The unique selling proposition of Pinoys
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE - Rod Nepomuceno (The Philippine Star) - June 17, 2013 - 12:00am

We’ve been hearing a lot of good news lately on how the Philippines is rocking:  6.6 percent GDP last year and now ADB has forecasted a six percent growth next year.  We seem to be going in the right direction. 

And the main reason for all this good news is that we Pinoys are inherently gifted, and we are now using our God-given gifts.  Some of us may not know it.  A lot of us might even deny it.  But the fact is, we Pinoys have it. We Pinoys are generally known for three positive “M” traits:  “maabilidad,” “maremedyo,” “madiskarte.”  Those are three different gifts.  Maabilidad means skillful.  We are a skillful lot. Pinoys are generally good at doing things.  Whether it’s nursing, domestic work, engineering, cruise ship servicing, designing, constructing, or managing, we Pinoys are typically good.  That’s the main reason why Pinoy labor is in demand all over the world. 

We are also maremedyo.  We are able to find a remedy or solution to any challenging situation.  Sometimes, it’s a “Band-Aid” solution – for example, using tarpaulin banners of politicians as additional lining for the roof. Personally, I don’t mind that solution.  The less political tarps on the walls, the better.  And then, we Pinoys are also madiskarte. We are able to maneuver well in any given situation, and we are able to do it in the most interesting ways.

But there are two other traits that Pinoys have:  inventiveness and resourcefulness.  To me, these traits are what make us Pinoys geniuses.  This is our Unique Selling Proposition (USP) to the world. Not a lot of people know this, but a lot of great inventions were the brainchild of a Pinoy. The yoyo, the jeepney, the antibiotic erythromycin, the anti-skin cancer cream, the 16-bit microchip that makes computers work a lot faster (by Diosdado Banatao), the karaoke sing-along system, the lunar rover/ moon buggy — these were all invented by Pinoys. Needless to say, these are all impressive and impactful inventions. But sometimes, what’s more impressive than inventing something new is when you reinvent or revolutionize something that’s been around for many, many years and yet, no one has ever thought of improving that particular thing. 

One such thing that has remained the same and stagnant over the years is the Tetra Pak juice drink.  Every time I go to a wake (or a kiddie party), I’m normally offered a Tetra Pak juice drink.  Sometimes I accept the offer, and when I do, I encounter two problems:  one, there’s usually no straw; and two, even when I find a straw, the hole that’s meant to be poked by the straw is very tough to punch through.  Often the straw gets mutilated before you can actually thrust it in.   And when the hole remains stubbornly impenetrable (as is always the case), you’re left with no choice but to invert the darn pack and just thrust the straw in the bottom part. And before you can take a sip, you’re already riled up and in a bad mood.

Recently, I met with a businessman named Wilson D. Go.  He is a very simple man but full of wisdom. He is in the aluminum and glass business but he decided to get into the beverage business because he came up with a really cool idea:  the Wise-Pack.

The Wise-Pack is a patented juice package design created and owned by Mr. Go.  Made of soft plastic material, the Wise-Pack is pliable and compact, slim and lightweight, and most importantly for a developing country like the Philippines, economical.  In beverage production, packaging accounts for the biggest component of the price that consumers pay — often even more than the content that consumers drink.  For a comparable volume of 240 ml, a brand-new glass bottle costs P12, an aluminum can costs P9 and a rigid plastic bottle costs P6. In addition to the high cost of the packaging material, distributors and retailers are also mindful of the fact that beverages represent a significant logistics cost because of the large volume of space and weight eaten up by traditional containers for delivery and warehousing, shelf and cooler space, labor and power costs.

Sensing an opportunity to find a total solution that will provide Filipino consumers a superior beverage experience at an affordable price, Mr. Go concluded that the key lies in significantly reducing the combined direct and indirect costs associated with traditional packaging that burdens manufacturers, distributors, retailers and most of all, consumers.  WDG extensively researched and eventually found a packaging container made of soft plastic shaped like a pillow that significantly reduced the packaging material. Unfortunately, it did not have the capacity to stand. WDG worked with packaging engineers to develop his own version. Finally, after years of investing considerable time and money, WDG gave birth to his own minimalist design — a pouch that lent itself to stacking horizontally and could also stand on its own like a bottle. He also extended the spout to serve as a built-in straw, eliminating the cost, hassle, and hazards of using a straw. For this innovation, WDG was awarded two patents for industrial use and design for seven years. The Wise-Pack uses an outer PET and inner PE lining to provide a good barrier and a long shelf life.

“There are seven benefits and advantages from using the Wise-Pack over traditional containers,” said the quiet and reserved WDG.  “For consumers: 1) its lower packaging cost means more of the cost of goods is invested in higher juice quality;  2) it’s safer than glass and cleaner than soda plastic bags; 3) it’s easier to open, easier to use; 4) it can be consumed frozen, as ice candy, and you can’t do this with other packs.  For trade partners:  5) it takes up less space and weighs less;  6) cools faster and cools more. For the environment: 7) the packaging is environment-friendly because it is 100-percent recyclable, and since it’s pliable, it can even be rolled up after use and kept in one’s pocket to avoid littering.”

How can you possibly argue against all those benefits, right?

The first beverage brand to utilize Wise-Pack is called Chooga Juice, which was officially launched on Willie Revillame’s show Wil Time Big Time last October.  Chooga is a creative spelling of the English word “chug” meaning to enjoy and swallow without pausing.  Chooga Juice in Wise-Pack was launched by Go’s Refreshment Republic, Inc. (RRI), whose corporate philosophy is “Refreshment for Life.” I asked WDG what his motivation was for designing Wise-Pack and formulating Chooga Juice, WDG replied with typically disarming honesty, “I’d like to refresh Filipinos with nutritious beverages.”

To WDG, I tip my hat to all of you. I never thought juice drinks could be improved in seven ways. WDG is the perfect embodiment of our “USP” as a country.  Because of you, my juice drinking experience will be much, much better.

May WDG serve as an inspiration to all Pinoys who always strive to make things better.  It is this indomitable spirit that makes the Pinoy — and the Philippines — uniquely special.

* * *

For inquiries on distribution and toll manufacturing opportunities of Chooga Juice in Wise-Pack, interested parties may e-mail, call 709-8888 or fax 709-0000.

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