Third World Snack
Oishi Philippines came out recently with a new variant of Pillows. The original heftier Pillows had very working-class Pinoy flavors: choco, cheese and ube. Alam na ang market. Parang dirty ice cream lang na de-kariton.
Pero iba ang branding nitong Thin Pillows. Choco-hazelnut–taray, parang Nutella lang. Thin wafers with oats–wow, healthy lifestyle. Kulang na lang yoga instructor. At sun-filled studio with hardwood floors and bay windows. Sosyal. Ang yaman. At in fairness, masarap naman.
Of course, the ka-sosyalan ends there. In fact, this affect of “class” is precisely what makes this poor man’s Loacker so third world. It attempts to channel upscale with flavors like hazelnut and a healthy-vegan crunchy lifestyle. But its material conditions say otherwise.
In the first place, it’s super cheap and available only in tiny 34g or 15g packages. Just like the uniquely third world phenomenon of sachets, where everything from shampoo to cellphone load is available in the tiniest increments. Sachets are concrete manifestations of the miniscule purchasing power of the common Filipino, rooted in the not-so-delicious labor situation where workers can only earn the tiniest of wages. Nonetheless, even if you’re on minimum wage, you can perhaps treat yourself to the occasional pack of Thin Pillows paminsan-minsan, at kahit papaano’y makatikim naman ng life under the Tuscan sun. Charot.
The most revealing aspect of this snack, however, is its name. Let’s face it. Where else would the term “thin pillow” make sense? Not in the global north, where pillows are generally visualized to be soft, chubby and fluffy. Only in the third world. Hello, Philippines, mabuhay!
Mga kababayan, kilala natin ‘tong thin pillow na ‘to. It’s a nondescript shade of gray. Lumpy. An unmistakeable crease in the middle where the batting has thinned due to constant use. This crease is so annoying to the head that one usually folds this thin pillow in half to get a semblance of support–which, in turn, deepens the crease. The thin pilllow is covered in a faded, threadbare cotton cover with some gaudy printed design, most probably some distorted/discolored cartoon character. Sakit sa ulo, diba? Literally.
So the next time you eat Thin Pillows, savor it. Imagine Nutella. Imagine your workout gear care of Tita Stella. Imagine the oats you’re grinding between your teeth, nakaka-granola, may Vitamin A pa. Kahit ilang sandali lang, arrive na arrive. Parang mayaman ka na.
An old Pillows TVC advertising their ube variant.
Entry filed under: Advertising, Edgar Allan Paule, Graphic design. Tags: filipino snacks, food, hazenut, loacker, middle class affect, nutella, oats, oishi, oishi philippines, pillows, snack, snacks, stella mccartney, thin pillows, third world, vitamin a, wafer snack.