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People: The Ad Industry and the Nation Mourns on the Passing of Legendary Adman Ramon Jimenez, Jr.

“A man who tells lies has it easy and is NOT creative – the man who tells the truth doesn’t have it easy, but that’s where creativity lives.” – Ramon Jimenez, jr.

“The industry has lost a legend, a lifetime achiever, a creative genius behind groundbreaking advertising. A patriot and a seeker of the truth,” said Angel Guerrero, Founder, President, and Editor-in-Chief of adobo magazine, on the news of the passing of former Tourism Secretary, Ramon Jimenez Jr. An ad industry giant and creative leader who passed away on April 26, 2020, aged 64.

Mon J, as he was fondly known, is was born out of the Mad Men era, and led one of the country’s largest and most successful Filipino advertising agencies with his wife Abby Jimenez (who passed away in 2016), and credited with the rise of brands including Jollibee, Selecta Ice Cream, Safeguard Soap, San Miguel Beer, Cebu Pacific, and Ivory Soap. More as recently the former Secretary of the Department of Tourism behind the award-winning and hugely successful It’s More Fun in the Philippines campaign.


In 2011, Jimenez took on the challenge of serving as Secretary of Tourism upon the appointment of President Benigno Aquino III. Under Mon’s leadership at the DOT, the Philippines improved its ranking in the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum, jumping from 94 in 2011 to 74 in 2015. The campaign won the WARC Asian Strategy Grand Prix, the Kidlat Awards Grand Prix, among other citations.

The Department of Tourism (DOT), through a statement from current Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, extended their condolences to the bereaved loved ones of former Tourism Secretary Ramon “Mon” Jimenez, Jr., and also paid tribute to Jimenez’s immeasurable contributions to the tourism industry, the said successful slogan, and the “DOT policies that helped shape the National Tourism Development Program (NTDP) for 2016-2022.”

Today, we mourn the loss of Mon Jimenez but we will be forever grateful to him for the growth of the tourism sector, and for promoting the Philippines as a place that is wonderful, joyous and fun,” she said.

Jimenez’s way of handling the country’s image is to allow the Filipino people to grab a hold of the brand and own it. The memes that Filipinos came up with to support the campaign barraged social networking sites resulting in a perfect display of the Filipino’s wit and creativity, “Tourism is the people’s business.” In 2011, he was endeared for saying that the Philippines is already a great product and that it should be easy to sell like Chickenjoy. The “It’s more fun in the Philippines” campaign, he added, is evaluated as a media campaign more so than an advertising campaign for allowing Filipinos, with the help of social media, grow its identity, reach and global appeal, making them “the biggest fan of [their] own country”

David Guerrero, Creative Chairman of BBDO Guerrero for whom he had the privilege of creating the #itsmorefuninthephilippines campaign in 2011, shared that Mon J is, “A hero to many in our industry; a brilliant writer and agency leader – and a calm, insightful client who always put his country first,”

The “’It’s More Fun in the Philippines’ resonated everywhere because he knew the heart of the Filipino,” said Sen. Francis Pangilinan, adding that Jimenez loved and served his country well, in or out of government.

“Fresh from college, Mon J joined the agency when it was still Ace Compton, a “hippie” from U.P who slowly marveled everyone with his superpower – his ideation and copywriting that left clients leaving the room in awe. In Ace, he met the love of his life, Abby, as we know, their professional and marital tandem was unbeatable. The agency is in deep gratitude to Mon J.’s legacy to the industry and to the country,” a message shared by Mio Chongson, President & COO of Ace Saatchi & Saatchi.

Mon J was a copywriter in what was then known as Ace Compton right after graduating from the University of the Philippines with a degree in Fine Arts, Major in Visual Communications. With wife Abby, they formed a start-up agency that began as Jimenez & Partners. From 1989 to 2008, Mon served as Chief Executive Officer and by 2011, the agency had become Publicis JimenezBasic.

In a 2006 interview with adobo magazine, “Freshness is the core of our business,” Mon said. “We don’t believe in working late. Working late is a sign of weakness.” Indeed, they did not encourage their staff to work overtime. As Mon would say, “We tell our people to live a life. It’s only advertising, not your life.” His wife, Abby, would concur: “Our creativity comes from our experiences. It’s what makes our work authentic.”

In an industry where overtime is the norm, creativity also of course played a big part, and was their underlying philosophy in business. “Creativity is the strategy that we use to build business, especially for our clients,” Mon shared. And, as Abby also shared, “It matters to us that our advertising works”.

After retiring from PJB in 2009, and leaving the agency in the capable hands of young successors Bebot Ngo and JR Ramos, Mon and Abby formed WOO Consultants “to continue doing ads for select clients and projects”, explained Lawrence Tan who was the Executive Business Director at WOO from 2009 to 2015. Don Sevilla, after 18 years as Executive Creative Director at PJB also joined WOO eventually, and still runs the consultancy today. They handle accounts like San Miguel, URC, and Nutriasia and they took pride in not pitching for accounts.

Mon was married to Abby Jimenez for over 25 years, until she passed away in 2016 at the age of 58. Not many know that Abby was the lyricist behind the popular classic Filipino song, “Umagang Kay Ganda”.

