MANILA -- “I’m having my second childhood (now),” enthused Jacque Ruby, head of sales, Philippines for Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), as he described what he calls his “dream job” with the company that owns everybody’s favorite channel, Nickelodeon.
Coming from another cable channel where he had worked for three years, Ruby considers it a career move to join VIMN. “I’m a big fan of Nickelodeon,” admits Ruby, who got on board just last June 3.
“It has been a very busy three months for us,” Ruby said. “When I got on board, we did a ‘Pet’s Day Out,’ an event dedicated to kids and their pets; held our ‘Nick Takes Over Your School’ school tour which promotes sportsmanship; and welcomed international and local stars for the first-ever ‘SlimeFest’ in Asia. This year, ‘SlimeFests’ were also held in the US, Germany, UAE and will next go to the UK.”
Ruby was really excited about Nickelodeon’s recent “SlimeFest” in Manila, which turned out to be a huge success with local fans and sponsors alike, reflecting the popularity and strength of the brand.
YouTube star Jannine Weigel headlined the music performances, joined by Nickelodeon’s “The Thundermans” actress Kira Kosarin, rising pop star Carlie Hanson, 11-year-old rapper Alex Bruce, hip-hop dance troupe Philippine All-Stars and popular local band IV of Spades.
“In the Philippines, Nickelodeon was the number one kids’ channel in June and July 2019,” Ruby reported. “SlimeFest’ is our way of saying ‘Thank you’ to our fans by giving them the opportunity to experience the fun and energy of the Nickelodeon brand, extending it beyond what they see on screens.”
A day before the event, Ruby guested on ABS-CBN’s morning show, “Umagang Kay Ganda,” with Nickelodeon’s popular “Paw Patrol” mascot, Chase. “The reception to Chase was overwhelming,” Ruby said proudly.
Fans who attended the “SlimeFest” also had the chance to meet Chase, along with characters from Nickelodeon’s hit shows “SpongeBob,” “Dora the Explorer” and “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (TNMT).
“Coming up next, we have our Halloween-themed Takotown event that will take place on October 31 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City,” Ruby said.
Takotown is a continuation of Nickelodeon’s year-long SpongeBob 20th anniversary celebrations. Themed around three SpongeBob Halloween episodes, Takotown is a day when fans can look forward to a fun-filled day with character appearances, fringe activities, activity booths and games onstage.
The activities that Nickelodeon has in store for its followers excite Ruby endlessly. "SpongeBob marks its 20th anniversary this year and it’s a year-long celebration,” he announced. “Next year, Dora will turn 20, while TNMT is now on its 35th year.”
Ruby is actually a collector of Nickelodeon’s popular “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” long before he was offered to work for VIMN. To date, he has more than 300 figures in his collection.
These TNMT characters include Triceton Warrior, Arnold Bernid “Casey” Jones 1997, Leonardo in his pipe, the soccer kicking Raphael 1993, Mutating Armadon, Mikey Turtflightal, Mondo Gecko, Napoleon Bonafrog and Karai Serpent.
“Now, I’m beyond the turtles, but even the rare characters,” Ruby granted. “I’m an adult collector of 1980 and 1990 figures. Their value increases. I am a toy picker who looks for the rare ones, those hard-to-find figures. The minute I see one, I immediately order it. I know their value increases. Recently, I received my shipment of five figures of TMNT from Davao.”
At home, Ruby has a “man-cave” with a huge collection of TMNT figures. Growing up, Ruby was a fan of He-Man, Voltes V, Mazinger Z and Daimos.
He also started collecting vintage toys from He-Man.
“I have an altar of toys in the house,” Ruby offered. “I see them not as toys or figures, but assets. They appreciate. Their value increases. My kids are so embarrassed. They ask me, ‘Daddy, why do you have to collect all those (figures)?’ They cannot understand.”
Ruby’s two daughters – Claire, 16 and Chloe, 10 – are proud fans of Nickelodeon characters. “I read Dora books to my eldest, Claire, when she was younger. Chloe adores ‘Spongebob’ and ‘The Thundermans.’”