Monday, March 9, 2015

ART LOTTERY: Art as Ticket to $10,000

Grand E.Zobel Diwa Award, 2015 KIDLAT AWARDS

I have reason to believe the workload at Publicis JimenezBasic, my new agency in which I am blessed to have been given the title of Executive Creative Director, is heavier than most Philippine Agencies'. Five creatives per team, delivering work for at least 12 accounts. Twelve accounts divided amongst five creatives. Basically par for the course here. And yet, each team delivers so much in so little time. To witness this every single day is amazing.

Twelve accounts divided amongst five creatives also means hardly any time to work on competition briefs. Like this one given by the local creative Kidlat (Lightning) awards show, challenging us to come up with an idea on how to promote Filipino Fine Art in a land where Boom Panes rules music and Praybeyt Benjamin is the standard for film.

And yet, one Friday night, a handful of creatives decided to hunker down and give this one a go.

Off we went to this tiny restaurant downstairs called Chubby's. Over bottles of beer and plates of ribs, all sorts of ideas found themselves on the menu. Turning cabbies into art evangelists, in an idea we amusedly called 'Art Evangelista'. A beauty contest of 'Miss Earth' caliber, called 'Miss Art'. Mini Art Museums made from container vans. It was how brainstorming sessions should always be - fruitful and incredibly fun.

By the end of the session, we had narrowed the ideas down to our top four picks. And by Sunday night, we had narrowed it down some more to our top three. And am proud to say this was my best bet, so it came as no surprise when the Creative Guild announced that it had made it to the shortlist.

The team was flown to Boracay to present the idea in person, to a panel of judges. The eve of the presentation, we spent the entire night holed up in my hotel room, revising and re-revising, tweaking and re-tweaking the idea, making sure all holes were covered and all possible questions could be answered. And the final, most important tweak we made at 4AM came from a suggestion given by a good friend who also came to the hotel on an invitation to try Discovery Shores' amazing Bon Ton Fried Chicken - make the prize money of $10,000, THE lottery prize. I was to be told later on, that even as the idea itself was a hands-down winner even at first screening, it was that part of the presentation, that clinched the deal.

When it was announced that we had won the grand prize, the team was not around to go up onstage to receive it. In their exhaustion, they had fallen asleep. 

The job isn't easy, but I continue to be blessed with stories such as this, that remind me of why I love doing what I do.

Fried Chicken at 4AM

Slept through the awarding, but made it to the photo op

Trike riding after victory dining

Boat ride to the airport after a mission well accomplished

Friday, April 11, 2014


'This is good and by all means, well-written,' I told my then-junior copywriter when he sent me his traditional radio scripts one day, 'But what I need more, is any of the following: A breakthrough idea for radio that will redefine the medium, or an idea for an integrated campaign using radio as the centerpiece medium; or an idea that uses radio to create change.'

Five days later, he came back to me with this. I knew the moment I saw it, that it was a winner. And in the most recent Asian Adfest where this idea made its debut, the judges apparently thought so too, and gave it two Silver and two Gold Lotuses.

2 Golds, 2 Silvers, 1 Shortlist - 2014 ASIAN ADFEST
1 Silver Pencil, 1 Shortlist - 2014 ONE SHOW
2 Golds, 3 Silvers - 2014 CREATIVE GUILD KIDLAT AWARDS
1 Bronze, 3 Shortlists - 2014 CANNES LIONS
1 Gold, 2014 SPIKES ASIA
1 Silver, 2014 CLIO


It wasn't the idea I was told to recommend, but it was the idea my team and I believed in. Because it was real. And in its real-ness, a rare opportunity to truly help people and touch lives.

And so on that hot and humid afternoon, in the middle of Bizu Rockwell, in front of the media guys and to clients, I sold the idea. And in the months leading to its airing, I kept the original idea sold, despite the strongest threats of compromise and temptation to go 'the easy route' of doing re-enactments instead of filming the real thing - 'because clients are upset about why it's so difficult,' I was told by the Suits. I remember screaming in the middle of the open-plan office about how I was not going to compromise the effort with talents and re-enactments. Doing it for real was simply a non-negotiable. And everyone delivered.

