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When lightning strikes for the first time: Introspections by Marcél Lacap, youngest Kidlat jury member 

MANILA, PHILIPPINES Marcél Lacap, Creative Director of Octopus&Whale and an award-winning Kapampangan filmmaker, songwriter, and advertising creative, was recently welcomed into the 16th Kidlat Awards as a jury member of the Classic and Engagement categories. Although the youngest member, Marcél’s talent and expertise go far beyond his years, gaining both local and international recognition for his work in advertising and film in the last nine years.

But, before the accolades and accomplishments, Marcél shared the flame that ignited his passion and what he’s learned since joining the Kidlat Awards jury with adobo Magazine in this exclusive piece penned by the creative director himself.

Not gonna lie, I’m a competitive “promdi” (someone who hails from the rural provinces of the Philippines). Growing up in a flood-ridden barrio in Pampanga, my brothers and I would come up with games to entertain ourselves. I invented one that we played during commercial breaks: name the brand first. I won 94% of the time.

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That’s why it’s no surprise I enjoy ad competitions. I participate a lot, so I lose a lot. But in between, I bagged bronze for Young Spikes, silver for Digital Young Creatives, and eventually gold for Google Jam For Good. I finally represented the country at the Cannes Young Lions Competition in 2022. And now, I move on to adult duties!

So imagine my excitement when I learned I’d be representing Octopus&Whale at this year’s Kidlat jury for Classic Creativity and Engagement. Nonchalantly aside, I blushed when I heard I’d be with Thomas Hongtack Kim, David Guerrero, Ompong Remigio, Kat Limchoc, Maki Correa, Paolo Toledo, Miko Quiogue, and Jeano Cruz. 

Now let me share seven introspections and learnings from my inaugural Kidlat Jury duty:

If It’s Unclear, It’s Out.

Einstein said if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough. Advertising is not rocket science; it shouldn’t be hard to comprehend. Plus, if the top guns of the industry don’t get it, how would Bapang Rene, a construction worker in Calapan, Mindoro, get it?

In contrast, here are the top three clearest and best works I’ve personally seen inside the jury room: one presents a clear societal need (“Right to Care” card), the other provides a clear brand role (“KitKat Breaks”), and the last presents a clear and compelling call to action (“TNT Sim Registration“).

Is This True?

The past few elections taught us we can’t believe everything we read, hear, or watch. Jury members are not exempt from that. So when something feels untrue, it doesn’t hurt to investigate. Google is your friend.

This Ad Is So Familiar.

Maybe it’s kinda lame to be an advertising nerd, but it pays off! There was this ad many of us in the room liked. Good thing David called it out. So eat your veggies and consume your ads, younger ones. It’ll build your advertising muscles.

Your POV Matters. Speak Up!

Ad creatives are no strangers to imposter syndrome or occasional self-doubt. But you’re in this room for a reason, so speak up. Never forget your POV matters because you matter.

Some Things Deserve A Second Look.

Some ads, like people, deserve a second chance. That thing probably didn’t change much when we looked at it again, but our appreciation and understanding may have shifted. If we’re lucky, when we look again — we are changed.

Don’t Forget To Have Fun.

Often, we’re too busy doing our jobs that we forget to enjoy ourselves. Remember that when we’re having fun, we’re most creative.

Introduce Yourself.

We were told that we have to work hard enough so we won’t have to introduce ourselves. That’s a lie. Even the hottest and greatest introduce themselves. Unless, of course, they are not-so-humble. But if there’s something we learned from the past few months, we should listen to Kendrick: be humble and introduce yourself. Come to think of it, introducing ourselves is a self-reminder of who we are.

So let me introduce myself. Yaku i Marcél Bátac Lácap. I am a Kapampangan creative, indigenous cultures advocate, and the newest creative director of Octopus&Whale.

About the Author

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Marcél Lacap

Marcél is an award-winning filmmaker, songwriter, and advertising creative. Since joining the industry in 2015, his body of work has garnered local and international nods inside and outside of advertising.

He continuously moonlights as a cultural worker; helping create & mount multi-platform projects that promote indigenous cultures of the Philippines; from teaching indigenous youths how to vlog to helping stage the biggest IP festival in the archipelago.

An active cheerleader of promdi creatives, he supports the annual advertising competition of Holy Angel University and makes time to give talks to schools and non-governmental organizations in the provinces. He was part of the New York Festivals Grand Jury in 2023.

Marcél is also the founder of TípaManik Studios, a creative collective that produces free films, songs, educational materials, and literary works that champion intangible cultural heritage.

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