Secretary Mon Jimenez at the book launch of Advertising More Fun In The Philippines by Tony Harris in 2014


Matec Villanueva, former Senior Executive Officer at Publicis JimenezBasic, shared, “Mon J was a nationalist, a brilliant creative and strategist, a patient mentor, a far-seeing entrepreneur, a wonderful father, and an awesome husband. I think he left the way he wanted to go, quietly through the back door.”

Melvin Mangada, Managing Partner and Chief Creative Officer of multi-awarded ad agency TBWASantiago Mangada Puno had Mon J as his first boss when he joined Ace Saatchi & Saatchi fresh out of university. “I knew I was in a good place, seeing Jimenez’s elegant mind at work. His wicked sense of humor that made the workplace more fun.” They bonded over a love for music, theater, and most of all the art of persuasion.

Robert Labayan, Head Creative Communications Management at ABS-CBN, and former VP and Creative Director at Ace Saatchi & Saatchi for 14 years under Mon shared, “Mon taught me how to write award-winning copy, how to write songs, how to win to get the cooperation of account people, how to lead a creative team, and how to earn the respect of clients. I also dreamed of becoming a good presenter like he was.”

“After I heard the sad news I rewatched all the DOT ads we (BBDO Guerrero) created with Mon J. That’s when I realized I had to create a tribute film”, said Dale Lopez, Creative Strategist for Facebook Philippines and former ECD at BBDO Guerrero.


“This is so sad,” said Merlee Jayme, Chairmom and Chief Creative Officer of Dentsu JaymeSyfu. “Imagine, on this exact day last year was the day Mon J told everyone in our industry at the 4As CreativeFest that creativity rules because creativity works. May he rest in peace. He asked me once what kept me awake at night and “What have we done with our creative power?” While I’m still in my journey to achieve life-changing solutions, I salute Mon J for being a role model in effectively building brands and using his creative power in putting our country on the map through beauty, wit, and humor.”

At the 4As Creativefest 2019, Mon Jimenez left the room in awe and an even stronger desire to create as he delivered a powerful speech on the true purpose behind creativity, “A man who tells lies has it easy and is NOT creative – the man who tells the truth doesn’t have it easy, but that’s where creativity lives.”

John Miller, former Nestle SVP, Chairman and CEO Nestle Philippines, Thailand/Indochina, Africa at Nestle S.A., was among the notable luminaries paying tribute to Jimenez. “This is a terrible loss. He and his wife were outstanding leaders of advertising in the Philippines, he was a great secretary of tourism and a wonderfully warm human being. He was a valued friend. May he rest in peace.”

Mon leaves behind his daughters Nina and Sassa.

Jimenez’s oldest daughter, Nina Jimenez, shares the following statement on her father on April 26: “It is with profound sorrow that we confirm the passing of Ramon Jimenez Jr., ‘Mon J’ to his closest friends and colleagues. He died early this morning at his home (due to reasons unrelated to COVID-19). Mon J was a beloved husband, father, brother, friend, and public servant. He will be greatly missed.  We wish to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support for the family during this difficult time.”

Video by John Amon

The 4As of the Philippines, the ad industry governing association remarked, “We join the country in mourning the passing of our esteemed colleague, mentor, and industry institution, former DOT Secretary Mon Jimenez. Hugely celebrated for his brilliance, kindness & good heart. Mon J will be remembered for championing the creative talent of all Filipinos.”

Dr. Jerry Kliatchko, Dean of the Integrated Marketing Communications Program at the University of Asia and the Pacific and Director of the Asia-Pacific Tambuli Awards shares his own tribute to Jimenez, a founding member of the Asia-Pacific Tambuli Awards Advisory Board. “A huge loss to humanity. Genuinely good person. Upright individual. A man of great integrity. Kind. Humane. Brilliant. Honorable. Highly esteemed. Greatly respected. First-rate professional. Ad legend. Fiercely creative. Thank you, Mon, for your exceptional service to the country and to the marketing communications industry. May his soul rest in peace!” Kliatchko says.

Mon J was a Creative Guild Lifetime Achievement Awardee in 2006 and Chaired the Agency of the Year Awards in 2007, awarded the Asia Pacific Tambuli Effectiveness Advertiser of the Year Award in 2015, the Agora Honorary Award in 2015, and the 2017 Asia-Pacific Tambuli Lifetime Achievement Award.

Thank you, Mon J. for everything. For the legacy of creative excellence and leadership to inspire and guide the Philippine advertising industry, and the country as a whole.

Dequadin, Radio Ad of the Year, 1989. Jimenez&Partners

Print ad for IVORY SOAP, 1986 Print Ad of the Year, Ace-Saatchi & Saatchi

Astra Thread, Print of the Year, 1983. “The Creative Guild’s very first Print Ad of the Year in 1983 “Superman” was a fitting testament to the sheer power of the image. It would also be the first among the eight winning ads coming from an apparent hotbed of print advertising excellence, Ace/Saatchi & Saatchi, then known as Ace-Compton.”

Special thanks to Alex De Rosario Castro for providing copies of the ads


May you rest in peace.


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