MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Eugene Demata passed away on June 9 at the age of 51, due to complications resulting from a stroke he suffered on Sunday. He was a loving son, brother, friend, and colleague, an influential voice in the creative industry. At the time of his passing, Eugene was the CCO of Grey Manila.
“It’s a sad day for us all here at Grey,” said John Lucas, CEO of Grey Manila. “We lost a dear brother, a wonderful mentor, and a talented creative today. Eugene will be greatly missed by all those that knew him, please remember him in your thoughts and prayers.”
Many others in the industry continue to mourn Demata’s passing.
The 4As from the Philippines said: “We grieve with the industry the sudden passing of our colleague, Eugene Demata, who passed away peacefully this morning. Eugene had a track record of more than two decades in creative excellence and leadership. He was one of the most prominent Filipino creatives with expertise on above the line and digital platforms.”
Ali Shabaz, CCO of Leo Burnett Indonesia said: “I can’t find the words… he was a colleague and a damn nice guy. I’ve had the joy of trading ideas with him and listening to his feedback on my work. He has always been encouraging and his builds have improved the ideas immensely. He had a gift of saying a lot with very few words. I really admired his individuality. His work was always nothing like I had seen before. Quiet and humble, he was a gem. It’s a sad day. Will miss you Eugene.”
Jojo Jacob, founder and CCO of BlkJ said: “I forget the year, I think it was at AdFest, but I remember when I first met Eugene. A smallish, soft-spoken man walked up to me, offered me a beer, and asked me about my strategy to win awards. And I remember holding forth rather pompously on having great agency and client partners, creating a culture, keeping teams hungry; the usual prattle that all ECDs are full of. Eugene listened attentively, interrupted me not once, hung out with me, and forgot to mention that he had just won a Cannes Lions Grand Prix. Thank you, Eugene. You made us all look good.”
Tanke Tankeko, a longtime friend and co-creative shared on Facebook: “It gives me so much feels when people from the industry honor his brilliance for he is all that he is praised for as an ad man.[Eugene] earned all of that over time by consistently working hard while staying true and being authentic. He took punches from the bourgeoisie and the grammar Nazis along the way and I love how he flipped them all over. Celebrating your win over discrimination, I honor you Eugene by quoting one of the choruses you sing in the car on our way to work: ‘nothing even matter, nothing’s even matter, nothing even matters, anymore.’
I was egging him to join me in New York last year to take a break and celebrate gay pride with me. He loved the idea, but being the great son and dedicated worker that he is, passed it up to take care of his loved ones and business. ‘Next time na lang Tanks, planuhin natin,’ he said. I wish you would have had taken that time off with me, Eugene. You put everyone else ahead and above you so selflessly. He’s always been the rock of his family, taking care of everybody, and I admire him most for this.
We were flatmates for a little less than three years when we were just starting out in advertising and still figuring things out. Those were precious years. Eugene provided me comfort in my gay skin with his friendship, acceptance, and love when I was still unsure of acceptance. He helped me find me. That’s why he is and will always be family to me. I will miss you dearly. I already do.”
Marci Reyes, former ECD of Tequila Manila said on Facebook: “I met him first in 1992 when I started out in Ace Saatchi. I was a Copywriter and he was an Art Director. We were put together as a concept team under Mario Monteagudo. The other team was Randy Tiempo and. Edsel Tolentino. We called ourselves The Mario Brothers. My new partner and I couldn’t have been more opposite. I remember saying to myself ‘who is this little probinsiyano?’ But something about us clicked.
“We would constantly challenge each other with every requirement. He would slip a piece of paper towards me and I would see a scribble. ‘Lagyan mo na lang ng headline yan,’ he would say. To get back at him I would give him a headline and say ‘o eto gawan mo ng visual.’ In a funny way I think this made us better. We took on big accounts like Jollibee, Red Horse, Petron and Toyota. We worked so well together that the 90 work orders a week didn’t seem daunting. We went our own ways after about 9 years and he rose to be one of the best creatives in the industry. We remained good friends. We, fortunately, got the chance to work again on the Smart account for Grey Manila. It was as if we were never apart.
Now he is gone but he will always be a big part of my advertising life. I love you Euge and you mean more to me than I bothered to let you know. I will never forget you.
Rest In Peace, little probinsiyano.”
According to Grey Manila, Demata (Euge, as he was fondly known) was born on January 8, 1969. He received his degree in Fine Arts from the prestigious University of the Philippines.
Before Campaigns & Grey, he was the executive creative director of Tribal Worldwide Philippines and DM9JaymeSyfu, DIGIT, and the creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi Manila.
Demata was one of the few successful Filipino “hybrid” creatives with expertise on both above the line (ATL) and digital platforms. In 2011, he got The Hall of Fame award from The Creative Guild of the Philippines. He was also ranked #1 Executive Creative Director in the Philippines according to The Big Won 2014 creative ranking and constantly included in the Hottest Creatives in Asia ranking by Campaign Brief Asia.
Demata was instrumental in driving DM9JaymeSyfu to becoming the “Most Creative Agency in the Philippines” in just 4 years of its operation as ranked by Campaign Brief Asia. The agency recently got a back-to-back win as Campaign Asia’s Agency of the Year for 2012 and 2013.
He won an impressive number of awards already from different regional and international shows including Philippines’ first-ever Cannes Grand Prix and first-ever D&AD Yellow Pencil for Smart TXTBKS campaign aside from numerous Grand Prix, Best of Show, Grand Prize, Gold, Silver, and Bronze from Clio, New York Festivals, London International Awards, One Show, ANDY Awards, AWARD, Epica, Adstars, The Work, Webby Awards, Digital Asia Festivals, AME, AMES and acceptances from Luerzers Archive, Communication Arts and The WORK.
Demata has judged in different Philippine advertising competitions and international competitions including Adfest, Spikes, New York Festivals, ADSTARS, and Digital Asia Festivals.
Demata had more than 20 years of proven creative excellence and leadership. He worked across some of the world’s biggest brands, including Nestle, Procter & Gamble, McDonald’s, Del Monte, Schering & Plough, Toyota, Mead Johnson, Johnson & Johnson, Fonterra, Samsung and other local major brands like Jollibee, Smart, PLDT, Ayala, and San Miguel.
Demata is survived by his father Justino, mother Marta, and siblings Elenita and Gloria.
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