Zorrilla dead at age 70
() - August 20, 2002 - 12:00am
Antonio "Zorro" Zorilla, founding chairman and CEO of ZPA/PR Consulting, the nation’s leading perceptions management firm, died Sunday. He was 70 years old and died of heart failure, according to a family spokesperson.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, Aug. 23, 7:30 p.m. at Union Church, Legaspi cor. Rada sts., Legaspi Village, Makati City.

Zorro, as Zorrilla was fondly called, was one of the country’s leading practitioners in the field of public relations, advertising, and news and public affairs. Of the founders of the country’s 4As, he is considered the dean of Philippine advertising.

Under his management, ZPA/PR Consulting, which he founded in 1973, introduced the use of PR in marketing, healthcare, mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts and IPOs. The consultancy is consistently cited by the PR community for excellence and as trend-setter in crisis communications, litigation support, financial PR, social marketing and community and government relations.

Zorrilla was the first Filipino adman to realize that "copy writing" was and is the raison de’etre behind the success of the world’s leading ad agencies. He also revolutionized and changed the Filipino businessmen’s poor and appreciation for the copywriter away from the ad agencies’ glamorized salesman, the account executive.

Zorrilla’s communications career began in 1949. While still a 16-year-old student, he auditioned for and was hired as a staff member of the Manila Broadcasting Co. (DZMB), an affiliate of the National Broadcasting Co. (NBC). By the summer of 1950, he had become the youngest news program producer/anchor reporter of MBC’s nightly English news edition. A part-time job as a Radio-TV department manager of the now defunct Philippine Promotions Bureau, the largest PR agency at that time, opened his eyes to broadcasting as a medium of marketing communications.

In 1951, he was invited by the newly-opened Republic Broadcasting System (now GMA-7) to manage DZBB’s news department and serve as chief of announcers. In two years he was relocated to Cebu City to assume the post of vice president. Visayas, Mindanao, where he successfully built and managed a chain of AM-FM stations.

In 1958, while directing the RBS network radio’s coverage of the air crash that took the life of the late President Ramon Magsaysay, Ace Advertising Agency offered him the position of management supervisor, Radio-TV advertising. He was elected member of Ace Advertising Agency’s board of directors and appointed EVP/operations chief in 1962. In the same year, he led the agency’s merger with the then Compton Advertising of New York.

In 1966, he organized his own firm, Pacifica Publicity Bureau, which became the nation’s fifth largest advertising and PR consultancy in just two years from the start.

Among Zorrilla’s classic ad campaigns were Asiong Aksaya, Sandal sa Pader, Jolly ring-O, Go ahead, Use your coconut, Goodah Soups, Jack & Jill Snacks’s Hear How Great They Taste, Haplos Vicks Haplos ng Pagmamahal, Philippine Airlines – Asia’s 1st Airline, PALsMILES Club, PALakbayan Tours, PAL Jumbolilit Fairs, You’ve Got to be The Best to Be A Ladies’ Choice, J&J – For Grownups Who Want To Be Babied, to name a few.

Zorrilla is also remembered for having anchored the GMA-7 nightly network news program "News at 7" from the late 70s until the early 80s. He then went on to produce and host award winning programs "Someone’s On Your Side" and "Profiles of Power."

Zorrilla is survived by his wife, the former Leny Artadi de laO’ and five sons and two daughters, now all married.

ACE ADVERTISING AGENCY ADVERTISING AMONG ZORRILLA ASIONG AKSAYA BE A LADIES CEBU CITY COMPTON ADVERTISING OF NEW YORK FOR GROWNUPS WHO WANT TO BE BABIED GOODAH SOUPS ZORRILLA
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