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Philippine agencies make a mark at Adfest 2023 as Leo Burnett Manila, GIGIL, and BBDO Guerrero take home metals from the first Lotus Awards night

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — ADFEST 2023 has just announced its first round of winners at the first Lotus Awards ceremony, and the Philippine agencies that are bannering Filipinos’ creative excellence did not disappoint.

A standout among Philippine winners is Leo Burnett Manila with a total of five metal wins for its stellar “Unbranded Menu” campaign for McDonald’s Philippines. The agency walked away from the first of two Lotus Awards ceremonies with two Gold awards for the Online & Digital Platforms and Use of Games categories under Direct Lotus, one Silver award for Use of Digital & Social Platforms under Brand Experience Lotus, and two Bronze awards for Use of Digital Platforms under Media Lotus and User Generated Content under Digital and Social Lotus.

“Unbranded Menu” success involved hijacking the gaming multiverse with the campaign successfully enticing gamers to be on the lookout for “food-alikes” — fictional food items in games that could pass as a replica for products from the iconic fast-food chain.

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When Alodia Gosiengfiao, the country’s most popular gaming personality, took a screenshot of a burger from Grand Theft Auto V that looks like the classic Big Mac and posted it with the hashtag #ThisIsMcDonalds, the hype was on. Suddenly, both the biggest gamers in the Philippines and their huge fan bases were no longer just completing missions or rising up the ranks while playing beloved games. They were also on the lookout for McDonald’s food-alikes — which the campaign proved was all over the world of gaming.

Whether gamers were playing a laidback game of The Sims or fighting off Infected in The Last of Us, they still managed to spot food items that, while unmarked with any logos, were uncanny look-alikes that were without a doubt inspired by McDonald’s favorites. Players could then trade it in for the real thing, getting actual McDonald’s items once they posted the virtual fast food discoveries with the hashtag #ThisIsMcDonalds.

“We hit another milestone with these ADFEST wins. I look back at the early days when we were bouncing the idea off people not involved with the work and getting enthusiastic responses,” shared Leo Burnett Group Manila Chief Creative Officer Raoul Panes told adobo Magazine. “With nothing more than a scrappy deck of doodles, low-res screengrabs, and rough charts, we knew we were onto something. Fast forward, and now it’s being recognized in international shows. Truly gratifying! The many months of hard work is paying off for our passionate agency team and brave clients.”

In addition to Leo Burnett, BBDO Guerrero and GIGIL also proved the Philippine creative industry’s excellence as they each took home a metal win from the first Lotus Awards ceremony.

BBDO Guerrero was presented a Silver award in the Use of Audio category under Media Lotus for “The Fake News Broadcast” campaign for Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas.

Meanwhile, thanks to its “Fuel Station” campaign for Netflix, GIGIL took the Bronze in Events under Brand Experience Lotus. This campaign took nostalgia to another level when it came time to promote the movie Seoul Vibe. When it promoted the tagline “Drive back to 1988,” GIGIL put its money where its mouth is by setting up a gas station that sold fuel at the price it was at in the 80s — a whopping Php 7 per liter.

adobo Magazine is an official media partner of ADFEST 2023.

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