InsightPress Release

Filipino consumers seek brands to confront today’s societal issues, according to BBDO Asia report

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Creative network BBDO Asia 1 has released the 13th edition of BBDO Voices titled “Brand Purpose in Asia.” The 45-page report looks at the growing relevance of Brand Purpose in Asia through its study of consumers from markets such as Mainland China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, India, and the Philippines.

Asia is home to more than half of the world’s population. Its booming economy and glittering cities are testimony to the so-called “Asian miracle” that has lifted half a billion people out of poverty over the last few years. Yet many of its countries still face tough challenges determining whether they can continue their path to prosperity or fall victim to economic stagnation, social unrest, and political instability.

In the Philippines, these challenges include global warming. The country is vulnerable to natural calamities such as typhoons, floods, and landslides, which have resulted in the loss of lives, homes, and livelihoods. BBDO Asia’s latest report on Brand Purpose in Asia reveals that because Filipino consumers are increasingly conscious of the environment, they want brands to champion sustainability.


Consumers are looking for brands that invest in sustainable practices and who use environmentally friendly materials in their products. Some brands have already answered this call, including the likes of “The Dissolving Bottle and “Kintab,”  which take on plastic pollution in unique ways, eliminating packaging waste by dissolving directly in water. Brands that champion sustainability and support environmental causes are more likely to resonate with Filipino consumers and earn their loyalty.

Citizens also want brands to make products affordable for all, and help local communities thrive (e.g., using local ingredients, help on government initiatives, etc.). We call this the ‘Brand Purpose Paradox’, a phenomenon that the researchers discovered which explains the less robust an economy or the lower the country’s GDP per capita is, the greater the people’s desire for a brand’s contribution to society becomes.

This is best presented in markets like the Philippines and India where citizens expect brands to fill gaps in society that governments often cannot in contrast to countries like Japan and Korea where brands are less expected to alleviate the challenges of daily living.

While the Philippines is rooted in conservative religions, the report also reveals that the consumer desire for brands to advocate for the LGBTQ community is weaker than average in the Asian region. However, brands can still reinforce positive change by promoting diversity and inclusivity in their messaging, products, and actions. By doing so, brands can connect with open-minded Filipino consumers who are looking for socially responsible and forward-thinking brands.

“Consumers appreciate the efforts of companies in nation-building, especially in third-world countries such as ours where the government is challenged on many fronts. Patriarch companies such as Ayala, San Miguel, and SM continue to support with efforts in infrastructure, sustainability, agriculture, healthcare, education, and disaster response,” said BBDO Guerrero CEO Francine Kahn-Gonzalez.

With a population of over 100 million, the Philippines presents a huge opportunity for brands to make a positive impact on the environment, and give back to the community while driving business growth.

“Asian consumers are looking to brands and companies to be part of the solution rather than the problem, and our findings show promoting a brand or company’s values helps drive shareholder value. However, there are many ways companies can easily do brand purpose ineffectively. Our analysis provides valuable insight on how to leverage purpose while avoiding common pitfalls,” said BBDO Asia COO Hans Lopez-Vito, who led the study.

With its latest study, BBDO Asia hopes to help marketers, brands and companies build effective purpose-driven brand narratives beyond their gain when wanting to connect with consumers in this region.

“Marketers should take notes on the attitude and trends we see towards brand purpose. Advertising needs to be bold and reflect the world we live in. In the past, we’ve seen brands with purpose make a big difference, but also improve their bottom line. We’ve seen efforts like P&G India’s #SharetheLoad campaign impact society long-term, and Unilever has said that their purpose brands are growing faster than others. We’ve seen that purpose-driven brands have a big impact on Asian markets, but the effect goes beyond regional borders. In the Middle East, last year, we saw how a brand restored local elections through a campaign dubbed the ‘Election Edition.’ This just goes to show that brand purpose has the power to effect real change in the world,” added Hans.

Click here to download the full report containing consumer insights into each country examined.

Partner with adobo Magazine

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