“I was the crazy one,”Bryan Siy said, fresh from the high of being inducted to the Creative Guild of the Philippines’ Hall of Fame at the Ballroom of the Makati Shangri-la. The Hall of Fame induction, a landmark in any adman’s career, is the latest addition to Siy’s impressive accolades.
“My CV came with a warning. Hire at your own risk,” the Executive Creative Director of TBWA\Santiago Mangada Punosaid in his speech that night, drawing a hearty laugh and nods of encouragement from the audience, each member of which was no stranger to Siy’s work.
Being the man behind campaigns that have disrupted the world, the latest one being Disgusting Stories, Siy’s turn to join his mentors at the Hall of Fame, indeed, has come.
To be inducted, a nominee needs five golds/Ad of the Year Awards from a local show and three Golds from International shows
And Siy’s record proved he lavished passion and talent on every project he took on. In 2003, he won his first Creative Guild Award’s Ad of the Year for Fita Diwata.
“Since I joined TBWA in 2006, I was fortunate to have worked on projects that were recognized by Kidlat Awards with Golds like Recycle Bag for TBWA Network in 2009, Boysen Flowers Campaign in 2010, CARMMA’s, Archimedes Trajano Film in 2017, ABS CBN Foundation’s Children Stories, Print Campaign and J&J Life Under the Bridge Film in 2018.
“Internationally, my projects for Bahay Tuluyan’s Disgusting stories also won Golds from Cannes Lions, Spikes, Adstars, AWARD Awards and Adfest for Disgusting Stories, for ABS CBN Foundation’s Dirty Water Color, a Gold Spike for Print Campaign and for CARMMA’s Archimedes Trajano Online Film, a Gold from Adstars.”
But most of his peers would argue that these metals are not the fundamental reason why he got inducted. For someone who “never seemed to fit in,” and “was a troublemaker,” Siy was the one who wanted to change the world; and fortunately, he found the right mentors who accepted him and encourage him to fight for ideas and nurture his beautiful mind.
And these mentors, the likes of Raul Castro, Raoul Panes, Merlee Jayme, Chris Belardo and Melvin Mangada, testified to Siy’s passion and how he puts his heart into his craft.
“He’s not the usual fellow so once you meet him and get to work with him, you’ll remember,”McCann Worldgroup Philippines’ Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Raul Castro talks of Siy.
However, Siy’s journey was not laid out on a yellow brick road. He graduated with a chemistry degree, intending to pursue a career in medicine. His literary inclinations paved for a scholarship in the university. He was the editor-in-chief of their school paper, The Malate Literary Folio and that was how his interest in storytelling emerged.
“There was a moment in my career, a Creative Director in one agency believed I was a good writer but not for advertising.” To this day, those words keep Siy’s feet firmly planted on the ground. “That really impacted me negatively and every year, it was an effort to prove to myself that whether I belong in advertising or not.”
Fresh after his pre-med degree, his batch mate in UP National Writers Scholarship Jun Lana introduced him to the world of advertising. His first boss was Chris Belardo of Dentsu, Young & Rubicam, who hired him on the spot under one condition: be unusual.
“Like any young creative, I only wanted to distinguish myself, to be recognized by my peers. But I never seemed to fit in. I wasn’t exactly the usual creative. It took me quite a while to accept this,” he mused.
Fast-forward to twenty years later, Siy still feels the same way, with only one difference: finally, he feels accepted.
Having found his place in the industry, Siy still wants to give back to the industry that has been good to him. His passion is not only for himself but extends to young talents he train; he is the current dean of TBWA\cademy with over 180 graduates now working in agencies or design shops.
“With this honor, comes great responsibility. I will strive harder to do the kind of work that honors all my mentors who patiently taught me to become the copywriter that I am.“
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