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MullenLowe Treyna’s Leigh Reyes and Paulo Dela Rosa: ‘Creatives need to stop thinking that advertising is the only thing we can do’

PATTAYA, THAILAND — One of the biggest contenders at this year’s ADFEST 2024 is “Right to Care” by Manila-based agency MullenLowe TREYNA. The campaign is making its rounds this awards season with big wins, including the Philippines’ first-ever Grand Prix for Glass Spikes, a category dedicated to groundbreaking work for equality and inclusivity.

At ADFEST 2024, it’s in the running for four separate categories:

  • Innova Lotus: Sustainable Innovation
  • Innova Lotus: Innovation for Humanity
  • PR Lotus: Public Services and Cause Appeals
  • Sustainable Lotus: Health and Wellbeing

Working in partnership with the Quezon City Gender and Development Council, the “Right to Care” card allows LGBTQ+ couples the right to decide for each other in medical emergencies, granting a very crucial right to the community in a country with no law to protect them. From a card that repurposes a Special Power of Attorney (SPA), which is commonly used in financial transactions, it is now a city-wide ordinance in the capital’s biggest and most populated city, Quezon City, that requires every hospital and health facility to honor this right.


To discuss this amazing feat, adobo Magazine sat down with MullenLowe TREYNA Chair 3meritus (C3PO) Leigh Reyes and Associate Creative Director and Senior Copywriter Paulo Dela Rosa during ADFEST 2024 before the award ceremony on March 22, Friday.

Speaking on the immense recognition the campaign has been getting, Paulo shared, “I personally feel that it’s bigger than any of us. It’s bigger than MullenLowe, it’s bigger than ADFEST. What we have here is a manifestation, of course. But I’m more excited about helping other people more than the actual awards. Because with good work, awards will follow.”

Leigh added: “I think about the fact that as of last year, nobody even had this right in this country, and now they have exactly one… It’s good to be recognized because that gives you a little more leverage, and it gives you additional public awareness about this issue. But it’s seen in a good light. Meaning, it’s actually the other people looking at this work and saying that this is what it deserves. [But] the change that it’s affecting in society, and the potential benefit to marginalized people is a lot greater.”

The campaign began as an idea in 2021 from Senior Art Director Adrian de Guzman‘s passion for LGBTQ+ advocacy, stemmed from their usual creative ideation sessions – an agency practice to encourage team members to pitch projects they’re really passionate about and remain inspired: “We have rounds of creative ideation in the office that we do to stretch our muscles and make sure that we don’t miss out on what people are passionate about. Because we believe that you work a lot harder, and you have more grit, if your ideas and executions interest you. So this actually came out in one of those sessions,” Leigh shared.

With the idea in hand, they pitched the project to the Quezon City Gender and Development Council, which eagerly got on board to support this endeavor. They recalled that their client, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte, only had this to say after they presented the idea: “Meron pa pala akong hindi alam. Meron pa pala akong pwedeng gawin.” ([I didn’t realize that] there’s still something I didn’t know. There’s still something I can do.)

It took the team two years of consulting with legal experts and formalizing policies to launch the campaign in June 2023, right in time for Pride month.

Addressing a legal matter in healthcare may sound like an endeavor that’s requires no creativity at all. But, in Leigh’s perspective, it’s a perfect exercise of what creative thinking really is: “Creativity is the ability to make unexpected connections. We took something that’s normally used for a very concrete purpose, and we turned it into a form of medical consent. Pwede pang gamitin sa tao ang dating ginagamit lang sa bagay (We can use for humans what was originally just being used for objects). Because at the core of an SPA is assigning someone to be your attorney-in-fact. It basically says that, as long as you’re in Quezon City, your partner is your healthcare attorney-in-fact.”

The campaign also takes on an innovative way of presenting an SPA document, as it’s usually only proven by a legal piece of paper – which, culturally, is usually safely kept by Filipinos in their homes and therefore not easily accessible during emergencies – and puts the information in a QR code that’s printed in a much more portable physical card.

Paulo and Leigh also shared some personal stories that further pushed the MullenLowe TREYNA team to make this campaign into a reality, with anecdotes from within their creative team and agency of LGBTQ+ individuals having a hard time with processing their loved ones’ medical emergencies because of the lack of rights they had. Paulo mentioned a specific news article that the team read while they were working on the campaign that fuelled their desire for change even more: “[This person] was denied of healthcare decision-making when the love of his life – his partner – had to be intubated. And hindi lang sa intubation siya nahirapan (it wasn’t just with the intubation that he had a hard time), even obtaining the body, and the funeral processes. Hindi siya nirerecognize as a partner. (He wasn’t being recognized as a partner.) The resident doctor even said, ‘you’re just a friend.'”

Leigh emphasized the weight of that experience on anyone: “Imagine, you’re already grieving your loved one, and you can’t even obtain the body.” She also noted that this was during the Covid-19 pandemic, which meant a lot of casualties that were presenting these challenges to LGBTQ+ couples.

Lastly, the duo shared a challenge to creatives that pushes for more groundbreaking work: “I think it’s a shame to think that advertising, in a very narrow sense, is the only thing creative people can do. Creative people have a lot of agency and power because they want to use their creativity to solve bigger problems to feel like they themselves are able to do something to affect change. For any agency that recognizes that, having exercises [such as creative ideation] is great, but also the leadership should put their money where their mouth is. If you a great idea, as a leader, don’t let it die. Support the people who actually want to get it done. It’s one thing to say ‘we support and like the idea.’ It’s another thing to do the thing that makes the idea real.”

Next up, Leigh and Paulo are hoping to bring Right to Care to even more cities, and open the discussion on providing more rights for marginalized communities in the Philippines. From a card to now a city-wide ordinance, they hope to see “Right to Care” be a battlecry for the Filipino LGBTQ+ community, and affect more change across the country.

On the first night of the award show at ADFEST, March 22, it won a Gold for the PR Lotus category, under Public Services & Cause Appeals.

This article will be updated as winners are announced for ADFEST 2024.

adobo Magazine is an official media partner of ADFEST 2024.


Advertising Agency: MullenLowe TREYNA
Chairman/CEO: Mike Trillana
Creative Chair: Leigh Reyes
Chief Creative Officer: Abi Aquino
Executive Creative Director: Roman Carlo Olivarez
Client Service Director: Aimee Sarmiento
Account Director: Trina Nadela
Account Manager: Pau Frayco
Account Manager: Kryzzle Gaspay
Creative Director: Jopy Arnaldo
Creative Director: Mylo De Borja
Senior Art Director: Adrian De Guzman
Senior Art Director: Krystel Ybañez
Senior Copywriter: Paulo Dela Rosa
Senior Copywriter: Xanti Gonzales
Copywriter: Jam Pascual
Copywriter: Julian Bato
PR director – Tricia Kiocho
PR manager – Gerald Lim
PR specialist – Issa Faminial
Media Relations – Iris del Fierro, Nikka Ramos
PR writer – Erwin de Leon, Aj delas Alas
Qairos Chief Executive Officer: Raffy Bariso
Chief Technology Officer: Francis Bautista
Front-end Developer: Rhea Etable
UI Designer: Cristina Guanzon
Chief Synergy Officer: Raffy Bariso
Digital Advertising Specialist: Rokey Desingano
Content and Platforms Manager: Brian Tenedero
Experiential Marketing Lead: Nikki Torres
Senior Account Manager: Kit Calangi
PR and Events Writer: AJ delas Alas
Multimedia Producer: Kim Timan
Senior Multimedia Artist – Studio Lead: Jose Luis “JL” Marfori

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