MANILA–adobo magazine gets up close and personal with Y&R Philippines Executive Creative Director Herbert Hernandez. He talks about what life is like for an ad man, rockstar and dad once the clock strikes six.
1. Can you tell us a story about how you started in advertising?
I started 14 years ago as a freelance graphic designer doing album covers for several bands. Then I was introduced to Robert Labayen, then ECD of JWT Manila. He hired me as a visualizer/designer, doing brochures and packaging designs, then after few months moved up to become an art director for bigger brands like Ford, Redhorse beer, Nestle, Pfizer, Shell, and Unilever.
In 3 years in that office, I’ve gone through several mentors that led me to my first award. I then moved to a newly formed DM9 JaymeSyfu. I was then fired up to win more metals in international awards shows for my accounts like Schering-Plough, Smart telecom, Mini, Department of Tourism and Gabriela. The passion also resulted in some big launches for local beer account Tanduay Ice. I was part of the team that led the agency to become Philippine’s Agency of the Year in the Campaign Brief rankings.
After 6 years, I moved to Y&R as CD. After a year and a half, I then got promoted to become one of the youngest ECDs handling Sun Cellular, Inbisco, CDO Foodsphere, North Face and more.
2. We heard that you are fond of talking to students. Do you teach formally or have plans to do so?
I enjoy inspiring the young ones. I don’t necessarily do formal teachings, but more of inspirational talks. I love sharing my stories and spreading good vibes that I learned from my mentors and my mother. I usually do universities and young creatives talks. Parang giving back lang sa industry na minahal ako.
3. As a member of two of the hottest rock bands in the country, do you see a link between being a rockstar and an ad man?
I’ve been playing professionally for 17 years as guitarist/composer for Moonstar88, an alternative pop band and for 6cyclemind, which is an alternative rock band. I’ve helped record 5 albums for both bands and tour the whole country with them.
I think advertising and music are quite different things. Advertising is mostly commissioned. It has an objective, specific marketing mandatories, etc. On the other hand, music is an art: purely expression.
The only connection I can see with how this kind of music can be linked to advertising is when pieces are used in campaigns, or vice versa.
4. What is Lakihan Mo Logo and how did this start?
Lakihan Mo Logo was originally conceptualised as a ‘commercial break’ for those slaving off to do commercials. It’s like musical outlet for bands in the advertising industry to also serve as a breather for others in the industry.
This kind of work-life balance has worked for me so well that even if I’ve been here for 12 years, I’m still as excited as a junior with every new briefing.
5. Then after Lakihan Mo Logo, there’s After6. Now what’s this about?
As an extension of Lakihan Mo Logo, we’ve also explored into the other kinds of stress relief advertising professionals enjoy. That’s why we’ve come up with After6. It’s an anti-burnout campaign to spark the other passions of admen. We have them share their inspiring stories their recreational passions through which they maintain a healthy work-life balance after their 9-6 jobs – their After6 lives.
6. Apart from being an ad man, a rockstar and an advocate of work-life balance, you are also a dad. Can you tell us about this side of Herbert Hernandez?
For me, my family is my most precious project. A project without deadlines, but with a continuous goal of being happy.
There can be room for mistakes. So, I let my children explore beyond their comfort zone – to take risks and to express themselves any way they want.
When people ask me how I manage my time between my job and my family, I always tell them that it’s not about time management, but rather about God’s management of your time.
When granted the time, I sometimes bring them to my work either in advertising or at a concert. I show them what I do when I’m not with them. My wife and I still still go out at least once a week. And we do things that interest us either museum hunting, food tripping and even occasional fun runs.
So when I get even just an hour with my family, I give my best effort to create moments they’ll never forget. Every night, I pray to ask for guidance to lead me where I should be.