Spreading Financial Awareness by Tugging the Heart of the Emo Pinoy

Spreading Financial Awareness by Tugging the Heart of the Emo Pinoy

Jun 10, 2017

Money is an emotional issue. And Sun Life knows it. This week it launched part 2 of its Sun Shorts, a series of short films inspired by clients’ stories showing the importance of having a financial plan.

You have to give it to the top insurance company when it comes to effectively communicating their not-so-easy-to-understand products. I had the privilege of talking to the Chief Marketing Officer, Mylene Daez Lopa and understood how this “Corporate Amazons” team climbed to the top over the last few years. (The group CEO is marathon runner Riza Gervasio Mantaring, the Asset Management president is Riena Novenario Pama and the CMO is Mylene).

Here are excerpts of my conversation with Mylene a couple of years ago when I tried to understand the genius behind the successful campaigns of their company.

Let’s hear it from the CMO:

“It was 2008 the financial crisis and the market was spooked and very distrusting of the industry in general. You had Lehman, AIG, and other giants closing shop. Most companies were cutting down on marketing costs but we did the opposite. At this time, we were still number two to Philam. But what we wanted to do was not to sell but to reassure the market that there are still good guys left in the finance industry. We were celebrating our 113th year in the Philippines and we realized that we had nothing to be ashamed with our record. We were proud of our record and we wanted to tell a story. So that’s when we embarked on our “It’s time!” campaign” in 2009 with Pia Magalona (who just lost her husband) and Bam Aquino (to target the young adults and also his Hapinoy Nanays).”

She went on to explain that instead of clearly attaching products to sell, they focused on educating the market and brand awareness. From tri-media, they went on to include malls and schools, and eventually digital.

Then they got Papa Piolo who helped solidify brand awareness and then the Brighter Life campaign.

And today, they even added three more to their roster of brand ambassadors – Mateo Guidicelli (to target millennials), Judy Ann Santos (to target the moms) and Charo Santos-Concio (to target the older adults).

When Mylene narrates all their successful campaigns under her tutelage, she speaks softly and very humbly, very much the opposite of what you expect from a marketing expert who gives you the tone of “I know the market so well!” She said, “We do surveys but we also know that sometimes people don’t do what they say. Our style is more intuitive than scientific.”

When I discussed with her that the late Steve Jobs didn’t believe in FGD (Focused Group Discussion), she agreed to a certain extent saying, “Come to think of it, how do you discuss with consumers products with low awareness?”

She and her group also enjoy a good working relationship with the Sales Group, “Marketing and Sales are intertwined. We don’t have friction but we’re super partners. We know our place in Marketing, and we’re not under the delusion that when we launch our campaign, people will line up to buy our products. Insurance is a product that we need to sell. Our place is to warm and soften the ground, so when our sales people go to their clients, it would be easier for them. We acknowledge that sales people still know the market more because they’re the ones out in the field. We’re a supporting role especially for insurance, maybe for mutual fund, there will come a time when it won’t be too dependent on sales people’s distribution anymore. Like now, they can just go online.”

When I asked her if all their employees were investing, she said, “Sadly, no, but I took your suggestion to use Behavioral Economics principles to our HR. Hopefully, they will do something about it.” (Positive update after two years: More than 70% now investing in mutual funds.)


Mylene tries to make the most of the time she spends with her three children in the morning and at night. She also calls them during the day while still in the office. Children’s birthdays are vacation leave from work and she tries to attend all the important school activities together with her husband who has a more flexible time with his own business. She said, “I have my share of mommy guilt, especially with one of my sons who’s a bit clingy and would sometimes act up in the morning when I leave. But it’s a choice I made and I know that working makes me a better person and a better mom to them. I also want to be a role model to my daughter that mothers can have a career. Siempre, pampatanggal ng guilt, hahaha!”

I assured her not to worry because as what Dr. Honey Carandang said, “All moms (both working and stay-at-home) always find ways to be guilty because they always want to make sure that they’re giving their all to their kids.” emotcon1

Mylene ends with smile of content, “I’m just so lucky that I have a job that I love. Can you imagine if I have to leave my loved ones everyday just to be with people I don’t like?”

The Female Touch

Maybe that’s why Sun Life is now number one. It is run by leaders in touch with their female/emotional side. The “Corporate Amazons” need not be the female bossy bitches but the guilty moms who try to make the most of their precious time working away from their loved ones in order to make a difference in other people’s lives.wallet-icon



  1. To watch the Sun Shorts, click the link: http://brighterlife.com.ph/sunshorts/
  1. Join us today on FQ-wentuhan at noon as Mylene Lopa shares her FQ-ripot Tips.


  1. Watch out for the other installments to the series of FQ-wentuhans with Piolo Pascual, Judy Ann Santos and Mateo Guidicelli.


  1. I will speak at the PDIC (Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation) on how to teach financial responsibility to children. This will be on June 22, 2017.


  1. My son Martin and I will speak at the Investors Forum of SLAMCI (Sun Life Asset Management Company, Inc.) on July 18, 2017.
  1. Want to know your FQ Score. Take it today. Click link to take the test. http://tinyurl.com/FQTest


Rose Fres Fausto is a speaker and author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is a Behavioral Economist, Certified Gallup Strengths Coach and the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook and You Tube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom.

 ATTRIBUTIONS: Images from AdvisoryHQ, Choose Philippines, Kicker Daily News, LanLinGLaurel, Wikipedia, Sun Life, www.rochellerivera.com and Yash Capital put together to help deliver the message.