Campaign Spotlight

Campaign Spotlight: Max’s Restaurant and PETCH go unconventional for The House that Fried Chicken Built

MANILA – When we think of Max’s Fried Chicken, some of the words that undoubtedly come to mind are “tradition” or “classic.” Those aren’t meant to insult an institution such as Max’s, of course, they just serve to back the idea that this Filipino-owned restaurant that has been around since 1945 has been part of the fabric of Pinoy life for so long.

Generations have enjoyed the unique way that chicken is prepared in “the house that fried chicken built,” as well as the other Filipino dishes that both natives, tourists, and balikbayans keep coming back to the Max’s branch closest to them. Yet it is that same tradition that the company wanted to turn on its head with its latest, particularly quirky, new campaign.

There’s no doubt that you’ve probably already seen the ad (more like a short film) that’s over four minutes long. It starts off with the classic VST & Co. disco tune “Rock Baby Rock” blaring as a particularly muscular chicken is shown gathering logs and stones as he prepares to build something. While a tiger plays guitar in the background, “Chicken” is stacking bricks, using a buzzsaw, and even taking a bubble bath as he builds “the house that fried chicken built.”


The scene then switches as Chicken puts out a sign that reads, “Wanted: Housemates.” After a few not-so desirable applicants make their case, he finally settles on a pig (shoving a bamboo pole down its throat) and a bottle of banana ketchup as his new friends. To commemorate the occasion, a party is thrown, this time with The Boyfriends’ own disco classic, “Sumayaw Sumunod” as the backdrop.

It’s a pretty surreal party scene (as if the rest of the film hasn’t been surreal already) which stretches into the next day. Chicken wakes up and gives his customary wake-up crow while the rest of the house is still in a state of chaos. He turns on the radio as Hotdog’s “Bongga Ka Day” opens this new morning. In a pretty good mood to start the day, Chicken is dancing along until he stumbles into a bathroom to find his pig housemate and a cow in separate bathtubs. A few moments of awkwardness follow before the house is shown from the outside, shaking with a message of “No animals were harmed during the making of this film” shown. The film concludes with the presentation of Max’s new dishes, specifically the Crispy Pata Rice Bowl and Kare-Kare Rice Bowl.

In an exclusive interview with adobo, Jim T. Fuentebella, Chief Marketing Officer of Max’s Group, Inc., shared some insights on this highly unusual ad. “The premise of this campaign was to address a younger market, introduce a new product, and launch it online,” Fuentebella shared. “Since the market for this material was very different from the customers we were trying to talk to in our campaigns before, we believed we had to approach it differently, and perhaps, even be open to making a departure from what we were doing well traditionally. We wanted to talk to the younger crowd in a way that was fresh and unexpected but still relatable, all while remaining true to the Max’s brand and its heritage.”

Though it might seem unusual for Max’s to use a comedic slant for this campaign, Fuentebella points out that the brand has always embraced humor. “Some find it unusual that Max’s used a more humorous approach, in fact, this was already present when we began in 1945. You can find wit in the rendering of the relationship between the 2 chickens that were used as part of Max’s brand identity when it was first established. Max’s is a brand that enjoys a good laugh, and while we recognize and value our heritage, we’re also open to adapting to make our brand more relevant to our customers.”

As for the use of classic Pinoy disco, Fuentebella bares that this was not suggested by new agency PETCH. “It was Max’s who decided to use OPM for the film. Upon hearing the groovy tunes of the 70s Pinoy music, we felt that it was the perfect fit to allow us to tie it back to our Filipino roots,” he says. As for the need for these particular tunes, he adds, “I don’t think any other selection of songs would have helped complete our message the way the current songs do. The music was crucial for us to establish the tone and feel of the story, and also helped our audience find the film more familiar and relatable despite being surreal.”

For his part, Andrew Petch, Chairman/CCO of PETCH, shares, “Our team’s strategy was to create a brand campaign that communicated the famous slogan written on the front of every restaurant since 1945 – ‘The House that Fried Chicken Built’ – in order to not alienate our ‘older audience’ but execute it in way that was seen as ‘cool by a new younger audience’ It also communicated our new product offerings: Pork in a Bowl and Beef in a Bowl.”

Petch adds that the idea was to create, “A feature film that turned the restaurant’s menu into a movie by turning its food items into human characters. That told the story of how the fried chicken built the house, how it brought the other food items into the house and finally how the newest food items – the Pork in Bowl and Beef in a bowl – came to be in the house too. The film was promoted like any modern film with character trailers, an official trailer and film posters.”

With the film already getting over 2.4 million views on Facebook since it was posted on June 19, the question now is, will Max’s and PETCH create a sequel to this crazy ad? “To be honest, we were very excited to see how the public would react to this kind of material from us,” says Fuentebella. “They’ve known us over the years for having emotional ads but we wanted a fresher approach. We’ve seen varying reactions and we appreciate this kind of feedback because it allows us to calibrate and improve. As for sequels, I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned to our Facebook page!”

Campaign Credits:

Chief Executive Officer: Carolyn Trota-Salud
Chief Marketing Officer: Jim T. Fuentebella, Max’s Group, Inc.
Chief Operating Officer: Ariel P. Fermin
Marketing Director: Mark Gamboa
Senior Marketing Manager: Cynthia Bahia
Digital/PR Manager: Millie Morales
Marketing Associate: Abigail Mary Sha

Creative Agency: Petchworldwide
Chairman/CCO: Andrew Petch
Creative Director: Rachel Villanueva
Senior Copywriter / Concept Creator: Rachel Villanueva
Senior Art Director / Concept Creator: Carlton S. Coon
Copywriter / Concept Creator: Tim Ng
Art Director: Jade Gotera / Edward Balthazar / Bernard Gatus
Copywriter: Thea Batalagas
Account Director: Adrian Antonio
Finished Artists: Joelan Pescadero 

Film Director: Joel Limchoc
Production Company: Film Pabrika
Producer: Jem Lim
Assistant Producer: Robert Sena
Producers Company: Just Add Water
Editors/Colorists: EO + / Edge Manila Creatives Corporation
Music/Sound: Hit Productions

Media Agency: Carat Philippines
Media Director: Francis Cruz
Planning Lead: EJ Patacsil
Media Buying Director: Edith Ibanez
Digital Strategist: Chappy Sioco
Media Buyer: Kristine Ann Villamor
Social Media Head: Jules Oballo
Social Media Manager: Kristine Diacajo

Partner with adobo Magazine

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