's no tomorrow. It really transforms to edgy and even dares to be sexy! Factor in the right mood and attitude, nothing can go wrong.
We at Bayo believe that the key to your fashion is to knowing what's your mix? (sic) And lastly BUY FILIPINO."
Based on the explanatory copy alone, it's clear that the brand wanted to say a lot of good things and champion a lot of good causes. Unfortunately, it seems that they're not successfully conveyed. The basis for that are the predominantly baffled comments made by netizens. GMA News Online, for instance, came out with an article on netizens being aghast over the campaign. The title of the article says it all: "Is the 'racist' Bayo advert real?"
However, the GMA News Online article observed that the "explanatory copy"/"manifesto" is now nowhere to be found on the Bayo website. (However, the Yahoo! SHE staff did manage to get a screengrab of a print ad with the "explanatory copy." The image has been shared on Facebook by various users.) As of this writing, Bayo has not yet issued an official statement about the ad series. They have not posted any statements to address the issue on their Facebook page either.
Mixed and mismatched reactions
The mark of a good ad is if it gets people talking. That's certainly been accomplished here. Then again, we have to ask, "What do people really think about it?" There are those who brush it off as "harmless" or praise it for being "creative," while there are others who say it has the effect of "examining dogs' pedigrees." Talk about mixed reactions.
Yahoo! Philippines SHE asks Pinays: "What do you think about the ad series?"
Yahoo! Philippines SHE encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.