MANILA – For far too long, Filipinos have been called wasteful and unappreciative of the natural resources so readily available to us. Some of the clearest examples of these can be seen in the lakes, rivers, and tributaries particularly within Metro Manila. Rivers such as the Pasig River, once beautiful and clear, have become filthy and disgusting as people casually throw their waste without a care into the waters.
It was this issue that TBWA\Santiago Mangada Puno and ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation sought to address when they came up with the now-famous ‘Dirty Watercolor’ campaign. After reaping awards both locally and internationally since its release, ‘Dirty Watercolor’ was recently named winner of the prestigious Lucille Tenazas Design Excellence Award at the adobo Design Awards Asia 2017 as well as a Wood Pencil for Public Service Press Advertising at the D&AD Awards 2017.
Named in honor of Tenazas, the Henry Wolf Professor of Communication Design at Parsons School of Design in New York where she is currently the Associate Dean in the School of Art, Media and Technology, the Lucille Tenazas Design Excellence Award is one of the singular honors annually given at the aDAA. Her emphasis is on the intersection of design, craft and technology, working on hybrid and cross-platform ways of communication design practice.
In selecting ‘Dirty Watercolor’ as this year’s recipient, Tenazas notes, “This unusual campaign brings into focus the disastrous state of Metro Manila’s waterways which were declared biologically dead by scientists at the Philippine International Rivers Summit held in 2012. Successive years of crumbling infrastructure, unchecked abuse through pollution, waste and contaminants point to the neglect that have allowed these conditions to fester.”
“The Dirty Watercolor Project created by TBWA/Santiago Mangada Puno uses the creativity of a group of artists to highlight the pressing environmental issue of these polluted waterways,” Tenazas points out. “By using pigments derived from the “dirty” rivers, artists have created works of art and elevated them to an aesthetic status worthy of exhibition at one of the galleries in Manila. The depiction of ordinary life in these waters— children bathing, men fishing, and passenger boats plying their routes belies the toxic environment that is somehow irrelevant to the inhabitants used to going about their daily routine.”
She goes on to say that, “This is a great example of art and politics—by fusing a critical environmental issue with a campaign to generate social action, the designers have successfully given a voice to those who do not have the power to call attention to their plight. Through targeted approaches, changing attitudes and education programs, these sites have been slowly transformed into habitable places where people can safely live.”
In addition to these honors reaped by ‘Dirty Watercolor,’ another campaign by TBWA\Santiago Mangada Puno, namely ‘Correcting History,’ also won a Wood Pencil at the D&AD Awards 2017. Recognized under the Public Affairs Campaign category, ‘Correcting History’ was a collaboration between the agency and the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacanang (CARMMA), an NGO dedicated to raising awareness on the corruption and human rights abuses of the Marcos administration.
The premise behind this campaign was to bring millennials who were otherwise unaware about the many human rights abuses, illegal detention, torture, and other such crimes that the Marcos regime caused during Martial Law. These same crimes have largely been swept under the rug or outright omitted from current history books.
This win by ‘Correcting History’ comes on the heels of it being given the Lotus Roots honor at ADFEST 2017 this past March in Pattaya, Thailand.
TBWA\Santiago Mangada Puno was the only Philippine-based agency to win Pencils at this year’s D&AD Awards.
Click here to read about ‘Correcting History’ winning the Lotus Roots honor at ADFEST 2017.