"Hello, Billy" (found Filipino TV commercial series, 2000-2001)
A screenshot of Joey talking to the main character, Billy, by using a telephone.
Date found: 19 Nov 2022
Found by: @chairmommerlee
In 2000, the telecommunications company PLDT collaborated with Ace Saatchi & Saatchi, a marketing firm to help create "Hello, Billy". The advertising campaign was conceived to increase the number of international direct dial (IDD) calls in the Phillippines. The series is about a mother who is concerned about her son, Billy, who lives somewhere far away and is lonely. However, Billy has a girlfriend. The name of Billy's girlfriend is Gracia.
The advertising campaign was a success, prompting PLDT to produce more commercials. The commercials doubled how many times subscribers called overseas and increased the number of minutes by 50%.
Plot[edit | edit source]
This interconnected commercial series involves Billy and his concerned mom, with whom they communicate each other on landlines about Billy's life and his relationship, especially now that he has a girlfriend named Gracia. The commercials then showed us how news of Billy having a girlfriend spread quick reaching to Billy's old friend, Joey, to whom he has an attraction to Billy. The commercials followed up leading to the events of Billy and Gracia's wedding.
Controversies[edit | edit source]
During the campaign, Filipinos were speculating over what Gracia looks like and if Billy is gay. Multiple different discussions were archived during the advertising campaign and are still available today.   However, it sparked controversy over its portrayal of gay people. In one commercial, "Rumors", Billy calls his gay friend Joey about the rumors surrounding his marriage to Gracia. The commercial then cuts to Joey acting clueless and it's implied that Joey was the one spreading the rumors.  In protest of this commercial, the Lesbian and Gay Legislative Advocacy Network (Lagablab), boycotted PLDT.
Commercials[edit | edit source]
Due to the ad campaign being released before the Internet was mainstream, most commercials of "Hello, Billy" have not been archived and only two commercials from the series had been available to the public, the "Rumors" and "Best Man" commercials uploaded by YouTuber StrawberryOwl 96 on their channel in 2020. There had been no certain amount and is unknown how many commercials of the ""Hello, Billy" campaign was commissioned by PLDT.
Disgraciada[edit | edit source]
There are a few commercials that had been recalled by users in early internet forums, one of which is the "Disgraciada" ad that follows Billy and his mom talking about Gracia, Billy's girlfriend. A rough translation of the commercial taken from an archived PinoyExchange discussion  can be found here :
Billy's Mom: Hello, Billy! Is Gracia's cooking good? Billy: Yes mom, she cooks like you! Billy's Mom: Hello, Billy! Does Gracia know how to take care of children? Billy: Yes Ma! Because she has a child now! Billy's Mom: Huh... yikes, "Disgraciada".
Availability[edit | edit source]
On December 9th, 2020, two commercials from the "Hello, Billy" campaign was uploaded by StrawberryOwl 96 on their channel in 2020.
A couple of years later, on November 6th, 2022, TikTok user @chairmommerlee uploaded the first commercial on her TikTok page and uploaded more commercials in the following days. On November 19th, 2022, the full series was uploaded by them on their TikTok. They later revealed that their daughter had played a role in one of the commercials as the flower girl, meaning that they are involved in the makings of the commercials. A month later, the commercials were then uploaded and are now available on YouTube.
Videos[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- An archived edition of the Inquirer, a Filipino newspaper.Retrieved 22 February '22.
- A article on the Phillippine Star news website, dated June 4, 2001. Retrieved 22 February '22.
- A old discussion about the ad campaign on the Pinoy Exchange forums.Retrieved 22 February '22
- A second discussion over if Hello, Billy should be cancelled.Retrieved 22 February '22
- Another edition of the Inquirer, dated at October 23, 2001.Retrieved 22 February '22.
- The official website of Lagablab.Retrieved 22 February '22.