Wednesday, July 5, 2017


by Roger Pe
July 6, 2017 issue
Business Mirror

Back in the early 90s, when Philippine advertising entered a new phase, and ads that were called “malinis” (produced with polish but not exactly compelling) were no longer potential award winners, ad agency people shelled out cash every payday. They made payments, handed out to Mrs. Salta, a businesswoman who peddled rare-to-find advertising creativity books.

Mrs. Salta became a fixture in the Philippine Madison Avenue firmament during that time. She made glossy, imported books affordable by offering “6-drops” or more, depending on one’s capacity to pay.

It was safe to say that most people who worked in an advertising agency knew Mrs. Salta. The security guards, receptionist, accountants, people in the creative department, including secretaries, the suits and, yes, even the industry chi-chi crowd knew of her.

She was completely the antithesis of the ambulant tocino ‘suki’ who visited Makati offices often. She dressed to the nines and did it with style. She had a bodyguard who always carried bags of them, and she had a shimmering white van parked somewhere near her place of business.

Creative department secretaries would suddenly sought her upon request of concept teams who were experiencing a drought of ideas. For those who had plenty of cash to spare and wanted tomes of them, she would gladly escort them to her splendid vehicle, to let them see her other stuff not available in any bookstore in the Philippines. 

Mrs. Salta became a buzzword so much so that she had a parody account in an advertising rant site, Café Creatives. Though people forgot her given name and remembered only her family name, she became more popular.

Her bestsellers were The Art Directors Annual (very thick, you could knock an unusually big rat out using it), The One Show (a copywriter’s dream), Epica (for those who wanted to poke their noses on what’s hot in Europe), and the Communication Arts series (they were the bomb and they made most Art Directors drool).

During the time of pagers, they were the creative‘gadgets’ to show off when advertising congresses opened. Though a little pricey, they were quickly gobbled up as soon as the security guard at the lobby hollered, “Mrs. Salta is in the building, show up or hide now!”

Mrs. Salta’s goods were in demand. Whether a few months delayed, or hot-off-the-press, they brought some kind of approval from industry colleagues. They made the guy next to your cubicle envy, a magnet to many, the cantankerous, introverts and other characters inhabiting the creative sanctuary. A copy on your table erased people’s initial impression of you, that you were not a run-of-the-mill hire and you had taste in your bones itching to surface. 

Some say, Mrs. Salta was advertising God’s gift to advertising. “When all you see were product freights and boring manufacturer’s copy lines, Mrs. Salta was an oasis in the middle of a creative desert. You call her and she brings in books, pronto. Her wares inspired many. Sadly, some creative people ended up with work sounding like ads (that Doc Martens ad was legendary) from the books she sold,” a former copywriter, now a top creative director says.

When the Internet got a little faster and and its derivative sites entered the scene, Mrs. Salta’s books faded into the night. They became remnants of the past and gathered dust on many shelves, along with the old trophies of the Ad Congress. She, too, gently exited out of the picture.

Inspirational books, annuals and youtube

Some of us have been in advertising long enough to see the many transformations that have happened in the industry. Though the digital divide may have rendered some people in the industry into dinosaurs, many have crossed over and felt like a digital native. 

Where innovation and change in the industry continue to alter our landscape, one thing remained constant. Agency oldtimers, even the millennial generation, were taught to value creativity and honor, disdain from copying one’s work, confuse the public and mislead the consumer. 

There would be interesting debates. Occasionally, one would stumble into them on social media. Some would invoke the often quoted line, “great men think alike”, “there is no originality in this age anymore”, “it’s just plain coincidence” and all those stuff.

Some believed in the spin that people have put into that, “copying is innovation.” In the book “Borrowing Brilliance” by David Kord Murry, the author revealed: “Brilliance is borrowed, and that in order to create, first, you have to copy.” 

Don’t raise your eyebrows.

Many famous men were accused of ripping other people’s work like Newton, Shakespeare, Helen Keller, J.K. Rowling, T.S. Eliott, Jane Godall, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, the Google guys, to name a few. According to Murry, their ideas were constructed from borrowed ideas. Newton admitted his guilt that to “see farther, he had to stand on the shoulders of giants and build on the ideas of others.” 

But creativity for brands is a valuable asset. Though philosophers have time and again, argued that “ideas give birth to other ideas”, one is tempted to ask: “Does that give license to one to copy someone else’s work?”

