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Introvert extraordinaire Maan Bautista gets inducted into the Creative Guild Hall of Fame

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — On top of their astonishing 20-award haul at the 2024 Kidlat Awards, VML Manila had one of the night’s biggest wins when its Executive Creative Director, Maan Bautista, was inducted into the Creative Guild Hall of Fame. The self-professed introvert is one of the Philippines’ most celebrated creatives, both in terms of achievement and in her status as a beloved coworker and mentor. 

Maan began her career in advertising as a copywriter in J. Walter Thompson (JWT), rising through the ranks over a prolific 11-year run at the agency before taking on the role of Creative Director at McCann Worldgroup in 2016. After four years with the company, she moved to Wunderman Thompson as Group Creative Director. She began 2024 with the start of a new journey shortly after the VMLY&R-Wunderman Thompson merger, currently serving as Executive Creative Director for the now-VML Manila.

At every stop in her remarkable 19-year career, she’s been a sought-after talent, a valued mentor, and a trusted friend, as evidenced by the testimonials shared through the tribute package at her Hall of Fame induction.

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“She’s a leader who cares immensely for the work, the people under her care, and the clients under her watch,” said Joe Dy, Chief Creative Officer at VML Manila.

“She is so talented,” shared Tin Sanchez, Executive Creative Director at Iris Singapore. “She writes so well in two languages. And she’s so sharp and precise.”

Speaking on Maan as a teacher, GIGIL Creative Director Leslie Cua said, “I find myself asking, ‘What would Maan do?’, and that says a lot about the type of mentor that she is.”

“I still use the lessons I learned from [Maan] and I teach them sa team ko.” Metrobank Head of Creatives, Content Division Ramon Alfonso added.

Maan’s body of work speaks even louder about how she’s able to bring out the best in every creative team she’s worked with. Throughout her career, she’s won award after award, including Golds at Cannes, Effies, AdFest, LIA, and New York Festivals, as well as the top spot among Creative Directors in adobo Magazine’s 2018 Creative Rankings.

Among her most critically acclaimed work are “Tick” for Greenpeace (2013, JWT), “Lives 1 of 4” for Fully Booked (2017, McCann), and “Right the Ride” for the Commission on Human Rights of The Philippines (2022, Wunderman Thompson).

Maan Bautista Creative Guild Hall of Fame 2024 Greenpeace Tick

One of her latest award-winning efforts, “Punctuation Breaks” for Kitkat, most recently took home the Silver for Print & Publishing – Consumer Goods at the 2024 Spikes Asia Awards. The campaign brings forward Maan’s strengths as a copywriter, cleverly using the cadence created by punctuation marks to encourage readers to take a break.

In her acceptance speech — what she jokingly referred to as the “hardest JO of my career so far” — Maan married her gratitude with a guide to public speaking for introverts, doing what every copywriter does best: writing what she knows.

“First, they said know and learn obsessively from the greats,” she declared, beginning her thank-yous with three of her first advertising CDs: BDO Unibank Branding Head Brandie Tan, Tin Sanchez, and Leo Burnett Creative Director Carl Urgino.

“Second: planning is your friend,” she continued. “When it comes to ideas, it’s very important that we take a leap, but we mustn’t forget to land.” In saying this, she thanked the brilliant planners in her career who encouraged her to leap by taking care of the landing.

“Finally, be yourself,” Maan said, thanking the people in her life who accepted her “flaws and all, introversion included.” 

Maan ended her speech with a message for the future: “I am truly grateful, and let’s do more awesome things together. As a country, let’s be proud of the work that we do and put the Philippines on the map. Ang galing natin guys and ituloy-tuloy lang natin ‘yan.

With no plans of resting on her laurels, Creative Guild 2024 Hall of Fame inductee Maan Bautista is looking forward to flexing her creativity in the years ahead, and to having fun through it all. 

And, as introverted as she may be, she can also look forward to even more people who are just as thankful to work with her as she is with them. 

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

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