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IdeasXMachina Chief Creative Officer Lawin Bulatao: ‘Magic is a point of view’

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — It’s been said often enough: there are no good or bad things – only things. The good or bad are labels we choose to place. Sometimes out of habit, sometimes by design, but always based on the filters through which we see and feel and process these things.

Take copy points and product claims for example. To many overworked copywriters, these are seen as burdens – obstacles to the demonstration of their craft. To a strategy planner, these are bridges to a market. To an accounts person, they’re necessary bits to get an approval. And of course, to a business owner or brand manager, these are as valuable as DNA.

As a copywriter and advertising creative of nearly 30 years, I’ve thrown my share of tantrums over what I felt were strange requests and directions without direction. But inevitably, my best work has come from the times I embraced the necessary. As one of my favorite bosses and mentors Mon Jimenez once advised: “Inside every crappy brief is a brilliant ad waiting to happen.” It’s true. The magic of a brief isn’t in the document. It’s in us and what we do with it. It’s in the work we put in before and around the work. It’s in the research we do, the craft we apply, the rigor we employ.


As Creatives, magic is our job. And just to push the point a little more, a last bit on copy points and product claims: often that’s where the meat is. It’s where and how a story can be told. I tried it myself in this piece I wrote for my poetry collection Sometimes Broke, Never Broken. Take a read. I hope it’s as fun for you to go through as it was for me to put together.

The poem, as presented in the book, reads:

Aisle 3

Triple whitening
Intense freshening
Gum strengthening
Calcium enriched
Activated carbon
Dentist recommended
Professional grade mintiness

No toothpaste or mouthwash
Can make goodbyes stink less
How much gargling does it take
My gums bleed too much already
And sometimes not just my gums
There’s no orthodontist for the cavity you left

Oh, look shampoo!
Silky smooth
Vitamin enhanced
Dandruff control
Hair repair
Zero flaking
Shiny strong
Cleanse and condition in one
No recommended therapeutic use

Because you’re still on my mind
In my head stubborn as lice
Turning my every shower
Into a snarling wilderness
Of tangles and split ends
I hated having to clean your hair out of the drain
I have not having to do it anymore even more

Stick or cream
For sports and leisure
Aqua allure
Active fresh
Citrus pine
24-hour odor protection
Won’t let you down

But you did, didn’t you?
You did and there’s nothing more
For me to do
Than roll on.”

Order Lawin’s poetry book here:

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