The term Renaissance during the 14th century means creative explosion. Artists, during the earlier part of this wonderful period, were obligated to improve the original, give a rebirth of some sort to the stale status quo. Innovation, enhancements and collaboration efforts in which one idea was copied were the rule of the day. Copying was understood and expected.

But soon after, the free market economy began to develop and artists who valued their work began to break away from their patrons and sold their artwork independently. Michaelangelo and Da Vinci signed their masterpieces against copycats and frauds. Copying and plagiarism were now condemned.

Furthermore, Murry explained” “We are forced to conceal or disguise the source of our ideas for fear of social or legal retribution. No one wants to admit for fear of being labeled as plagiarist or idea thief.”

Today, whether one is an industry old-timer or barely new in advertising, one can see a virtual rip-off, tweaked, rehashed, recycled or derived from another idea within the universe that he or she moves - because of the Internet where one can do research fast, the task is a lot easier. 

In an industry that honors creativity and originality, you know the feeling of being uncomfortable, much more dismayed, at the sight of an ad with uncanny similarities to the one that you once encountered. 

Déjà vu

We recently had a spate of familiar ads and they created quite a buzz. Here are some of the most talked-about over the last twelve months:

Vodafone TV Commercial, 2014. Touching and emotional, this one, from Jung von Matt advertising agency Germany, manages to be moving without being mushy. A young girl crosses items off her grandfather’s bucket list and, through the magic of her gadget, takes him along to her many travel adventures. The bucket list “crossing out” scene is the highlight of the ad as it is repeated often as the commercial progresses. 

Smart TV Commercial, 2017: Except for the change of characters and setting, the story is virtually the same. The granddaughter now becomes a young man. The elderly man becomes an elderly woman. The opening shot (guy on top of a hill and “crossing out” scene in particular are very noticeable.

Digital Media UK, Corporate Brand Identity, 2014: Triangular in shape, color elements of the logo are in bright primary and secondary colors.

PLDT Logo, 2016: Almost the exact replica of the former.

McDonald's TV Commercial, 2007: This tv commercial produced in 2007 is echoed in a Jollibee tv spot a decade later. The ad uses a famous Eraserhead song ("Ang Huling El Bimbo) as soundtrack, and opens with a narrative of a man who remembers his childhood sweetheart. “Tuwing pupunta ako dito, naaalaala ko ang lahat,” he says with a lambent voice. He tells us how he met her and eating out together with their moms. The commercial ends with a sad note through passage of time to the present. The girl is now married and introduces him to her husband. A voice wafts in the air with “At kahit hindi kami naging sa huli, s’ya pa rin ang first love ko.”

JollibeeTV Commercial, 2017: The ad opens with a title “Inspired by a true story” and a hashtag (that it is a brand series). It then takes us to a wedding scene where a man starts to reminisce how he met the girl in a fastfood store. From his narrative, the audience is made to believe that the man and the girl will say “I do” in a few minutes. We are told that he vowed to make her laugh, always be there whenever she needed him, never change and make her the happiest girl. But the storytelling trick and punchline, “Kahit hindi naging tayo” break our hearts. The girl is marrying another man.

The DOT "Sights" tv commercial and a South African Tourism ad heve a central figure that caused a maelstrom nationwide, Asian adlandia, and even landed on the pages of Advertising Age and Adweek New York. The bone of contention was the use of a blind man throughout the material. The controversy is perhaps, tIn biggest in local advertising industry, eclipsing the scandal spawnd by "Nakatikim Ka Na Ba Ng Kinse Anyos?". In the ensuing events, DOT fired McCann WorldGroup Philippines, the ad agency, for the similarity.

Where’s the line between copying and coincidence in similar creative ideas? We interview advertising copywriter Dan Goldgeier, a provocative advertising and marketing columnist for based in Seattle, Washington and here’s what he said

Do you believe what some people say that nothing is original in this world anymore?

Goldgeier: “That's a pretty complicated question. I think people can take parts of other ideas and synthesize them into something original. But in advertising, as you know, of course, we work in familiar formulas: Story, layouts, headline formulas, visual techniques, etc, so it feels like there's little original happening.”

Goldgeier also granted us permission to reprint his article on the subject in full:

“Recently, some ad veterans were noticing, and lamenting, the similarities between this Nike ad (1995) and Kaiser Permanente ad that ran during the summer Olympics.

Yes, the two commercials have much in common. And the Kaiser ad is many degrees inferior to the Nike spot.

