REVIEW: ABS-CBN and GMA-7 2015 Christmas station IDs

PEPsters, what can you say about the 2015 Christmas station IDs of ABS-CBN and GMA-7?

The much-anticipated Christmas station IDs slash music videos (2015 edition) have finally been aired.

The annual video is a big deal for the TV giants that they put all the stops to make the production grander, more spectacular and more memorable than the previous years’–or than the rival network’s, for that matter.

This week, ABS-CBN and GMA-7 went head to head by simultaneously launching their respective Christmas station IDs on the same night (November 12).

The Kapamilya Network officially welcomed Christmas with Thank You For The Love–a variation of its recurring Kapamilya, Thank You campaign.

The Kapuso camp was also ready to celebrate with MaGMAhalan tayo ngayong Pasko, cleverly pointing out that GMA is intrinsically all about love that its letters are in the word itself.

ABS-CBN XMAS STATION ID. In its previous Christmas videos, ABS-CBN tried to show the themes of love (or heart/puso) without actually using the word since it’s more associated with GMA’s Kapuso brand. This time, it is unapologetically owning the “taboo” word and the result is, pun intended, may kurot sa puso.

ABS-CBN’s #ThankYouForTheLove video is a complete mix of excellent music, great storytelling and star power–a recipe that the network has mastered from creating Christmas videos through the years.

The foundation of any good music video, of course, is the song. ABS-CBN tapped today’s rising Pinoy pop creators Thyro Alfaro and Yumi Lacsamana ("Kilometro," "Dati," and those catchy JaDine songs) collaborate with its long-time lyricist Robert Labayen ("Star ng Pasko").

Meeting expectations, the song gives Christmas a current sound and uses a theme and language that is contemporary and relatable–giving the song major LSS points.

Interpreted by Kapamilya’s top-tier love pairs Kathryn Bernardo & Daniel Padilla, Liza Soberano & Enrique Gil, Nadine Lustre & James Reid and boosted by the vocals of Bamboo and The Voice Kids 2 champion Elha Nympha, the song is poised to become another of ABS-CBN’s modern Pinoy Christmas songs.

But the soul of Thank you for the Love, and what makes it a joy to watch are the real-life stories of real people featured in the video.

Come to think of it, ABS-CBN didn’t have to think of a new theme this year–last year’s theme was Thank You, ang Babait Ninyo. It just uses again the universal theme of gratitude and love, but the 2015 video does not come off as tired and repetitive as this country never runs out of good, heartwarming stories of people and ABS-CBN is commendable for being so good at mining such stories.

The visual storytelling, thanks to directors Paolo Ramos and Peewee Gonzales, gives these stories the heartmelting and goosebumps-inducing effects–effectively conveying feelings and emotions that we have come to know about the holiday season.

There is no need to resort to overusing Christmas symbolisms such as trees and lanterns to show what Christmas is about– genuine human emotions are enough.

In this age of online sharing and viral videos, brilliant storytelling that touches people’s emotions is key.

GMA-7 XMAS STATION ID. This brings us to GMA-7’s MaGMAhalan tayo ngayong Pasko Christmas station ID.

Production-wise, MaGMAhalan tayo ngayong Pasko is much better that the Kapuso Network’s Christmas videos in recent years.

This year’s torch-bearer is Alden Richards who, together with 2015’s best discovery Maine Mendoza (aka Yaya Dub), catapulted GMA Network into the ratings-leader status it is enjoying these days.

The song "MaGMAhalan Tayo Ngayong Pasko," written by BJ Camaya and Clare Yee with the music of Simon Tan, gives a more upbeat and casual take on Christmas and Alden Richard’s vocals go front and center with him being the lone singer vs. ABS-CBN’s eight.

There is a huge opportunity for GMA to present an excellent narrative simply because they own 2015’s biggest breakout story–the explosion of the AlDub phenomenon.

AlDub is more than just a TV ratings magnet–it has become a cultural revolution.

The breadth of the influence of AlDub has brought together the rich and the poor, young and old, traditional and new media, sosyal and baduy and more spectrum extremes--and GMA is instrumental in this record-breaking albeit mind boggling unity and show of power spurred by the Kalyeserye of a noontime show.

In a world where “world-class” has become a favorite buzzword, AlDub has bannered Filipino sensibilities and unique human spirit–so much that the world took notice.

MaGMAhalan tayo ngayong Pasko video seems to have chosen the route of highlighting the network’s stars–which is not wrong, this is a station ID after all.

But if you’re going to compare one-second exposures of actors and personalities’ smiling close-ups over Christmas tree backdrop against a lola tearfully hugging ABS-CBN actress Julia Montes, a cab driver overjoyed with a roundtrip ticket he can use to see his family or lights lighting up fishermen’s boats like fireflies in the night, artistas--no matter how popular--are going to pale in comparison.

This is not saying that the GMA Christmas Station ID is bereft of emotions or any story that’s worthy of a Christmas ID treatment.

It actually shows a little girl, wishing for a Christmas present, which all the Kapuso stars worked for to make that wish come true.

Plot twist: the girl gives the present to someone less fortunate than her. It gives a great message and it is a good story–but again, with everything being staged, things tend to look artificial, and simply made for the studio.

The tactic of bringing all the stars in Christmas inspired garbs together under one roof to sing Christmas songs and do Christmassy stuff together may have worked in the past years (both networks have done this over and over) so maybe it’s time we find new ways of doing things.

VERDICT. Overall, ABS-CBN’s video has the edge over GMA-7’s in terms of storytelling, production value, and technique.

But of course, we acknowledge that each network makes its videos for their respective followers who are sure to appreciate these efforts–no winners or losers, just loyal network fans who get their annual Christmas presents in the form of these videos.

It’s great that creating Christmas IDs has become an annual commitment for the networks and eagerly awaiting them has been a tradition for the fans.

More than just being station IDs, these videos remind us that no matter how hard or challenging the year has been, on the month of December, we always come home to that great warm feeling only our Kapamilya and Kapuso (and Kapatid, too) can give.

PEPsters, what can you say about the 2015 Christmas station IDs of ASB-CBN and GMA-7?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Ed's Note: The "PEP Review" section carries the views of individual reviewers and does not necessarily reflect the views of the PEP editorial staff.

(To view photos of ABS-CBN's Christmas station ID, CLICK HERE)

(To view photos of GMA-7's Christmas station ID, CLICK HERE)






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