GCC Filipinos React to vivo Campaign Highlighting Pinoys

The brand recently launched an online ad featuring local Filipino personalities to introduce the V20 smartphone in the region.

With the release of the new vivo V20 in the emirates and the rest of the GCC, Filipinos have been placed at the center stage as part of the brand’s latest communication initiative. With the official slogan ‘Be the Focus,’ the campaign featured local personalities including artists, fashionistas, and performers from the community.

The cast included painter and sand artist Nathaniel Alapide, poet Danabelle Gutierrez, magician Normando Macalinao, fashion personalities Gweys Soriano, Valentino Montuerto Jasmin, Ivan Cabatit, Khel Recuenco, and Anna Llagas, beauty and lifestyle influence Nina Carpio, fitness professional Jevily Florida Painagan, photographer/entrepreneur Hyku Desesto and dancers CL Frostyle Trasmano, Cath Kaye Sabayle, RJ Ubungen, Jhayr Bueno, Jake Pelaez, and Paolo Gabriel Benitez.

Filipinos, despite their strong presence in the region, have always been under-represented and portrayed in mainstream media in very stereotypical support roles.  Hence the campaign was welcomed as a breath of fresh air, which provided timely acknowledgment to the Gulf’s third-largest ethnic community.

Speaking to Illustrado, personalities and community leaders shared their reactions to the campaign.


Seeing Filipinos in the spotlight in the latest vivo campaign makes me proud Filipina. From the style to the attitude, this campaign has carved a unique niche in delivering what the market would want to see. Filipinos are now really taking a step to have a spot in the light, and that is something that the world has to see because there is still more to what meets the eye. Filipinos shine from within, but when the light is focused on us, we can illuminate, inspire, and uplift more lives.

Sherizze Sean Curate Acot, Artist & Model (UAE)


I feel proud to see Filipinos as ambassadors of the brand. We are diverse, talented, enthusiastic, dedicated, and most of all, artistic – perfect for the brand to put its focus on. It’s time for Filipinos to be in focus.”

Jason Roi Bucton, Community Leader (UAE)


Being a Filipino myself I couldn’t be more proud to see our kababayans in a mainstream campaign. It’s about time that we are put in the spotlight as our contribution in many industries is undeniable knowing that Filipinos are one of the most active users in social media and one of the biggest consumers in the world today.”

Hilarion Oliver, Influencer (KSA)


I can say that it’s about time. First of all, the ad itself is vibrant, confident, and upbeat. It resembles who we are now. I think the time is right; it’s time to harvest. If you go back to EON’s survey, the Filipinos, compared to other expats, are the ones who are not afraid to spend. We got a taste, we know our brands, and we love eating out and shopping. We are the top consumers in the UAE, so we might as well put ourselves in the spotlight as the fire starters, the makers, the movers, and the influencers.  We are the indelible ink in UAE-sphere.”

Agnes Marelid, Brand Philippines Proponent (UAE)


It was indeed a proud feeling to see Filipino talents to be part of such an amazing campaign that highlights and gives focus to our pool of creative minds in the community. Kudos to Vivo Arabia #BeTheFocus!

Bethoven Filomeno, Teacher & Photographer (UAE)


As a Filipino myself, I feel proud to see Filipinos in the mainstream mobile ad. As we are known as the number one social media users in the world, and we give more organic traction to brands online.

Junie Sorsano, Influencer (UAE)


It makes me feel more relevant in a diverse country like the UAE. Filipinos deserve this kind of opportunity, not just to be seen but also to be appreciated more. We contribute more than only as manpower, but as talents and creatives of this fast-paced society.

Mau Piodena, HMUA (UAE)


Nothing makes us prouder than to finally see Filipinos be the main focus for a regional campaign! Our efforts for the International community to see us in a bigger, brighter, and a different light is such an accomplishment. It inspires every Pinoy to reach further for their dreams and aspirations. We’re getting the respect and recognition we deserve! Mabuhay and Taas Noo palagi Pilipino”

Leslie Fiestan – Artist (KSA)


BeTheFocus with vivo is truly a remarkable campaign! It does not only highlight the awesomeness of Filipino spirit and traits but also showcases the diverse and world-class Filipinos who, just like any other nationalities, deserve the spotlight, and yes – focus!

Maria Josephine Abina, Business Leader (Oman)


I love vivo’s wonderful piece on the journey and impact of the Filipinos who’ve made a difference through the years in the Middle East. As a Filipino, I am deeply grateful for the wonderful support and emphasis on our story that acknowledges our resilience, adaptability, and how strongly capable we are of anything we wish to overcome.

Rian Miranda, Entrepreneur (KSA)


It made me feel so much pride as a Filipino seeing an all-star cast in a campaign like this. Seeing fellow Filipinos who are top caliber within their field makes me raise my flag. Filipino represent! Truly world-class!

Elton Lipanta, Artist (UAE)


Behind the Campaign

Asked about how the campaign came to be, Othmane Oubrahim, GCC Head of Brand at vivo shares, “I have lived here for more than 16 years and one thing that stands out in this country is the diversity that we have. We have over 200 nationalities in a population that’s relatively small, maybe 10 million. But one group of people that stands out whether they work in high profile positions or mundane jobs are Filipinos, who, for the most part, always seem to have incredible hidden skills or hidden talents that we feel the vivo V20 can help bring out in them. The whole point of the V20 is to be the focus. And I think it’s about time that we shine that focus on that Filipino community to bring out more than just their nine to five jobs.”

He continues, “As is true of every vivo phone, we change the game with innovation. We change the game with specs, prices, and the technologies we create, which other brands adapt and adopt. That’s a perfect fit with the Filipino community because they have their unique style, take on life, and this infectious positivity that we feel is the perfect match with the V20.”

Check out the official BTS for the #BeTheFocus campaign

Roxie Negrillo, Business Unit Director at PHD Media – vivo’s agency in the region, cites the brand’s natural link with the Filipino community, “I see a very strong affinity with vivo and the Filipinos because both have a challenger story. Filipinos are challenging the region’s norms, and we are known for our grit, our passion, and our perseverance.

She adds, “I’ve seen a transformation in the way we Filipinos are portraying ourselves in the region. We are evolving into a different breed. We are more confident, more fearless, and we have more grit than ever. There are so many talented Filipinos out there. And this is something we must showcase. This collaboration with vivo is something special because we are telling a different story – that the time is now for the Filipinos to be the focus.”

Creative Director at Illustrado Mon Benitez remarks at the natural fit of the campaign with the company’s advocacy, “This was like an extension of what we’ve been doing in Illustrado for the longest time. When this project came, came to us, it was amazing. This fits like a glove and is so much within the DNA of Illustrado.  It’s very organic and aligned with our values. This was basically a fun way of showing that Filipino can be fun and fabulous.”

Managing Director Lalaine Chu-Benitez adds, “Filipinos have always been portrayed in a very limited perspective, so for us, this was a great opportunity to show a broader and more diversified narrative for Filipinos. We’re not just behind the scenes; we’re not just in supportive roles; some Filipinos are stars in their own right. And with brands like vivo appreciating the color and the contribution that Filipinos bring to the table. I think it’s an awesome thing for all of us.”

According to Illustrado Features Editor Alwee Villarosa, “Showcasing Filipino talent and what we can do as a collective is one of the better stories to tell out there. We have been trying to share these in Illustrado Magazine.  And this campaign is not manufactured; it’s about real people.  We’re just happy to be able to share that.”