For those of you who weren’t in this business 20 years ago, it’s hard to overstate how admired, lauded, and inspirational the Nike “If You Let Me Play” ad was. Not just to its intended audience, but to the ad industry as a whole. It’s one of the ads that made me want to get into the business and attempt to do that caliber of work.

So for advertising people of a certain generation, alarm bells went off when watching the Kaiser spot. Was it a blatant rip-off, a heartfelt homage or mere coincidence?

I don’t claim to know how this happened. But I’ve been in advertising long enough to know that ad ideas often share attributes with work that’s been previously done.

I’m not interested in assigning blame here. I’m much more interested in the nuances of the decision-making process involved, because it’s a window into the current state of creativity in advertising and marketing.

Did somebody know about the similarities in the KP spot before it got filmed? By “somebody” I mean anyone, including the creative team, their Creative Directors, AE’s, agency management, producers, directors, and all the associated layers of client marketers.

There are only three basic scenarios to explain what happened:

1) Somebody knew there was a similarity and didn’t speak up.

It’s a TV spot running during the Olympics. There’s a lot at stake for all involved. “Let’s hope no one really notices” is a quiet thought in the minds of many ad professionals when they’re pursuing an idea that could backfire.

Someone could’ve also noticed similarities a little further down the timeline — after concepts were approved, budgets were determined, and the production hairball began rolling down the mountain. Is it better to remain silent than be the voice that derails a major project? You try putting on the brakes with millions of dollars involved. It’s not easy.

2) Somebody knew there was a similarity and did, in vain, speak up.
“You know, that idea kind of reminds me of…” I’ve heard that a bunch. I’ve said it sometimes, too. That kind of reservation can fall on deaf ears. Perhaps a less forceful team member who voiced objections was slapped down and told to shut up. Don’t underestimate the collective power of a bunch of people in a conference room to justify bad decisions or pretend the elephant in the room doesn’t really exist.

And don’t underestimate the power of a C-level client executive to say, “You know, I’d love to do a spot like this one,” as he or she sends YouTube links out to underlings and the agency. For client-side marketers, their careers go merrily on even when encouraging or approving derivative advertising.

Faced with a similar situation, many people in our business, according to Goldgeier, would state out loud that they don’t care if a proposed ad resembled an older one. Think of how it easily it could be justified: A change in target audience, or product category, could be enough differentiation in their eyes. It’s no wonder our industry’s code of ethics would fit on a Post-it note.

3) Nobody knew there was a similarity.

Were the entire team of agency and client folks working on the KP ad simply unaware of the Nike spot? It might sound far-fetched, but yes, it’s possible.

I’ve taught aspiring copywriters who knew next to nothing about the ad industry and its history. Hell, they didn’t even watch “Mad Men.” And don’t assume that junior creatives have ever perused the dusty copies of CA and One Show annuals that line the bookshelves in the remote corners of agencies.

Plus, our digital world has left old-school advertising uncataloged. While YouTube is a good repository of many old commercials, there’s no organization to it.  And good luck trying to find hi-res images of old print ads the ad world used to celebrate.

Many people currently working in advertising and marketing simply don’t bother to learn about anything that was produced even a few years ago. If they do learn, the old work isn’t considered so sacrosanct that it couldn’t be copied in some regard.

And there are, of course, degrees of rip-off: A copy line, unique visual, commercial plot, app idea, or just a style, film technique, or strategy. Some people merely look at ads from today and no matter how small the detail, it reminds them of some ad long forgotten by much of the world. This doesn’t just happen in advertising. All art forms have this type of conflict. Just ask Chuck Berry.

We’re also in an era in which many new marketing firms have popped up — content marketing firms, consultancies, digital and social media companies, etc. — whose leaders regularly disdain the very idea of “advertising” and declare that it’s dead. For them, even a vaunted Nike ad isn’t a sacred cow.

So what happens now with this particular Kaiser Permanente spot? A whole lot of nothing, that’s what. Other than the kangaroo court of judgy advertising insiders, there is no real punishment for ripping off someone else’s advertising unless there’s a legitimate copyright issue. And those are rare.

Unfortunately, there will never be a consensus as to what’s a rip-off or what’s fair game for appropriation. Crying foul will only generate crocodile tears. So we’ll continue to see new work that feels familiar or derivative, even if it means producing a commercialhat recalls a great Nike spot. Because some people just get away with it, when they just do it.”

