MANILA, PHILIPPINES — TBWA\Santiago Mangada Puno was named the Philippines’ Agency of the Year at the 23rd annual Agency of the Year Awards. In the annual awards organized by the Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies of the Philippines (4As), the Disruption Agency received nods in Activation, Industry Leadership, and Creative, leading them to take home the big prize as Agency of the Year for an unprecedented 9th time. With last year’s AOY’s being preempted due to the global pandemic, the 2021 awards covered campaigns and accomplishments for the years 2019 and 2020. In shattering the record they themselves had set, TBWA\SMP had added reason to celebrate, as August marked the Agency’s 20th year in the country.
“This is the best, most unexpected birthday present we could have received,” said TBWA\SMP Chief Creative Officer Melvin Mangada, who led virtual celebrations for his team via Zoom. “The past year and a half has been trying for everyone in every industry, so it really says a lot that our TBWA family -from employees to clients- was able to pull together to ensure the quality of the work.”
Long known as the country’s toughest award show due to its strict judging criteria, the 2021 edition of the AOY marks the return of the 4As’ signature event following last year’s postponement due to the ongoing pandemic.
In line with its philosophy of Creativity for Humanity, TBWA was notable for putting people before profit, avoiding the layoffs, furloughs, and pay cuts that affected major businesses over the last 18 months, while managing to create striking, effective work for their clients.
Pandemic notwithstanding, the spirit of Disruption was fully evident in the TBWA entries. In addition to pioneering WFH protocols and mental health safeguards for staff, the campaigns representing the Agency’s output for the competition period reflected a willingness to flip the script on traditional concepts, such as styling contemporary celebs to look like their counterparts from 50 years ago for client Bench, innovating the data-powered listening experience for Spotify, or rewriting the rules for McDonald’s iconic Drive-Thrus.
With the Philippines continuing to operate under the world’s strictest lockdown, the challenges to TBWA and its clients aren’t likely to abate any time in the immediate future, but Mangada remains bullish on the Agency’s ability to weather the storm.
“Tonight, we’re going to celebrate this win,” said Mangada. “But come Monday, we’ll be back to the drawing board, dreaming up new ways to deliver the quality, consistency, and effectiveness of work that our clients have come to expect from TBWA.”