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Why the Jollibee videos mark the start of the fall of hugot content

In the past week, we saw from fast food giant a couple of sentimental Jollibee hugot videosflood our news feeds, with most of us responding in kind with a flood of tears.

As of this writing, the 3 videos together have accumulated a whopping 29 Million views on Facebook. That doesn’t include the views they got from FB pages that uploaded the videos on their own channels.

While there have been the few detractors (read haters) who criticized the videos, particularly The Vow for its similarity to McDo’s old Huling El Bimbo ad, most Filipinos “enjoyed” the ad. One such defender is digital marketing veteran Carlo Ople who even went as far as to publish his defense of the Jollibee commercial ads in an article.

All in all, the ads have undoubtedly tugged at a few million heart strings & done their job of further improving brand affinity for an already well loved Jollibee.


I myself am a huge fan of the campaign & I’m lucky to know one of the people who worked on them.

But while this counts as a massive win for the brand, this may also spell the start of the end of a trend – hugot content.

The rise of hugot content

Ever since the first few viral videos, Filipinos have embraced “hugot”, with the term amassing popularity in the past few years. Our obsession with hugot mirrors our love for soap operas. Filipinos seem to thrive off of inflicting emotional self-harm.

This hugot culture can be seen in almost all facets of our modern culture. Ultimate hugot movies like One More Chance & That Thing Called Tadhana still resonate with millions, years after their release. Numerous Facebook pages dedicated to sharing broken hearted content also started popping up.

Grabbed from Wandering Weekend Warrior’s FB page

Spoken word also saw a rise in popularity with the likes of Juan Miguel Severo getting featured on On The Wings of Love. In the music scene, Up Dharma Down, sorry, UDD’s dominance also traces its success to the weight of emotions that their sound & lyrics carry.

And as with any trend, marketers are often the quickest (or slowest depending on who you ask) to jump in. That’s why we see a lot of hugot content coming from brands as well, the latest & one of the most successful, being Jollibee’s string of videos.

Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s ad

In my opinion, hugot content started to get saturated in 2016 but the current virality of Jollibee hugot video series definitely put the final nail on the coffin.

As is often the case when a brand comes up with something spectacular, marketers & the upper management from other companies often fall into a state of FOMO. Creative agencies should brace themselves for briefings where the clients will inevitably say “gawa tayo ng parang ‘yong Jollibee ads.”

Grabbed from Ad People of Manila’s Twitter account

And with marketers by the hundreds scrambling to come up with their own hugot campaigns, consumers will start seeing a lot more senti videos pop up in their news feeds. A lot of these will be rushed, half-baked & will have no real relevance or impact to the brands. Eventually, consumers will get tired of brands’ hugot content.

This doesn’t mean that we will ever break off our complicated relationship with all things sawi & sentimental. We’ll just start seeing these types of videos become less and less effective, and requiring way more effort.

Ladies and gentlemen we are bearing witness to a classic tragedy of the commons. This happened when SEO marketers put their keyword stuffing on steroids. This happened when social media marketers spammed their followers’ news feeds. And it’s happening again with hugot content. Marketers will abuse it, & people will get tired of it.


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