Saturday, July 1, 2017


by Roger Pe
Business Mirror
July 1, 2017 issue

Coffee, tea or … chances are, you’ll choose the first.
You probably know the reason. Centuries of Spanish colonization introduced us to ‘tsokolate eh’ and ‘tsokolate ah’. Decades of American rule made us love coffee, espresso, decaf, americano, instant and other ways of preparing it. We relegated tea as medicine and for its other curative powers. Some even have a condescending thing about it. So it never prospered.
But did you know that two billion people around the world drink tea every morning? Here are more facts and they are startling: 
3 billion tons of leaves of tea are produced around the world for global consumption. The US imports 519 million pounds of tea every year and 1.42 million pounds of tea are consumed by Americans every single day. Turkey leads the world in tea consumption per person, (7 pounds of tea every year) roughly about 1,400 tea servings. 
Tea is also largely known as an anti-oxidant, elixir for healthy skin, slimming and can help fight colon cancer. 

According to global tea export index as of 2016, China is by far, the world’s largest consumer of tea, at 1.6 billion pounds a year. 
Kenya remains the global export leader with a 25% share of exports (mainly black tea). China is second with 18% (mainly green tea). Sri Lanka is in third place at 17%, with India at 13% and Vietnam at 7%. Argentina rounds out the top 5 with 4%. Indonesia continues to slide at 3% as tea growers in the country are switching to other cash crops, primarily palm oil.

For thousand years, Chinese people have consumed tea and drinking the beverage has become synonymous to its culture. As written in history books, drinking tea began during the time of Han Dynasty emperors in 2nd century BC. 
Recent findings conclude that tea originated in southwest China and an early credible record of tea drinking dates back to the 3rd century AD. 
Tea was then introduced to Portuguese priests and merchants in China during the 16th century. It then became popular in Great Britain in the 17th century. The British then introduced tea production, as well as tea consumption to India, in order to arrest China’s domination of the world’s tea market.

How it all began

In 2737 AD, legendary Chinese Emperor Shennong ordered his subjects to boil water before drinking it to help contain an epidemic. He was said to be drinking a bowl of boiled water one day when leaves from a nearby tree got blown into his water, changing its color. 
He took a sip of the brew and was delighted by its flavor and restorative effects. He subsequently tested medical properties of various herbs, some of them poisonous, and found the tea to have worked quite well.
A similar Chinese legend goes that Emperor Shennong and other gods of agriculture would chew the leaves, stems, and roots of various plants to discover medicinal herbs. If they consumed a poisonous plant, they would chew leaves of tea to counteract the poison.

Anxi, China’s Tea Capital

Though I have been to China (only by a stopover in Guangzhou airport), I have never seen the real beauty of the mainland. Fast forward after ten years, I finally set foot on one of its most beautiful cities, where I was to meet my brother whom I have never seen in my entire life. 
It was serendipity that brought me to Anxi, a small city in Fujian province, famous for its world class Tieguanyin tea. A nephew’s colleague in the civil government is also one of the city’s most recognized Tea Masters, Chen Liang Gu, who himself cultivates a vast tea plantation and exports high-grade tea to the world.

Anxi’s fame stretches throughout China, as well as around the world. Because of its high altitude geography, incredibly rich soil, moderate sub-tropical climate and plentiful rainfall, it is perfect for growing the best tea in China. 
“Long before India and Sri Lanka started growing tea, the Emperors of China were already enjoying it for centuries,” Chen told me through an interpreter. 
I came to know Chen when my nephew brought me to his tea saloon where he showed us how to prepare and serve tea, reminiscent of the emperor days. The drinking ceremony lasted cup after cup after cup, a cordial ritual with plenty of smiles, stories and handshakes after. 
Before calling it a day, Chen told us to get ready the following day with our thick coats as we will climb the hills of Yunzhongshan Mountain Reserve, a long 90 kilometer-drive from the city proper.
This was supposed to be China’s famous tea plantation attraction. If we have the Ifugao Rice Terraces circled by rice paddies, the mountains in this area are all covered with hectares upon hectares of refreshing tea shrubs and trees, with farmers tending to their lush gardens.
The breathtaking trip took us to rural China. We passed through magnificent mountain tunnels I lost track counting them. As we snaked through several vertigo-causing highland skyways, we arrived in Gan De, the gateway to Anxi’s jaw-dropping tea plantation. 
We had lunch in a roadside café that served us native chicken prepared like “Adobo” (swimming in tea oil when served to us), and a dish similar to our “Tinola”.
We trekked up a mountain full of tea trees, a knee and lung-busting challenge. The view was simply gorgeous and exhilarating. The experience was punctuated by weird sounds coming from the other side of the mountain. I was told that they were tigers growling.
On our way home way past sunset, we made a stopover in a mountain café. We had a feast of boiled duck (with meat falling off its bones), stewed mutton, pungent steamed rice and lots more cups of tea.

