Belo, Hayden reluctant prior to release of #PandemicEffect ad, says Quark Henares

September 1, 2021 - 1:45 PM
Hayden Kho and Vicki Belo
Husband and wife Hayden Kho and Vicki Belo of the Belo Medical Group at the Cannes Film Festival in Paris in July 2021. (@dochayden via Instagram)

Filmmaker Quark Henares, son of Vicki Belo, disclosed that his mom and Hayde Kho were unsure of the #PandemicEffect advertisement before it came out, after which it drew controversy for its perceived body-shaming content.

Henares bared this in a comment earlier this month on Facebook after people tagged him about the incident.

The Belo Medical Group had released a video advertisement that featured a woman who appeared to have neglected her looks while watching a series of bad news about the pandemic.

It was titled “#PandemicEffect.”

The short video received widespread criticisms on social media, arguing that the timing and content were insensitive to the experiences of people in a health crisis.

The Belo group immediately took down the advertisement following the backlash. The company also issued an apology to the public afterward.

READ: Saab Magalona says ‘#PandemicEffect’ ad creators shouldn’t apologize to her

GIGIL, the advertisement agency behind the material, also issued an apology to the public.

Thoughts of Belo and Kho

Henares on August 13 said that Belo and Kho were themselves hesitating to approve the material.

He placed this in the comments section of another Facebook post not related to the Belo video clip itself.

The director was supporting an advertising executive who spoke up about an alleged sexual harassment case involving GIGIL agency co-founder Herbert Hernandez.

“Remember when I told you last month that if you spoke up, you’d be surprised at the amount of support you’d get? Count me in,” Henares said.

Another Facebook user commented and referenced the director’s relations with the owner of the luxury aesthetic clinic. She wrote: “Perhaps if ‘certain brands’ made strong statements that they don’t want to associate with agencies run by people like this.”

Screenshot of Quark Henares’ comment on August 12 on Facebook made on August 31, 2021

It was here that the Henares admitted he was busy with his involvement in the 74th Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland when the controversy about his family’s company broke out.

“Wahahaha I’d been avoiding all the news about the Belo ad — haven’t even seen it actually— because I didn’t want to get stressed out while at the film festival (and you know I hardly involve myself in the family business),” he said.

Henares, however, did check in with his mother about it following heavy backlash the advertisement received.

“I called my mom yesterday and she’s so stressed because they’ve [Gigil] been acting pretty shi**ty. They wanted to keep the ad up and were trying to convince marketing to do so because of awards,” he said.

Quark Henares’ comment on Facebook on Aug. 13, 2021. Screenshot on Aug. 31, 2021

“My mom said they should apologize too because up ‘til the last minute Hayden was asking them ‘are you sure this isn’t body shaming?’ and they dismissed it,” Henares added.

“Goes without saying Belo will definitely no longer associate with agencies run by people like this. Because a similar incident happened to Globe Studios last June,” he said.

Who was Henares supporting?

The post was from Denise “Deng” Tee, creative director at Wunderman Thompson Manila, another advertising agency. She had alleged that in 2015 Hernandez sent her lewd messages and invited her to stay in his hotel room during a work event.

Tee posted this testimony on August 12. Weeks later, on August 26, she received a cyber libel complaint from Hernandez because of it.

In a report by trade publication Campaign Asia, the complaint stated that Tee committed cyber libel because her post made “defamatory statements or imputations” that “became the talk of the town in the advertising industry.”

It also claimed Tee’s accusations were “all malicious and false.”