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Creative genius David Guerrero earns Lifetime Achievement Award at Kidlat Awards

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — In culmination of the two-day CreativeFest, hosted by 4As Philippines and the Creative Guild under the theme “HyperCreativity,” the prestigious Kidlat Awards presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to David Guerrero, Creative Chairman of BBDO Guerrero.

With some of the biggest names in Philippine advertising in attendance, David began his acceptance speech by sharing that most of his formative years were spent in the UK. It wasn’t until he returned home after completing school that he realized his career options seemed limited to aspiring roles as a rock music journalist or a T-shirt designer. “Good thing I was still living at home,” he joked.

“I started looking alphabetically at my options in the college catalog: Accountancy, Architecture — then it hit me,” David said without missing a beat. “Asian Studies!”

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But after graduating without a job once more, David pondered about a profession that offered financial stability, didn’t necessarily require formal qualifications, was rewarded based on merit, and provided the flexibility to work globally. Thus, he set out on a path towards a career in advertising.

His first placement offer was from John Webster at BMP, where he worked in London for three years before heading to Hong Kong. He stayed there long enough to work on the relaunch of Cathay Pacific before an offer from Neil French (then Ogilvy’s Regional Chief Creative Officer) brought him home as Executive Creative Director of that agency’s Manila office. During his time in Hong Kong, David also encountered another sharp-witted and intelligent creative named Angel, who would later become his wife. As David delivered his acceptance speech, Angel cheered him on from the audience.

As ECD, David steered Ogilvy Manila to unprecedented success. Under his leadership, the agency won its first set of CLIO Awards, a Grand Prix at the London International Awards, and countless Spikes Asia trophies.

However, it was the launch of BBDO Guerrero Ortega, a venture he embarked upon with Jos Ortega, that truly crystallized David’s impact on the advertising industry. Since its inception in 1998, the agency quickly emerged as a creative powerhouse, earning accolades and awards on both the national and international stage.

In 2007, David made history as South East Asia’s first Cannes Jury President. BBDO Guerrero Ortega also achieved a groundbreaking feat by securing the Philippines’ first Lions across various categories, including Film, Cyber, Outdoor, Radio, Press, and Promo. The subsequent year marked a significant transition for the agency as Co-founder Jos departed to explore fresh opportunities, prompting the rebrand to BBDO Guerrero.

“We were doing nicely with a mix of local and international clients. Then, one day, we got a call from Ramon ‘Mon’ Jimenez Jr., [Former Secretary of Tourism of the Philippines,] asking us to pitch for the tourism campaign,” David explained. “It was a big job and one that I really wanted to do. It took a pitch against seven other agencies before we were finally invited to the palace to present the tagline to President Noynoy.”

The winning idea, which later became the iconic “It’s More Fun in The Philippines” campaign, was conceived by David himself. He scribbled the catchy phrase after emerging from a scuba dive in Boracay. Within a few weeks, the slogan evolved into an internationally recognized meme, capturing the essence of Philippine tourism. Although the campaign was officially launched in 2012, it carried all the way over until 2023.

“We may have done other campaigns that won more awards, but this campaign and the belief shown in us by Mon put us on the map more than anything else we did. I will be forever grateful for the partnership we had,” David commented.

Concluding his acceptance speech, the Lifetime Achievement awardee said, “So yes, this is why advertising is the best job in the world. If you love your work, your ideas can travel. You can travel, meet celebrities, meet world leaders, meet the person of your dreams, have a family, make great friends and learn from colleagues, and celebrate and commiserate about awards. And know that you can pick yourself up the next day and start all over again.”

David assured creatives that if perform their duties exceptionally well as part of a team that enhances everyone’s abilities collectively, then one day they can anticipate stepping onto the stage and receiving an award.

“That’s what makes this award so special — it’s taken me 37 years to get it,” David shared. “It feels like it’s been worth every minute. Our agency is founded on the belief that the work, the work, the work, is what counts. And all along, it’s been the people, the people, the people, who have made it possible.”

In a tribute to those who have been instrumental in shaping his professional journey, David expressed his gratitude to a varied group of individuals. From esteemed CEOs such as Jos, Susan, Paul, Tony, and the steadfast Fran, to his esteemed ECDs, including Dave Ferrer, Merlee, Raoul, Simon, Joel, Brandie, Tin, Dale, Fede, Gavin, and others who have been integral since BBDO Guerrero’s inception.

Additionally, he extended his appreciation to key figures such as General Managers Gel and Karen, Head of Finance Leah, Head of Traffic Chot, and Heads of Production Sir Al and David Wright, along with the entire team of 100 individuals whose collective efforts contribute to the agency’s success.

Furthermore, David expressed gratitude to the Creative Guild for its exceptional organization of CreativeFest, the 4As board, industry colleagues, clients, partners, and lastly, his parents, who he hoped were watching with pride from above, acknowledging their foundational role in his achievements.

adobo Magazine is an official media partner of Kidlat Awards 2024.

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