The best thing about Anxi is that it is a small county, population density is low, and it has lots of mountains covered with green forests, which means you will be able to find peace and quiet to accompany your hot cup of tea. 
Many tourists come to Anxi to learn the history of tea, visit its tea factories and its tea gardens are open to the public. The city has the world’s largest teapot, a sculpture located at the plaza overlooking many tea-drinking shops. It is here where the most famous tea-trading hall is located, called China Tea Capital, located on Hebin North Road. 
Within this complex, you will find countless shops, booths, and independent vendors with bags full of dried tea leaves for those who want to take a part of Chinese tea culture home. The prices here are lower than elsewhere in China since you will be purchasing straight from suppliers. 
Tea gardens are also popular stops where you may enjoy a beautiful setting surrounded by natural scenery and lovely music, all while tasting top selections of tea from each garden’s specific menu. Some are family-owned, others are owned by private clubs and tea plantations. 
Tea harvested between mid-September and mid-May in Anxi are the tastiest. The most popular type is called Tieguanyin, with references the “Iron Goddess of Mercy,” grown and produced in Anxi since the 18th century, and today, ranks among the most expensive teas in the word. 
Tieguanyin is a variation of oolong tea with a fresh and smooth taste. Oolong tea is characterized by its unique production process: Leaves are picked, dried under hot sun, and oxidized until they curl up, sometimes followed with a light roasting period. They have a wide array of flavors, but always come with rich aromas and complex essences. 

Other types of tea (including more than 12 types of Oolongs) you will find as you explore Anxi County are Ruan Zhi, Ben Shan Green Dragon, Huangdan, Benshan, Maoxie, Daye Wulong, and Meizhan, and Golden Cassia (also known as Golden Osmanthus). Elsewhere in Fujian Province, you will find production of jasmine tea.  
The traditional Chinese way of preparation is to put a small amount of leaves in your cup, hot water, and then cover to steep for a few minutes. Soon the leaves will release their aromas and sink to the bottom when it is ready to drink. Just add more hot water to your cup to the same leaves when you want more to drink. This method allows more efficient use of each dose of leaves. 
How to get to Anxi  
Arriving to Anxi County is quite convenient. Fujian Province is in southern China and quite close to Hong Kong. The main cities you will arrive to before going to Anxi are most likely Xiamen and Quanzhou.
If coming from Xiamen, you can take a bus from Songbai Long Distance Bus Station where you can get a 1–2 hour ride north to Anxi. There is no direct train between the two destinations.  
If coming from Quanzhou, you can take a train from Quanzhou East Railway station to Anxi. You can also take a bus from Central Bus Station, taking 1 hour. From Quanzhou and Xiamen, there are also trains to Anxi.

Monday, June 12, 2017


By Roger Pe
Business Mirror
June 12, 2017 issue

Sparkle like a luminous star. Transform. Integrate. Throughout the interview, Nicolas Menat, CEO of Publicis One Asia, the global creative enterprise unifying all Publicis agency brands (Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi, Bartle Bogle Hegarty and other assets) kept mentioning the last word.

Menat drummed up the point that it is through integration of resources, knowledge and talents that will drive the already dynamic ad agency network to further success. “It maybe complex but it is the recipe for winning together,” he said.

Parallel to integration, Menat stressed the importance of transformation or reinventing oneself in the light of a volatile business landscape that is experiencing dramatic changes all over the world. “It is happening within a short span of time, everyone, including organizations, must transform,” he said. 

“Every business is facing integration. We need to understand the transformation that is happening around us, most especially, in our client partners in order to sharpen our business competency,” he explained.

The tall, amiable and sharp CEO of one of the world’s most awarded networks, flew into town for his regular Asia managing chores, and while in Manila, sat in the jury of 2017 Tambuli Awards.

Publicis One handles the larger bulk of Nestle business in the Philippines, long-time client Procter and Gamble, McDonald’s, Pfizer, GM, Cebu-Pacific, Metrobank and other high profile brands. 

