"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 Philippines. 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%.
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.
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.
Due to the ad campaign being released before the Internet was mainstream, most commercials of "Hello, Billy" have not been archived. Before 2022, only two commercials from the series had been available to the public, the "Best Man" and "Rumors" commercials uploaded by YouTubers findnemo21 in 2010 & StrawberryOwl 96 in 2020 on their respective channels. There are 13 known commercials made for this series, with its main story being considered complete. However, it is unknown how many commercials of the "Hello, Billy" campaign was commissioned by PLDT overall.
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".
On July 11, 2010, one of the episodes ("Best Man") was uploaded by findnemo21 on their channel, under the title "PLDT gay commercial". This is one of the oldest known uploads from this series on YouTube.
Sometime later, three episodes from the ad series was submitted to AdRespect, a website that archives and reviews LGBT-themed advertisements. While one video of the episode, "Best Man" , was already available online, the videos for the two other episodes of the series, namely "Mom"  and "Rumors"  were still considered lost media at the time, with the commercial's descriptions as well as small screenshots of the two lost episodes being the only proof of its existence. It's unknown when these ads were submitted or when these articles are created. It's also unknown who submitted the ads for the website. Online archives of the webpages dated these articles to be added sometime before February 11, 2016  .
On December 9th, 2020, the second video from the "Hello, Billy" campaign, named "Rumors", was uploaded by StrawberryOwl 96 on their channel. The second video was found by extracting the video from the page source of the previously mentioned AdRespect articles. In an older page version of the "Rumors" entry , the video for said ad doesn't seem to appear due to a code error when the video was being embed on the page.
Almost two years later, on November 6th, 2022, TikTok user @chairmommerlee uploaded the first commercial on their TikTok page and uploaded more commercials in the following days. On November 19th, 2022, the last episode from the commercial series was uploaded on their TikTok page, marking the full series as found media. 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 making of these ads. A month later, the commercials were then uploaded and are now available on YouTube.
- An archived edition of the Inquirer, a Filipino newspaper.Retrieved 22 February '22.
- An article on the Philippine Star news website, dated at June 4, 2001. Retrieved 22 February '22.
- An 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.
- An article for the "Best Man" commercial from the AdRespect website.Retrieved 29 June '23.
- An article for the "Mom" commercial from the AdRespect website.Retrieved 29 June '23.
- An article for the "Rumors" commercial from the AdRespect website.Retrieved 29 June '23.
- An archive of the "Rumors" AdRespect article from Internet Archive, dated at February 11, 2016.Retrieved 29 June '23.2