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5 Takeaways from the APAC Effie Awards Manila Roadshow

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Known for awarding ideas that work, APAC Effie Awards is back in full swing and along with it is the Manila Roadshow, which took place at Leo Burnett Manila on January 16. Coupled with case studies and an in-depth writing session, here are five takeaways from the roadshow:

A brand lives its purpose

There are different ways of showing effectiveness. In the case of “McDonald’s Classroom” by Leo Burnett Manila where the stores’ party areas were converted into conducive classrooms for teachers during the lockdown, effectiveness was not measured in the after sales, but in the lives touched by the campaign.

“People really felt the purpose of McDonald’s coming to life because it’s really all about how we can help the people in the communities where we operate in,” said Joy Santos, Chief Strategy Officer, Leo Burnett Group Manila.


Speaking on behalf of the client, she said that investment can mean different things; it may not always be about the pesos and centavos earned, but in how the brand’s purpose is brought to life.

“Putting money behind it [purpose] when you’re not gonna make any money off of it shows commitment.” Furthermore, the campaign re-established McDonald’s as an ethical and responsible company which consumers can trust.

You can out-Pinoy the competition

How do you go head-to-head against competition whose media budget is 98% more than yours? This was the problem of Grab Unlimited when they launched in 2021. Anchoring on the insight of familiarity breeds content, GIGIL was able to associate its client with better deals and grow its market share by 36%.

From the client side, Justine Anne Aruta, Country Marketing Head at GRAB Philippines, said that they wanted to work with an agency that will push them beyond their comfort zone. She said that it was one thing to be noisy about the promos but to latch on the insight while out-Pinoy-ing the competition can only come with the campaign “Delivery Man.”

“The power of the insight na pag nakikita mo ‘tong taong ‘to araw-araw, close na kayo was so strong,” she said. She also added three things that she learned from the work: be brave, commit to the idea, and collaborate.

You have to make the judges want you to win

In his session on writing effectively, BBDO Guerrero Chief Strategy Officer and APAC Effie Juror Gino Borromeo said that once you remove all the titles and positions, judges are human too. They want to be entertained and inspired by the paper they’re reading.

He said, “When I say people, they’re busy. Some of them don’t like to read, they won’t admit it. Some of them don’t speak English meaning not all of them are native English speakers, and we take that for granted sometimes, but you know what? They’re people. Some are cranky, some hate their jobs, and they do this [read entries] after they go to their bad day. So my point is if you’re going to pitch to somebody like that, you’d better know how to make them smile.”

This also extends on defining the audience in very human terms and staying away from corporate speak and jargon-ese which were apparent in Philippine entries in the past.

“When you start to describe in human terms, it’s easier for a judge to remember. It also helps your storytelling.”

Show the strength of the story

Presenting the case of “The Loudest Call for Help” by Ogilvy Sydney, Gino pointed out that the most effective solution is sometimes the most simple one: utilizing public pay phones to directly engage Australians and disrupt their apathy towards homeless youth by ringing the phones all at once and telling stories when the calls are picked-up. What came out of the well-crafted story and its vehicle are two Gold APAC Effies in Media Innovation and Small Budget Services.

Gino added that identifying the challenge and objective is the most important because that tells whether the idea and execution are great. Tough and dramatic problems will most likely catch attention but in presenting the problem, entrants also need to:

  • Contextualize and frame the situation
  • Relate the objectives and KPIs to the business challenge
  • Explain the significance of the objectives

Prepare and follow the rules

As with all award shows, APAC Effies has its set rules and not following them leads to disqualification, so the biggest takeaway from the roadshow is to spend time on writing the paper.

Previous Jury Chair, Digital Marketing, Media and Commerce Lead at Unilever, Dennis Perez, likened writing the paper to thesis writing. Also coming from the client side, he had this to say: “If there’s one awards show that is right up the alley of advertisers, it’s the Effie. It’s very easy for you to convince your client to actually enter at Effie.”

As a finishing touch, Gino gave tips on what drags down the scores of the entries such as being written for the wrong category, poor writing and using unfamiliar terms, incomplete sourcing of data and results.

With all the expert advice shared that the Roadshow, Metro Manila’s creatives are equipped to take on the challenge of the APAC Effies with a greater shot at winning. All that’s left to do is to channel that wisdom into making 2024 the Philippines’ strongest year yet in terms entries.

APAC Effies 2024 is accepting entries until March 2024. adobo magazine is the official media partner of APAC Effie Awards 2024.

Partner with adobo Magazine

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