When you have something special in your hands, you just know it. We were all squeezed into a little ante-room the size of a hotel bathroom. All of us - agency, client, producer, director, line producer, executive producer, with the multiple screens to monitor each of the six cameras hidden within the Cebuana branch. And after every filming, we got out of the room in tears. 'It isn't every day that we're able to do this job of ours and really help,' I told the kids, 'So remember this day, and remember this project, because it's special.'

A few months later, when it won silver Spikes, and a few months after that, when it won the Grande Lotus Roots at the Asian Adfest, I was just glad the jury saw what we knew from the start.

I thank these special people most - the sisters from Leyte, the father and son from Sultan Kudarat, the mother, her grandson and her son from Dubai - for filling our hearts with deep joy while doing this project. Truly one of my most memorable. 

As one of the Adfest judges said, 'This is what it's all about.'

1 Silver, 2013 SPIKES
1 Grande Lotus Roots, 2014 ASIAN ADFEST
2 Silvers, 2014 ASIAN ADFEST

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Two Gold Lions. And one Silver. And one Bronze. Big, iconic, Filipino brand formerly seen as extremely traditional. Real work that grew the business and built the brand. Was talked about; written about; sung about. An idea so big it mobilized 3/4 the agency over a full year. And the most fu*king difficult Case Study Video to pull all that together. A very meaningful win for us at Saatchi. Truly, nothing is impossible with one team, one dream.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

FEBRUARY 11, 2012: PLDT MyDSL "Anna Banana" TVC (Integrated)

PLDT MyDSL "Anna Banana" TVC 60s (with Integrated Campaign)

Henry Frejas, Filmex

Jordan Santos, Associate Creative Director

Andrew Petch, ECD;
Trixie Diyco and Greg Martin, CDs;
Jordan Santos, ACD;
Hans Malang, AD

Windell Aboy, AD;
Paolo Agulto, Copywriter;
Petra Magno, Copywriter;
Gelo Lico, AD

A product of the blurred lines between teams and a rare unconditional collaboration between Creative Directors. All for The Work. Am very proud of this one. Was not easy to do, but am very, very proud.

Friday, June 24, 2011


This is a particularly special win for me, perhaps the sweetest in my career so far, for many reasons:

1. It is my team's second Cannes Lion (the first, being a Silver Lion last year for The North Face Outdoor Essentials)

2. It is the Philippines' first integrated campaign that has ever won a Cannes Lion; it is the only integrated campaign from the Philippines that won a Cannes Lion this year

3. It was a product of a real brief: requested, supported, and paid for by a big, multinational company for a big, known global brand

4. It was the result of a Client-Accounts-Creatives-Activation/Integration-Production teamwork like no other I have seen

5. It resulted in oustanding business growth for the brand

6. It forged a stronger relationship between P&G and Saatchi Manila based on trust and faith in our creative ideas

7. It paves the way for greater and greater work from Saatchi Manila

8. And it is proof that if you just keep your eyes on the work and nothing else, nothing is impossible.

1 Bronze Lion, 2012 CANNES LIONS
3 Silvers, 2011 SPIKES
2 Bronzes, 2012 THE AWARD AWARD
1 Pencil, 2012 THE ONE SHOW
1 Merit Certificate, 2012 THE ONE SHOW

Saturday, April 23, 2011


This is a project we've been working on for almost a year now. One of those increasingly rare times when everyone from Client to Agency, to consumers, even (the Cleans Like New campaign did wonders for sales!), was happy with the results!



The Proposition was: Ariel Laundry Detergent cleans clothes like new. So we wanted to convert laundromats into clothing boutiques in order to dramatize that when your clothes are washed with Ariel, they're kept looking so new, you could actually mistake them for brand new clothes.

Part of this Integrated Campaign were Online Shopping Ads on Facebook that, when clicked, directed consumers to a Metropole site that mimicked an online shopping page that displayed newly-washed clothes rather than brand new ones. All kept lookin
g like new of course, with the use of Ariel.



CONCEPT BY: Bia Fernandez & Acid Cid (for the laundromat), Tony Sarmiento & Trixie F. Diyco (for the online shopping)
COPYWRITER: Bia Fernandez
ART DIRECTORS: Acid Cid, Janette de Veyra
ACCOUNT SERVICE TEAM: Lou Santos, Carlos Domingo, Crissy Ancheta