People: IdeasXMachina Group of Hakuhodo elevates young guns

MANILA, PHILIPPINES —The IdeasXMachina Group of Hakuhodo continues to bulk up its 2022 operations in the Philippines with a January announcement of new promotions in its flagship brand-handling agency, IXM.

Rain Gamboa is now Joint-Managing Director of the whole IXM. She’s been a three-time Art Director Of The Year awardee. In 2020, she won Southeast Asia Young Achiever Of The Year at the Campaign Asia Magazine Agency Of The Year Awards. Rain will lead all operations of the creative agency alongside Eggsy Montero, head of all client services and Acting-President of the IdeasXMachina Group.


Grey Yuzon and Knight De Guzman take leadership roles in the creative department as Joint-Deputy Executive Creative Directors. They will be helming six concept teams and 25 creatives in IXM.

Asked on whether the three 20-something homegrown talents are deserving and ready for the job, IdeasXMachina founder and Hakuhodo International Philippines (HIP) Chief Of Creatives Third Domingo said, “Absolutely. And hellz no.”

“No one ever is truly ready for bigger roles. Being Creative Director, for one, is not something you deserve, it is something you live by. It’s one thing to know how to make ideas and ads; quite another to be able to transform them into wealth for oneself, for client, and the society—to run a business that aims to inspire its audiences. That is the next level and that is the real skill.”

HIP Director Tatsuro Osuga said of the promotions: “I expected and I’m excited by this bold move. Hakuhodo is proud that most of the best young talents in Asia come from us. IdeasXMachina is indeed a teaching agency and that’s a very seikatsusha way of building a truly creative organization and partner to our clients.”

Other new promotions in the creative department include Gab Navarro as a Group Creative Director. Rrrr Barria as Associate Creative Director, and Eureka dela Cruz as Associate Content Director for Axolotl, the Content Creation unit.

Jazz Ilagan, an IXM O.G. and now ECD of HIP, had this to say about the new heads in IXM: “Rain, Grey, Knight, Gab, Storm, Thunder and Rrrr have all been in the frontline, the middleline, and the backline of the battle during the pandemic times, from which the Agency was largely unaffected. In fact, the business grew with more assignments from P&G, Toyota, Japan Tobacco, Ginebra San Miguel, and Splash. With Thirdand myself exploring new territories for Hakuhodo to conquer, I am confident the best is yet to come for IXM.”

Rain Gamboa, Rrrr Barria, and Gab Navarro at the Campaign AOY Singapore.

For Accounts Management, 2021 winner of the Campaign Southeast Asia Accounts Person of the Year Storm Surla is now a Group Accounts Director. Thunder Tan is now Accounts Director, Bam Busran, Associate PR Director of PRIXM, and Fight Ballo of HEROIXM now Social Good Communications Manager.

“I respect tenure but I think we should understand it more as experience and expertise; and that doesn’t have to mean seniority. I believe instructions must come not from a point of authority but rather from an area of empathy and competence,” Domingo explains. “I’ve been told it’s nuts to advance untested talent. But nuts is good; isn’t that the point? And no, they are much tested. And proven! Everyday in IdeasXMachina is a test. Advertising may still be an old boys or girls club, but it is a job for young, intelligent and hard-headed people. The industry is turning a new leaf and so are we.”

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