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Ogilvy Philippines’ Group Executive Director and Head of Strategy on creativity and effectiveness

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Coming out as Network of the Year in APAC Effie Awards 2022, Ogilvy Philippines’ Group Executive Director Mike Sicam and Head of Strategy Toni Tiu talked to adobo Magazine about the award, and what it meant to them. 

For over 50 years, the Effie Awards has stood for marketing effectiveness, recognizing ideas that work and communications that drive business impact.

Toni began by taking pride in the network’s global talent, “Our network has always had a collaborative spirit, bringing about work that shows the impact of borderless creativity on people, brands and the world.”

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Borderless creativity, for Ogilvy, is not just made but also measured. Hence, the formation of its Effectiveness Council. Unique in its mandate, the council is responsible for cultivating the agency’s culture of telling effective stories, including how to best be deliberate in planning for results. 

Toni shared that it all began in 2018 when she, along with two of her colleagues, took the IPA Effectiveness Certification course. “There were a lot of useful learnings that we wanted to share, so we worked together on a series of Effectiveness trainings shortly after.” 

Together with its effectiveness council, Ogilvy Philippines also attributes the success to its creativity council.

“Effectiveness and creativity always go hand-in-hand in groundbreaking work,” shared Mike.  

Formed to concentrate the expertise of its creatives, the Ogilvy Creative Council assesses the “best practices from different teams and apply them on an agency level.” 

“The council is also able to build on the overall creative output of the agency using areas we excel in creatively – like Experience Design, Digital, Tech and Data.”

Toni chimed in, “Effectiveness is always a blend of art and science, gut and guardrails, courage and being calculating. We are deliberate as possible with our objectives while making sure the strategies are clear and compelling enough for creatives to play around with.”

For both of them, these objectives are often achieved by answering questions like how a single idea can spark a change in their audience, and how to transform it to something that propels people into action.

Whenever there is an awards show, the Effectiveness Council evaluates the campaigns and which categories to enter them in. As a result, this ensures the compatibility of the campaign merits to the criteria of each category.

“We always make it a point to judge our creative output not just purely on one criterion but on those twin peaks. When we feel we already have a strong, effective idea we take time to find ways to make it more creative, more different. And then the reverse is always true wherein when we have an astounding creative material,” explained Mike.  

The agency’s recent work for Dove exhibits the symbiosis of the two councils. 

He added, “Staying true to Dove’s equity of championing real beauty, we found a near-universal insight on how Filipinos would playfully call loved ones derogatory nicknames without realizing that this significantly damages their confidence. By bringing to light this issue, we sparked numerous conversations around this deceptively innocuous practice and urged people to rethink how they address the women in their lives. The campaign encouraged them to find new ways to express their familiarity and fondness for their sisters, their daughters, and their friends with names that build them up rather than break them down.”

As for what is in store for the year ahead, the agency has a strong promise in furthering its bid for borderless creativity. 

“We’re also preparing for a revamped Effectiveness training series for 2023, so that’s something we’re very much looking forward to rolling out for the agency,” said Toni.

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