MANILA – The first adobo Festival of Ideas drew a jampacked crowd last November 22 as students and young creatives flocked to the Samsung Hall at SM Aura to hear from some of the local ad industry’s most creative minds.
Starting early in the morning, the talks were opened by Coca-Cola marketing director and McCann Worldgroup Philippines chairman and CEO Raul Castro, who talked about advertising and marketing happiness by giving client and creative perspectives on some of Coca-Cola’s most successful campaigns.
“A story well-told is more powerful than fact,” said Vinculado, giving way to Castro’s example of the viral ‘OFW project’ campaign which McCann created for Coke in 2011.
“For the Filipino, where should happiness strike next? For us in McCann, it should strike wherever a Filipino is alone,” Castro explained. “We’re a culture where it’s not okay to be alone.”
The pair also shared the recent Coke ‘Thank You’ ad, which was a local interpretation of the global ‘Share a Coke’ campaign. As Vinculado shared, the ad has been included in the best practices of the campaign globally.
Vinculado and Castro were then followed by the energetic tandem of Publicis Manila CEO Matec Villanueva and filmmaker and former Publicis Manila president Marlon Rivera, whose talk on work-life balance tempered some harsh realities with reasons why the advertising industry is one worth staying in.
“You cannot have it all,” Rivera said, serving up on of the harshest truths on work-life balance. “That’s why you have to decide very quickly what you want.”
“You have to accept that you cannot all be stars,” he added.
However, they pair were quick to stress that there will always be a place for young people in the advertising industry.
“We need you, we need freshness,” Villanueva said.
Publicis JimenezBasic (PJB) associate creative directors Kulas Abrenilla and JP Cuison then talked about the life of a young creative, and shared their experiences representing the country at Cannes.
Abrenilla, who shared that he joined advertising because he was drawn to the parties, mused about the reach of a creative’s work.
“Can you imagine, the work that you do everyday influences how a lot of people think?” Abrenilla said.
“Advertising is here to help,” he added.
His sentiments were shared by Cuison, who, after sharing his journey through advertising, intially aiming to be an advertising rock star, realized that ultimately, his role as an adman is to help brands help people.
After lunch, the talks continued, this time with Fat Free founder Ompong Remigio, PJB executive creative director Brandie Tan, and AKQA Shanghai creative director Aste Gutierrez, who talked about copy, art, and coding respectively, in a world that is quickly turning digital.
“Digital is an age we are living in right now,” Gutierrez said. “It is bigger than advertising, it’s the fabric of our current reality.”
The trio was followed by Lowe Philippines chief creative officer Leigh Reyes and TBWA\SMP associate creative director John Ed de Vera, whose talk, ‘Make Things’ included a live demonstration of some of their art projects.
“There’s a lot to be said for thinking with your hands,” Reyes said, as she shared that making things is important in a world where one is separated from the execution of his ideas.
The pair showed how different tools can bring art projects to the next level by showing the audience how a painting done with conductive paint was able to produce sounds when pressed, much to the delight of the audience.
ABS-CBN chief digital officer Donald Lim then took the stage for a talk on digital pervasiveness, and how brands can leverage YouTube to engage their audience.
Lim introduced two YouTube sensations from the Philippines: Lloyd Cadena, and Kids’ Toys, who shared their experiences in making successful video content.
“YouTube, technically as a broadcaster they are our competitor, but we have made them our partner,” Lim said.
His talk was followed by Spotify Asia sales director Jon Nadiranto who, after giving away Spotify premium to lucky audience members, talked about the music app, how it changed the industry, and how brands have collaborated and continue to collaborate with it.
The last talk of the day featured BBDO Guerrero chief creative officer David Guerrero and DM9JaymeSyfu chief creative officer Merlee Jayme, who discussed the different battles a creative must face in a boxing match-inspired session.
“There’s always a battle, and without it, creativity would not exist,” Guerrero said as he talked about how one must battle their fear.
After sharing how he got fired three times in his career, Guerrero said: “the only way in the end that you’re going to feel safe is that you keep on doing great work.”
Another battle creatives must face is the battle against comfort zones.
“For battling your comfort zone, these are the words you have to avoid: ‘pwede na,’” Jayme said. “Kill it. Kill it fast.”
She explained the dangers of mediocre work, telling the audience: “Make your creative life difficult because there’s no room for mediocrity in the industry.”
The epic showdown ended the day on a high note, as the first Festival of Ideas closed with a networking party attended by delegates.