The rise of Ligo Sardines as a social media voice during COVID-19 crisis

April 3, 2020 - 3:55 PM
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Ligo Sardines Philippines
A retro style visual of Ligo Sardines Philippines (Philstar.com/Release)

Ligo Sardines Philippines, one of the countries leading manufacturer of canned goods, posted another advertisement that seemingly voices out the public’s sentiments to the government.

The graphic advertisement it posted on Thursday showed the nutritional facts of its product with sriracha with the line: “Did someone ask for a breakdown?”

The caption read: “You know what’s great about Nutrition Facts? Transparency! Providing clear and detailed information leads to product trust.”

Several Filipinos took it as another statement addressed to the government as it is similar to the public’s call for transparency amid the perceived failure of the government to provide a breakdown of the hefty P275 billion allocated for the COVID-19 efforts.

President Rodrigo Duterte said that he allocated the public funds to the government’s nationwide social amelioration program for those severely affected by the month-long quarantine.

However, he mentioned that only P200 billion was given to him by the Congress by virtue of the Bayanihan We Heal as One Act (RA 11469).

Ligo Sardines lately became popular online due to its witty social media advertisements which Filipinos perceived to throw a “shade” against the government’s questionable policies during the duration of the enhance community quarantine.

The sardines company also earlier gained attention for its graphic advertisement that showed the canned goods’ easy-open feature accompanied by the line: “No special powers needed.”

This was coincidentally released when the Congress was tackling the special powers then yet to be granted to the president.

Filipinos then perceived it as a “shade” against Duterte’s bid for additional powers prior to the signing of the Bayanihan Act last March 24.

The company also released another graphic that showed the importance of “quality testing” amid the public’s clamor for mass testing.

Aside from these, Ligo Sardines also released advertisements that can be considered public service announcements as they represent the health experts’ advice on how to avoid COVID-19 including the practice of social distancing and self-quarantine.

On April 1, the company’s social media accounts quipped that it would release a new variant of sardines, the Ligo Sardines in Green Tea for a limited time as part of the April Fool’s celebration.

“We’re kidding. Just spreading some love and laughter this #AprilFools. But don’t worry, we’ll continue to serve the tea in the safety of your own home,” the post read.

“Tea” is a slang for gossip and a juicy scoop or other personal information, according to Dictionary.com.

Aside from release of clever remarks, the 60-year-old company also donated its entire 2020 advertisement budget for COVID-19 relief efforts.

Moreover, it partnered with motorcycle taxi firm Angkas to deliver Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)s to help hospitals and other frontliners in the fight against the pandemic.

The men behind the brand

Mikko, Mark and Macky Tung are the brothers behind the recent advertisements of Ligo Sardines.

Mikko Lawrence Tung is the vice president for production, Mark Gregory Tung is the vice president for Sales and Marketing and Michael Kevin “Macky” Tung is the vice president for Advertising and Promotion.

Their father Gregory Tung Jr., who was the patriarch of A. Tung Chingco Manufacturing Corp., strengthened the brand’s marketing and manufacturing processes in the 1980s.

In the 90s, they released several sardine variants, such as Gata, Spanish, and Afritada, and other canned goods variants such as Ligo Mackerel and Ligo Corned Beef.

The three Tung brothers then expanded the Ligo Sardines brand in less than 10 years.

To express gratitude for the support they received, the brand’s social accounts released a link of the brand’s official photos via Google Drive that their customers can use for their own works.

“We want to celebrate the work of these people by posting them here. All credits go to the original creator. We’re merely showcasing their amazing work,” the post read.