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Lao, Adrien Axel
September 27, 2010
Public Relations Students’ Congress
“You’re plan is so vague,” said one of the judges of the Public Relations Students’ Congress (PRSC) in the Grand Prix.
PRSP, established on February 19, 1957, is a non-stock, non-profit organization by leading PR practitioners in the country. Its mission is to advance the practice of public relations by (1) uniting those engaged in the profession; (2) encouraging continuing education of practitioners; (3) generating public confidence in the profession by promoting high ethical practice and encouraging high standards of public service; (4) playing the active role in all matters affecting the practice of public relations; (5) and strengthening the relationships of public relations professionals with various stakeholders.
Being the premier organization for public relation professionals who represent business and industry, government, non-profit organizations, hospitals, schools, hotels and professional services among others, Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP) facilitates an annual prestigious competition among different colleges and universities in the Philippines called PRSC.
The said competition was joined by prestigious colleges and universities nationwide, such as University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, De La Salle University Manila, De La Salle University Dasmarinas, University of Santo Tomas, Southville International School and Colleges, St. Paul University Manila, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, including the five-time champion, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.
This year’s theme was Bagong Pinoy, Bagong Pinas, New Filipinos, New Philippines. Each school will present a market plan, and its case study is to brand the Philippines in the 21st century, just like how other countries branded theirs, such as Malaysia Truly Asia, Incredible India, and Hong Kong Live Life.
This year’s screening committee of the competition is composed of a dynamic and competent line-up of PR Practitioners. The following screening committee includes Stratworks PR Manager Harold Geronimo, WestRim, Inc. Communications Head Lou de Guzman, Publicus’ General Manager Malou Tiquia, former MeadJohnson’s Corporate Communications Manager Judd Sales, Globe Telecoms’ Head of Community Relations Division, Jeff Tarayao, Full Circle Communications Account Executive Paolo Escalona, MRM Worldwide (McCann-Erickson) Project Manager Mabie Encarnacion and Chito Maniago, Chairman of the 2010thPR Education and Student Affairs Council of PRSP and Senior Manager for Corporate Communication of Pfizer Inc.
From number schools, only seven advanced into the finals, the PRSC Grand Prix: Colegio de San Juan de Letran, De La Salle University- Dasma, De La Salle University-Manila, the 5-peat champion Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Southville International School and Colleges, St. Paul University Manila, and after six years of wait, the University of Santo Tomas (UST) for the first time has been qualified to enter the finals of the PRSC. The UST got the 2nd highest place in the screening.
Whoever wins the said competition; their plan will be submitted and presented to the Office the President. The criteria for a good marketing plan are issues involved in the plan that grasped the problem, effectiveness and attainability, creativity of collaterals, presentation and handling of questions.
But the UST’s theme Philippines I’m Home was not able to win in its congress debut. One judge said that their plan was vague, but did not explain anything to supplement his critic. Jose Margo Flores, one of the members of the UST team, contested, “Our case study is more of internal, if you’re going to review it, it’s not like promoting tourism in the Philippines as what other countries are doing; Philippines, I’m Home aims to capture the internal being of the Filipinos. The Judges didn’t understand Philippines as home; they misunderstood the plan as for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW’s) to return to their nation and serve as idles in their home.” “Home indicates idleness,” said one of the judges.
One of their coaches, Ruel Ferrer said to the team, “You’re plan is not vague, his comment is. A communicator should be able to communicate his comments well.”
Other judges also questioned their logo being Nippa Hut. They said that Nippa hut, the logo, and other designs such as banig, halo-halo, and jeepney were considered old styles in the 21st century and defined the country’s inferiority.
“We feel that ours is really a brand name, other participants sounded like a shampoo product and one even used the Panatang Makabayan as part of their presentation,” said Flores.
Ferrer said, “PLM’s Shine Pinoy and DLSU-Dasma’s Angat Pinoy were more of a good strategy in a plan than a brand for the country. These “strategies” would have been better if they were to be use in our own plan which is Philippines, I’m Home.”
Despite their lost, the team is still happy with the result of their marketing plan, “Masaya kame nung natapos yung contest kahit di kame nanalo, yung feeling na nakagawa kame ng magandang plan,” said Flores.
“Awards are just supplementary; I think that they have made a good marketing plan. They did their campaign well,” said Ferrer.
For the team, they don’t have any regrets. Even the feeling of “we should have done this or that.”
When asked if they think that the competition was fair, Flores answered, “Feeling ko fair naman, depende naman talaga kung sino yung judge, kung magprepresent ka ng plan laging may subjective sa judges, kung ano trip nila. Kahit gaano kaganda ung plan nyo, kung hindi yun ang trip nila, hindi mananalo yun. Kahit pa ma-tackle mo yung issues, may personal na gusto pa rin sila.”
The UST team was composed of different senior communications students from different sections in the University of Santo Tomas, faculty of Arts and Letters, who are taking up Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) under Mr. Ramon “Bong” Osorio.
Osorio gave his students, six groups per section, a case study called Bagong Pilipinas, which served as a screening for the students who are going to participate in the said competition. The plan was composed of products, services, and advocacies. The participants were chosen depending on their outputs in IMC—how they presented their works and their level of participation in the class.
The following students that were chosen include, Maritoni Basa, Jose Margo Flores, Pamela Magbitang, Deedah Velasquez, Andrea Lim Juico, Katarina Rebullante, Monica Chico, Marge Opilla, Pot Bernabe and Katrina Bauto.
They were grouped according to their specialties—Accounts, Tactics and Creatives. Accounts will form the plan on paper, Tactics will think of a way how to do the strategy in paper, and the Creatives will execute the plan. Basa, the group leader was also in charge of the Accounts.
Their coaches, who are professors in the media department in faculty, include Mr. Ramon “Bong” Osorio, Mr. Ruel Ferrer, and Mr. Nicky Salandanan. These coaches helped them through guidance in their brainstorming in the PR integrated plan, how they would present, what should they tackle, and what approach should they use. The participants submitted drafts to their coaches to be corrected and hear recommendations.
In the span of their preparation, they experienced tension in meeting their deadlines. The Creatives have to wait for the accounts to finish the paper before they could start their duties, and once the paper reaches them, they are pressured to finish it in a short period of time.
Another problem that they have encountered is the financing. They have to shed their own money just to produce the collaterals, costumes, props, and designs for their presentations. Over all, it cost them P16,000. But the university promised them to reimburse their expenses.
“Our block mates were very supportive. Let’s face the fact that as a student, P500 is already heavy, however, they are still there,” said Deedah Velasquez.
Velasquez also won the Best Presentor Award.