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Pinoy Abroad

Sea of tears goes with Coke ad on OFWs

Netizens are gushing over a newly-released tearjerker video of three overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were given the chance to come home to the Philippines courtesy of the beverage company Coca-Cola. Titled “Coca-Cola Where Will Happiness Strike Next: The OFW project”, two versions of the video were uploaded on the company’s official YouTube channel on Thursday and quickly went viral.   The marketing concept, with versions in India and other countries, is yet another instance of a corporate giant reaching audiences through social media and bypassing traditional media. Once posted on YouTube, the ad's distribution was virtually for free, as social media users propelled its dissemination. No longer constrained by television's precious airtime, the YouTube ad format also allows long-form story-telling. The video is four minutes and 27 seconds long. The video with English subtitles has been viewed more than 200,700 times and liked by 5,842 users as of Saturday afternoon, while the one without subtitles got 161,505 views and almost 3,000 likes. Appealing to the 11 million OFWs and the millions more who wait for them to come home, the ad follows the three OFWs from their lonely overseas lives to their surprise homecomings. "The reunions may have been planned, but the reactions are real, inspiring viewers to re-post on their Facebook wall," according to an article about the ad in Adobo Magazine, which covers the Philippine advertising industry. The magazine said the ad was developed by ad agency McCann Worldgroup Philippines. One of the OFWs featured in the video is Joey Doble, a babysitter in Italy. The ad says he is among “more than 11 million Filipinos” who have left the country and their families “to find better opportunities abroad.”   What breaks his heart is the fact that he has been taking care of other foreign children, while his youngest son—who he fondly calls “bunso”—is growing up without him.   “’Di ko nakikita ang bunso ko na iniwan ko [noong] isang taon [pa] lang siya,” the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) said.   His 11 years of solitude and lonely Christmases ended as Coca-Cola selected him as one of the three OFWs who were brought home to the Philippines for free.   Doble was flown back to the Philippines—complete with an arranged itinerary— and welcomed by a red Coca-Cola van at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, and driven to the school in Pampanga of his now 12-year-old “bunso,” who cried in his father’s arms.   His journey and homecoming were presented in parallel with those of caregiver Leonie Villanueva of Quezon City and x-ray technologist Joe Marie Ballon of Iloilo.   ‘Nakakaiyak’   The video did the trick, resonating among the many Filipinos who can relate to the themes of family separation and loneliness. An Internet-exclusive, the ad triggered an outpouring of emotion in social media.   A few samples:  “Grabe, sobrang touched ako. Sana maranasan ko din ang ganito. Hirap po talaga ang buhay naming OFW.” – katcristobal34  “Kung tayo nga nanonood lang, naiiyak na. Paano pa kaya kung nangyari sa’tin ‘yan? 5 years, 9 years, 11 years… nakayanan nilang iwanan ang mga mahal nila sa buhay! They deserve it. Even me, 6 years na ‘di nakakauwi. Hope to see the Philippines soon!” – BorrowingStupidity “Di lahat ng OFWs nangibang-bansa para lang yumaman. ‘yung iba, gaya nila na nais lang mapabuti ang kanilang pamilya. They deserve this treat…” – meltrize1625 “I miss my papa also. Three years ko na siyang ‘di nakikita. And we all don’t know kung makakauwi pa siya from Dubai. How this [video] made me cry. I want to hug him sobra. Hope he’s fine and well.” – pitche2636   Netizens on Facebook and Twitter also reacted to the video. Facebook user Maureen Reyes said: "Nakakaiyak. Sana sinundo n'yo din Mama ko."
Meanwhile, here are some of the reactions from "tweeps":
"Coca-cola The OFW Project just made me cry! Papasok ako ng school na namumula yung mata." - Sean Victorio (@shenyoboi)
"Just saw the Coca Cola OFW Project. Tearing up like crazy. I miss my family so much. Christmas can be everyday. Spread the love." - Orange Jay Panerio (@ForgetAboutJay)
"K, nakakaiyak 'yung Coca-Cola OFW Project [video]. Anak ng seaman since birth, haha." - Chassagne Yaoyao (@ChassagneYaoyao)
"I'm in tears while watching the Coca-Cola OFW Project! I miss my Papa!" - Brenna Mae Amora (@brennaamora)
"Coca-Cola OFW project made me teary eyed! Oh... My mom is an OFW. I feel the sacrifice she's enduring for me and my family. God bless them." - Sam dela Cruz (@SARAHGupdates)
"Pinaiyak naman ako nitong Coca-Cola the OFW project. Sobrang naka-relate, 'di ako lumaki kasama [ang] tatay ko at masuwerte na ngayon kasi may Skype." - Jayne G.T. (@gabzjayne) - VVP/HS, GMA News