By Bryan Manantan
Some people dread the idea of reunions–a seemingly one-off event every year intended to catch up with loved ones but actually serves as an inventory of sorts– A fiscal audit of how far life has taken you in the course of your existence. As if someone is conducting a thorough accounting of what a person achieved or failed to accomplish, so far. Certainly, this isn’t the case for Victor, Vincent, Voltaire, and Vanessa, the great sons and daughter of advertising scion, Retired Col. Florentino Diño, a trailblazer in the field of communications and media placements.
On a typical Tuesday afternoon, the four siblings got together to reminisce and reflect on their Father’s greatest legacy and how they intend to take it to the next level. Make no mistake, Col. Diño is a tough act to follow, a retired military man who, despite his astute and on the dot training as a retired military official, he was able to reinvent himself and make an indelible mark in the uncharted world of advertising and communications. In their old home in Fairview, Quezon City, the four siblings share how their journey, albeit in winding roads, lead them to a united path to where they are today.
Start them young, begin at home – Vanessa
“Tatay would ask me to tabulate how many times the Milo Commercial comes up in the afternoon programs”, quips Vanessa as she reminisced her first foray into advertising at such a tender age. Vanessa would watch Sine Sa Nueve and record in a yellow pad the frequency of certain commercials placed by her dad, “I started young around 6-7 years old, Nestle and Unilever were his major clients.”
Although, her interest in college veered away from communications and marketing, “I like psychology, I could be either in the medical or industrial practice”. But as life would have it, the Psychology major form UST eventually found herself carving her niche as a media assistant which eventually led her to start a career in advertising. “Even as a Psych graduate, I could not walk away from Advertising. When I started working in the industry, dun ko narealize yung training ni tatay. The immersion of Vanessa proved to be a telling one—rising from the ranks of neophyte who was very eager to learn in spite of her formal collegiate training. And the rest itself as they say is history, with her unyielding and formidable determination, Vanessa gradually climbed the summit of the Advertising industry, with more than 14 years of experience under her belt, comprised of tri-media, out-of-home, brand management and marketing portfolio from DDB Philippines, Kinetic Worldwide and Cordlife Medical Philippines before embarking fulltime in AD FINITY.
Finding your voice – Victor
With his signature tenor and deep voice register, it is no wonder that Victor is a radio magnate. His voice has dominated much of the airwaves during the 90’s to 2008 being a Station Manager, voice talent for commercials and as a Radio Anchor. Although, his true love is radio, the universe has in stored great plot twists in Victor’s path that will eventually led him back to the world of advertising.
Unlike, Vanessa, Victor’s first mentor was Former Unilever Philippines Chairman and President Ole Van Der Straaten (Dutch National) who was Vanessa’s Godfather who asked him to move to Mexico to help him spearhead the launch of a multinational brand of deo fragrances. “When the radio station where I worked was sold abruptly , Ole heard about it and called me up and suggested to try my hand in advertising. Since you’re not doing anything there right now why don’t you come out here and help me, we recently acquired a deo-cologne company, I want you to be on board,” he said. The former executive booked a 22-hour flight en route to Mexico for Victor. Though he didn’t had any professional experience yet in the field, he accepted the challenge offered to him. The apple doesn’t really fall far from the tree, Victor produced some of the best campaigns for the deo-cologne brand during his foray as an advertising creative. “I think it was about my fifth month there when one day I am on my way up our office and low and behold, Tatay was there! That’s just the way he is… He loves all of us dearly, couldn’t stand not seeing or being with us. I know he was very proud. And I think one of the few times we really enjoyed each other’s company not only as father and son, but, as peers.
After his stint in Mexico for a year, Victor returned to the Philippines to continue doing his love for radio. Armed with his knowledge in advertising, he became a staple for a number of radio ads both as a creative and as a voice talent. His dad would often ask him to help run the company, MPAS, where Victor’s younger brother Voltaire is already helping build their family’s business. Yet Victor’s involvement did not come easy. Despite initial differences, Victor was able to exercise his own style of doing business—a style he admittedly says was a bit different from his dad. “We were very different in terms of management and creative approaches but we had great respect for each other’s abilities, Victor shares.
Get the experience first hand – Vincent
Compared to Victor, Vincent had a different route, Vincent jumpstarted his career in Sales. In fact, he has the most direct experience that fits within the mold of an ad-man. “At a young age, nagbebenta na ako sa mga classmates ko, nagdradrawing ako ng superman which I sell to my classmates,” Vincent fondly recalls. Such entrepreneurial skills were further ignited when he started to tag along his father in important meetings. “Kahit mga big people at VIPs ka-meeting niya, pinapasama niya ako, at dun ko na observe kung paano siya mag handle ng iba’t ibang klase ng tao”
Like his siblings, Vincent knew it by heart, “It is really in my blood”, he states. Being exposed at a very young age, he was offered opportunities that further developed sales and marketing skills. After college, he landed a full-time job at the Sales Department of ABS-CBN. “I learned so much from all those conversations and meetings where my dad and I attend.” By osmosis, Vincent knew the tools of the trade early on which gave him the capacity to navigate the highly competitive world of sales. With solid years of doing sales under his belt, Vincent joined his father in Radio Veritas that will further shape his capabilities in surpassing sales figures.
Inspired by his formative years in sales, Vincent soon started his own event management company. The transition came smoothly given his exposure to a wide-range of clients and suppliers of varying background in the world of sales. Vincent’s event management repertoire is expected to add capacity and equity to AD FINITY, a strategic expansion that will cater to the below-the-line arm of AD FINITY for its activation services.
