Saturday, August 28, 2010

Jollibee, BPI team up anew for OFW meal delivery service


Jollibee has teamed up with Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) to allow overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to send meals to their families and beneficiaries in the Philippines. Dubbed “BPinoy Jollibee Padala”, the fastfood remittance delivery service allows Filipinos living or working in Spain, the United States, Hong Kong and United Kingdom to send Jollibee package meals to family members back home with the help of BPI’s 24 overseas remittance service centers. The program will run from Sept. 1, 2010 to May 31, 2011.

The move forms part of the two companies’ efforts to reach out to Filipinos living abroad and promote closer family ties. “We want to give our OFWs a more meaningful way to remit their money by giving them a chance to personally choose the meal package they want to send to their loved ones and making available our BPI Express Remittance Centers to receive the payment,” said Teresita B. Tan, BPI executive vice-president and head of the Overseas Banking and Channel Services Group.

There are five set meals to choose from, costing around $20 (roughly 1,000 pesos): Chickenjoy and Yum with Cheese, Chickenjoy with Spaghetti, Spaghetti with Yum, and the Burger Steak.

“Jollibee staunchly believes in uniting the family and strengthening relationships wherever they are in the world. We hope to help bring even more Filipino families together over good food and create memories that will surely remember even years from now,” said Ann Santos, national key accounts head of Jollibee.

I don't know about you, but something about the program, and these statements from the executives of BPI and Jolibee, strikes me as insincere and untrue. I mean, if you're an OFW, is buying your family Chickenjoy and Burger Steak from several hundred miles away really a more "meaningful" way to remit your hard-earned money than sending cash? Is this really the best way to unite your family and strengthen your relationships with your loved ones? The markup for Jollibee and other fast food staples runs north of 100%, which means for every 100 pesos you spend on a value meal, less than 50 pesos goes to the actual product. I'm just thinking, if you're a Hong Kong domestic worker earning around 20,000 pesos, is spending 1,000 pesos (5% of your income) on something that's arguably worth less than 500 pesos the best way to send your love to the Philippines?

I understand where BPI and Jollibee are coming from: maximizing shareholder value is the goal of every for-profit enterprise, and the statements of these company officers are just examples of marketing rhetoric that aims to promote that goal. But when it comes to serving OFWs, where the line between honest and unethical business practices often gets blurred, enterprises have to tread more carefully and be more discerning of their use of words... and marketing propaganda.
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