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Featured: GIGIL, a proudly Filipino creative agency, transforms good ideas into good results

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The RC Cola campaign entitled “Basta” took the internet by storm. Not even just locally, but internationally as well. In this ad, a mother and son have a heartfelt conversation about the origins of his birth. He cries out to his mother tearfully and asks why he has four drinking glasses stuck to his back.

Yes, you read that right. Four drinking glasses stuck to his back.

The mother then proceeds to reveal that the boy is adopted, but the revelation isn’t the same as the confessions you see on your usual telenovelas because she takes off her head, reveals a bottle of RC Cola inside, and then proceeds to pour the cola into the boy’s drinking glasses. The whole family then gathers to drink the cola from the boy’s back.


Reading that might be weird, but watching it will be more so.

Despite the weirdness of this ad, RC Cola Mega’s sales increased by 67% after the video was released online. This is the usual result of GIGIL. Other notable campaigns of theirs include “TotoO Shopping” for Orocan and “Judith” for 7-Eleven’s CLiQQ. Sales of Orocan’s product increased by 25% while Cliqq saw a 370% increase in payment transactions.

In spite of GIGIL’s late entry into the industry, they have won numerous awards both local and international. Most notably, their first international win, a Clio Health Silver for their ‘Dr. Internet’ campaign for Konsulta MD, and their more recent ones, a “Philippines Independent Agency of the Year,” and “Philippines Creative Agency of the Year” from Campaign’s Agency of the Year Awards (AOY) 2020.

Co-founded by Badong Abesamis and Herbert Hernandez and run by Managing Partner Jake Yrastorza, GIGIL is certainly achieving a lot for a creative agency established in 2017.

It All Started With an Offer

When Abesamis was still in Y&R, a multinational agency courted him. They wanted him to turn their agency around by making it more creative. However, if he refused, they would hire Hernandez instead.

Abesamis was Hernandez’s boss, and the offer got them thinking. Deciding not to take the multinational agency’s offer, the two went on to create GIGIL — a creative agency providing digital work to its clients.

Digital platforms are a different game entirely, and they knew that the commercials they did in their past lives wouldn’t cut it. This is where they started to leave their mark on the advertising industry because the campaigns GIGIL have come up with are completely outside the box.

The RC Cola ad is a good example, but they have other outrageous campaigns that have become popular as well. From a talking cheese block that eats bits and pieces of itself to a Dracula that pays his bills, GIGIL has an interesting ensemble of characters ready for their clients.

However, GIGIL doesn’t simply rely on humor or crazy characters, because they have campaigns that are both genuine and heartfelt. An example of this is Levi’s ‘Studs’, a Christmas campaign that hits right in the feels. Their short films for CIMB have the same effect, but one thing they have in common with GIGIL’s other campaigns, humorous or not, is that they all rely on Filipino culture and trends to better tell their client’s story.

Making a Mark in Advertising 

GIGIL has continuously been taking risks in their campaigns — going by their belief of high-risk high-reward. Because of this, brands are taking notice and are requesting for similar ads, resulting in a preconceived “GIGIL Tone.”

But the last thing GIGIL wants to do is to have a house style because their campaigns are always dependent on their client’s problem. GIGIL is simply presenting a solution, and that solution doesn’t necessarily mean having product-inspired creatures. In the end, it all boils down to what the client needs.

GIGIL’s work with its clients is worthy of recognition. They pour the same amount of passion into any job order that comes their way. Mediocrity isn’t something you’ll find in GIGIL’s campaigns because they always strive to make a piece of work that is not only good but also solves the business problem of their clients.

They make their client’s problems their own, which is why GIGIL, alongside 7-Eleven CLiQQ, snatched a gold for AOY’s “Southeast Asia Agency Marketer Partnership of the Year.” GIGIL and Orocan also won a bronze for the same award.

However trite this may be, GIGIL’s future is looking bright. They proved that producing work that scares brands actually lead to good results. In being brave, GIGIL is setting an example for brands and agencies. If GIGIL can get away with it, then other agencies can as well.

It didn’t take long for this young agency to make a mark on the country’s advertising industry. They did so much in three years, so we can only wait and see what else they will do in 2021 and beyond.

For more information on GIGIL visit their website gigil.com.ph


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