Begin from the bottom-up- Voltaire
Similar to Vincent, Voltaire got his first taste of advertising from doing events with big wig clients such as Nestle and Bear Brand. He built his career as an Events accounts executive for Nestea doing activations all around the country. “I was part of Publicis Spark where I handled below the line events for Nestle Iced tea. Nagtitimpla ako ng Iced tea, then pinapatakbo ako sa Tagaytay, Baguio. I was also part of the group that managed Bear Brand Kite Fest, where I was working Monday to Sunday, so nahasa talaga ako na hindi pwedeng office lang,” Voltaire shares.
At a young age, he with his team were up and running all over the Philippines making sure that each event is executed flawlessly. “It was my Tatay who suggested that I should apply somewhere and really get the experience literally from the ground-up”. After a successful career in Publicis ,eventually destiny paved his way to sales . Voltaire joined Trackworks, a Media supplier that deals with Metro-rail Transit (MRT) advertising. It was there that Voltaire honed his eye for media placements and expanding business opportunities. After Trackworks, an opportunity opened up for the Colonel to handle LRT Advertising. “Tatay asked for my opinion regarding the business and the rest as they say is history.”
“Everything fell into its proper place!” Voltaire reminisces with glee. An introspection of sorts, a momentary experience that made him say, “Kaya pala! Hindi ko akalain na all along, I was being prepared to take on the reins of being the President of AD FINITY, you can only connect life events, as Steve Jobs would say, backwards. And compared to others who had their positions and privileges on a silver platter, mine has to be earned,” Voltaire added. Earned and not given sums up Voltaire’s journey, an adventure that equipped him with the breadth and depth to oversee their growing empire. Having an unparalleled portfolio, proves that Voltaire is ready to take his family’s venture to a whole new altitude. That when face with insurmountable challenges, his armor is his wealth of experience acquired from decades of industry-experience and a sword crafted by the swordsmith of their family that taught him nothing is impossible. “Admittedly, I have a very comprehensive immersion in this business, but it was Tatay, who served as the catalyst who shaped my core to the person I am today!,” Voltaire said.
Forging Partnerships and Synergy
As the four children align under the tutelage of their father, MPAS has gradually become one of the fastest-rising media marketing company in the country—a credit that belongs largely to their family’s patriarch. On top of their father’s unique eye for creativity and a great knowledge of strategy, what made MPAS thrived under the test of cut-throat competition was their father’s invaluable network of business clients who became lifelong friends, peers, and extended families. “When Tatay started the company, what really gave it a boost was the vastness of his network that he has built throughout his career from the military to his heydays in the advertising industry,” Vanessa adds. Victor recalled how his dad always set the bar high that made him a pioneering force in the industry, “Tatay always had the vision, he is very business savvy and knew from the very onset what opportunities he can tap and what available network and resources he can leverage on”. Vincent believed that their Father’s foresight positioned MPAS and later on, AD FINITY to become one of the trailblazers in the industry as a one-stop shop venture, “Knowing the demand of the industry and various opportunities it presents, we transformed to become the ultimate go to partner that offers creatives, strategy, production, and placement”.
Today, the four siblings are holding the key to the next big step in the field of advertising. As a testament to their ever-growing metamorphosis, AD FINITY enters a joint-partnership with Eleven Eleven Entertainment Inc, and Group of Five Creative Concepts Inc, industry leaders that specialize in advanced marketing platforms. Their partnership will pioneer the use of top of the line technologies which will definitely bring brand messages to life. This bold move will dare to push the boundaries of media placements, ushering in a new experience on how consumers and the public interact with brands This could be realized by harnessing the power of partnerships and collaboration.
With this synergy, AD FINITY will also dive more into Social Media Campaigns and Digital Content Creation that will amplify further the exposure milieu of their clients and brands. “Content marketing has become the hallmark of brand positioning or management, target markets have become very wise on the type of content they are exposed to. Alam na nila if they are just being bombarded with ads, so the challenge is to build and cultivate a deeper relationship with them, hence, content is the priority,” Vincent said.
A Legacy that pays forward
Home is where the heart is indeed but in this case, home is not only the heart but also the mind and soul of each of the siblings. In retrospect, they felt that all along, life is preparing them to build and eventually uphold the legacy of their father. A legacy not just of excellence, but a legacy that pays forward—a life that continues to give inspiration to many. “Like we said, Tatay was a people-loving person, not only was he successful in his chosen career, he knows how to give back and pay it forward, Victor shares. “Christmas is fast approaching, the season that best reminds us of him, he made sure na kahit maliit o malaki man ang earnings sa negosyo, we always mount a Christmas giving party for the needy children of our local communities here in Fairview,” Vanessa says. “It is the same value of giving that we want to carry on whether in our charity or mentoring our employees, especially with the new breed of marketing professionals under our wings, the value of kindness, the generosity of sharing what you have to others whether its material or immaterial things.” Voltaire adds.
As the four siblings look forward to the next era with new-found inspiration and deep determination culled from their father’s journey, they are thrilled to roll up their sleeves and up the ante of their game. Great things and possibilities are looking up especially when it comes to new collaborations and partnerships that all of them will bring into the industry. Having the same blueprint of innovation and creativity like their father, all four are very much aware that they have only just started to scratch the surface. And they look forward to the incredible breakthroughs their four minds together with their new team will bring to the fore.
Trends and hypes come and go, yet the legacy of the Colonel left an indelible mark in each and one of them, whom whether by serendipity or strategy were honed to take on the reins of a very important goal of humanity—to create, to give and to share.