Pac-May bout is big business for underground merchants

May 1 2015 10:52 AM

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Rep. Manny Pacquiao of Sarangani and Floyd Mayweather Jr. stand to take home mega bucks from their welterweight bout on May 2. And small Filipino businesses are cashing in on the sidelines.

Armed with creative marketing skills, enterprising Filipinos selling a slew of unofficial souvenir items have begun to flood online – and people are buying.

“We advertise our shirts through Facebook. They’re sold at P300-P450 each depending on the design,” said 25-year-old Derrick Manalo a Web designer who moonlights as a shirt retailer.

Manalo who has been selling Pacquiao shirts online since 2010 believe that his items said are better than those which are sold officially in stores because most of their shirts are “personalized and one of a kind”.

Since the day the Pac-May fight was announced, he has already sold 600 shirts.

How do we explain this marketing phenomenon?

“Filipinos are by nature entrepreneurs. It’s natural for them to ride on the coattails of an event to sell their products – whether it’s a wedding, death, sports event, or a visit,” says Sky Go, a marketing executive.

Go lists, among others, popular events like the Pope’s visit last January where street peddlers sold items such as buttons, pins, fans, plastic ponchos, shirts – and even a Pope mineral water, among many.

“You can just imagine how many T-shirts were sold during former President Cory’s wake, or the number of pins and buttons fans bought during the Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera wedding,” Go added.

“People want to be in the moment. It’s like putting their heart out on their sleeves. It’s the culture of fanaticism. Manny is a lot of people’s hero. And he makes them happy. People buy when they are happy,” the marketing executive said.

But are underground businesses good for the economy?

“Why not? Although I don’t think Kim Henares (BIR chief) would approve,” Go said with a nervous laughter.

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