With bidets almost everywhere, is the tabo in danger of being pushed out of existence from Filipino homes? Well, not likely. In fact, Muji is promoting its water dipper as a Christmas gift.
But our beloved tabo is as Pinoy as the bahay kubo, a cherished possession like our islands in the West Philippine Sea, a national treasure like the Manila Bay sunset.
Water dippers are used around the world, of course, but our tabo is uniquely Filipino because of one of its many uses (when toilet paper just ain’t enough).
We never really knew how “protective” we were of the cheap, plastic tabo until last year when Muji Philippines brought in the version of the popular Japanese brand. To be honest, Muji’s water dipper is quite the looker with its minimalist lines and ever-so-slightly angled handle.
But still—how dare they!
On June 23, 2019, the brand’s local Facebook and Twitter accounts posted a picture of it with the caption, “This is not your ordinary water dipper. Aside from its clean and simple design, the angle of its handle is designed to make it easier to scoop water with less weight on (the) hand. P365.”
Orocan, the country’s leading household plastics manufacturer, was having none of that.
On the same day it was all over social media, too, extolling the beauty of its own tabo. “This is your extraordinary bath dipper! Aside from its high-end design and divine-white color, its state-of-the-art handle gives you inner peace while scooping water. Only P365. Comes with FREE P330.25 na barya sa loob since P34.75 SRP lang ang price ng extraordinary dipper.”
And the rest is Twitter history.
But here’s a little known fact: Gigil ad agency’s head writer of the recently viral RC Cola ad is the same guy who wrote Orocan’s response to Muji.
Gigil associate creative director Dionie Tañada told PhilSTAR L!fe today that the Orocan response last year achieved 31.9 billion social impressions and a 7,603% increase in social media engagement.
Dionie explained, “Basically, we used Muji post’s tonality, which was very different from Orocan’s usual one. That added to the humor. We also wanted to push the idea that Muji did, rather than simply posting our tabo—that’s why we filled it with sukli (coins) since it was supposed to be easy to hold.”
Orocan’s tabo was sold out after its viral response. In fact, the exposure from it was worth $150,000 or P7.2 million in ad money on TV, social media, print and radio.
Now, Muji’s water dipper is back on social media as part of the brand’s Christmas offerings.
In a Facebook post, Muji Philippines promoted the item as such: “Know anyone who would like to receive a Bath Dipper this Christmas? Our MUJI Essentials Gift Set 3 comes with our best-selling Bath Dipper along with our Foaming Net for Face, Foaming Net Ball, and Pumice Stone. Order this item through our Household Catalog for only P400 or via (website).”
So we asked Orocan’s main man at Gigil why the local tabo would make for a better Christmas gift instead of Muji’s water dipper.
Dionie said, “Matibay at mura ang Orocan tabo. ‘Pag binigyan mo sila ng Orocan tabo ngayong Pasko, aabot hanggang birthday nila, bagong taon, hanggang sa susunod na Pasko. Makakatipid ka pa, 34.75 lang!”
Today, Dec. 10, Orocan just answered Muji’s Christmas offering in a tongue-in-cheek post on Facebook as it launched its own Tabo Max, starting at P69.50. Orocan describes it as having an “adaptive handle, active water retention, and maximum buoyancy factor.” All in a “a high-sheen plastic finish.”
Is there going to be another Twitter war between the two tabos? Get your popcorn ready.