Glimpses of Light: A Quick Review of the Brand Republic x MUPhQC Story

by | Feb 10, 2024 | BR Insider | 0 comments

The Stars Aligned

The stars have aligned for Brand Republic and Miss Universe Philippines. From the humble beginnings of the agency up to partnering with one of the most prestigious pageant organizations in the country, Brand Republic made an exceptional mark in the industry by handling Miss Universe Philippines – Quezon City with not just grace and sophistication, but with marketing excellence and expertise. And it all started with the vision of bringing out extraordinary possibilities from small beginnings.

A Trip Back Memory Lane

The first time to announce Jonas Gaffud (LEFT) and Mario Garcia (RIGHT) as the Miss Universe Philippines Team.
The first time to announce Jonas Gaffud (LEFT) and Mario Garcia (RIGHT) as the Miss Universe Philippines Team.

Mario Garcia, the Regional Marketing Director for Miss Universe Organization (MUO) talked about his journey in Miss Universe Philippines (MUPh). It started in 2019 when he was working with Philippine Airlines. There he met key people from the pageant world who saw his potential to help the organization start in the country. But even if Mario had the marketing skills to back it up, he initially had doubts about taking on the role because, first of all, he was not a pageant fan. Yet, surprisingly, that was exactly what MUPh was looking for – a person with an unbiased opinion towards pageantry. And so, after a few back and forth discussions, Mario eventually accepted the position and became the MUPh Head of Business Development and Marketing.

“I stayed in the hotel, slept, and then only woke up when it was over. So ganun ako, wala akong pakialam sa Miss Universe at that time,” said Mario Garcia. 

Miss Universe Philippines held its first official press conference. Photo Credits: Miss Universe Philippines – Quezon City Facebook Page.

And yet, the stars aligned for him because he had a clear focus on what needed to be done for MUPh. He was not gonna be swayed by the showbiz way of how pageants were done because he knew how to stand his ground. They wanted someone who had the discipline to manage projects and brands professionally, which fit Mario’s description. And so, after a few months of hard work, Miss Universe Philippines, with the help of Brand Republic, had a very successful 2019 digital launch. 

The City of Stars

2024 is the first time in Philippine history that cities around the country will choose their official representatives for Miss Universe Philippines. This decision brought out a different kind of pride from cities as they could finally choose the right woman to represent them. And so springs the idea of Brand Republic (BR) being the official Accredited Partner of Miss Universe Philippines – Quezon City (MUPhQC). 

Truthfully, it makes sense that Brand Republic would launch MUPhQC because of the success from the previous partnership with MUPh. Everyone felt this collaboration was the logical choice as both organizations wanted to showcase the true essence of Filipina beauty and show the world how Filipinas shine. 

So from this grows a million possibilities of how BR can make not only a spectacular pageant, but also one that will leave a legacy for the agency. There is an opportunity to not just grow the business, but also plant something in the city and be there when it starts. And so it was decided that the MUPhQC pageant, under Brand Republic’s direction, was going to be a showcase of inclusivity (something that Quezon City prides itself with) as this was also the year that MUPh removed the restriction for age, height, and marital status. 

The Darkness with the Light

It began with creative minds coming together to find the exact messaging that would define a pageant that not only celebrates beauty, but also shines a light on women empowerment. Ideas were given and ideas were thrown during the brainstorming, but eventually, everyone agreed on “Where the Stars Align.” And it was nearly the perfect fit. It supports the idea of Quezon City being the City of Stars and the pageant as the moment when things fall perfectly into place.

However, something was missing. 

Everyone felt it needed a bit more push, a bit more light that could connect it to both MUPh and MUO; a subtle touch that, at that time, we had yet to find. 

Shining Together

Mario Garcia doesn’t usually involve himself with Brand Republic’s initiatives anymore. He has trained people to make the right decisions when it comes to the company. But this is the first Miss Universe Philippines – Quezon City and he wanted to add his personal touch to this. After all, it’s something close to his heart. 

So he checked on the progress of the team to make sure that the tagline encapsulates the essence of a true MUPhQC queen. And in doing so, in a matter of minutes, he revamped the tagline and created the campaign “Stars Light the Universe.” And this one finally ticked all the boxes for everyone. Stars Light the Universe talks about bringing forth Quezon City stars that have the characteristics to light the world and the Miss Universe stage. It is a battle cry for stars to shine their light to those who need it and also a declaration that stars, as a matter of fact, are the ones who really do light up our lives.

Following the Light

This project wasn’t just a way to boost business and bring out a star to represent Quezon City; it was also a way to connect people inside Brand Republic. It’s an alignment of stars where everyone – from the creatives to the account leads and from copywriters to project managers – worked together and gave everything they could to achieve success.

In hindsight, everything happened so fast.

Around mid-October, everyone had to move quickly because it was already nearing the holidays. The team felt the pressure to secure sponsors and suppliers before everyone took their breaks. However, by December, the final list of candidates was still incomplete, there were sponsors who had yet to be locked in, and suppliers were getting harder & harder to contact – it felt like light was slipping out of our hands. Still, everyone knew we had to push through; we started this and nothing was going to stop us from crowning a woman who was ready to be a queen. 

Eventually, by the first week of January 2024, the organization was able to finally narrow down 15 candidates that showcased diversity in beauty and in background. But, of course, that was just the beginning. With all the planned events’ requirements piling up, we had to compose ourselves, steel our resolve, and calmly do our very best to make the whole process as smooth as possible.

Truthfully, from the day the project started, it was rough and shaky. We didn’t have the luxury of time and didn’t know anything about mounting a pageant. But with the guidance of Mario and Brand Republic’s Chief Creatives Officer Markus Dayot, we were able to navigate our way and make things happen.

Stars Light the Universe

The winning moment was fast approaching and the team was high on emotions to make this the best local Miss Universe Philippines pageant in the country. The moment the candidates were officially presented on social media, the buzz and issues began. MUPhQC was lauded for inclusivity by the press, but the move still sparked various reactions from netizens. And so, different media outlets and pageant vloggers started to reach out to us to know more about the organization and the candidates. But good publicity also comes with the negative, with several issues regarding the candidates arising. Still, the team managed to push through. 

In a span of a few weeks, MUPhQC had an official press conference at Storya Kitchen+Bar, visited It’s Showtime with the candidates, held council talks for the beauty queens to learn from top executives, organized pasarela trainings with International Coach Jan Quijano, had a successful preliminary competition at TriNoma Activity Center, and organized one of the best local MUPh finals at Seda Vertis North.

It might have started difficult, but the road to success usually is. The people in Brand Republic definitely experienced the dark before the light. But it was all worth it. 

What’s Next?

The winner has been crowned, the flowers have already wilted, but the light still shines bright. Brand Republic takes pride in knowing that the one who wears the crown embodies the qualities of a true MUPh queen. Lorraine Ojimba will be the one to represent and set the standard for Miss Universe Philippines – Quezon City.

Lorraine Ojimba, the first-ever Miss Universe Philippines – Quezon City 2024.

Now, she is ready to walk on a different stage and face a new set of challenges. From the humble beginnings of Quezon City, Lorraine is here to show what the City of Stars has to offer to a bigger audience. She’s more than just beauty, she’s intelligence and heart wrapped in one fine lady. And as she sets her eyes on a bright future on the national stage, the question now is: Coming from the success of the MUPhQC pageant, how will Brand Republic help Lorraine win the MUPh crown?


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