At the core of its group is Leo Burnett Manila, an ad agency that has gone a remarkable transformation, from a raw, local ad agency (Hemisphere) to a hot shop with a multinational culture to the top of the industry’s creative totem pole. Today, it is a sterling agency having won its stripes in many tough local, regional and global awards competitions. 

Among them was a gold in last year’s Campaign Asia-Pacific Creative Agency of the Year Awards, a show that recognizes inspired leadership, management excellence, outstanding business performance, and overall achievement in advertising and communications industry in the region. 

Burnett also won the Digital Marketer of the Year Boomerang grand plum, having swept most of the awards organized by the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP) last year. 

Last year, the 4As (Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies of the Philippines) honored it with the Agency of the Year award, along with Best in Market Performance, Digital Excellence, Best in Creative and Effectiveness, and Best in Creative and Effectiveness (Activation category).

Responsive, Client-Solutions Centered

Menat mentioned Amazon, the most innovative company in America that was built around constant transformation and change and is going great guns because they are building, buying, and are integrating. (Amazon has built its own unique brands and has brought almost 30 companies in thirty years). 

The e-commerce giant inspires Menat, because it has a solid foundation, with new technology and constantly introduces new ways of doing things. And that’s what he wants to see Publicis One doing to its clients.

“You log in, you choose, you buy, you get what you want, fast, and the next thing you see, it’s delivered to your doorsteps,” he exclaimed.

Menat talked about digital media, the most-talked about media platform today. “We are the best in this class and we would like to continue being the benchmark - to transform and ultimately help the consumers experience a better life,” he said.

What is he as a person? “I would like to be myself. I trust people. My management style is sharing governance. Let’s go and do it together and help push people to be the best that they can be,” he proudly said. “I like creating an environment where people can be their own CEOs. I don’t breathe down their necks,” he added.

As admen, Menat stressed the need to be right there when clients’ transformation happens. “We have to in order to be able to become transformers ourselves,” he said.

His thoughts on traditional media: Menat explained that television, anywhere in the world, would still be at the center of the spectrum because it is a medium where families get together and bond more intimately than other media. Newspapers, he said, should reinvent themselves. “It’s old and sometimes, filled with fake news.”

Agency Of The Future

Last year, Maurice Levy, CEO, started a very significant transformation of Publicis Groupe that included the creation of the all-new global communications enterprise, Publicis One. 

The creation of Publicis One is the best testament of commitment to evolve, in order to drive profitable growth and create value for clients’ brands in the competitive business landscape today. 

It is a strategic reorganization of Publicis One’s best capabilities and talents around the world into a model that allows it to be more creative and to move nimbly and efficiently.  

Publicis One is a global communications enterprise that brings together Publicis Groupe’s agency capabilities and expertise under one roof, operating across Publicis Groupe’s four Solutions: Publicis Communications (Publicis Worldwide with Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi and BBH), Publicis Media (Starcom, Zenith, Mediavest Spark, Blue 499), Publicis.Sapient (SapientNitro, DigitasLBi, Razorfish, Sapient Consulting) and Publicis Health (Digitas Health, Publicis LifeBrands, Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness). 

It has more than 8,000 employees in 55 countries, with operation spread across Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia. 

Data-Driven Creativity

Creativity is the most important source of competitive advantage in business today. The evolvement of marketing as a result of digital media revolution and technology advancement, driving the need for a new kind of creativity that is empowered by data and enabled by digital technology. 

Publicis One is proud to count some of the world’s most recognized creative, digital, technology, PR, media, research, production agencies aligned and working towards the success of its clients’ brands.

Integrator of Specialists

Publicis One is built with clients’ interest at the center. The increasing fragmentation of industry has gotten to a point when integrating marketing communications becomes too difficult and costly. 

Publicis One breaks down the barriers for more effective integration. Concurrently, the communications needs of marketers today are increasingly moving towards specialized capabilities. Publicis One’s model is created to address these two needs to be a top integrator of best-in-class specialists.

Power Of One

Unifying the Publicis Groupe’s assets under one roof gives Publicis One operations scale, flexibility, and accessibility to a diverse set of expertise and capabilities. This is a key advantage that enables it to efficiently derive objective, effective solutions for brands, be it integrated or specialized.

“As we continue to transform our agency model around the world operating as Publicis One, it is pertinent for us to keep the spotlight firmly on creativity and more specifically, the brand of creativity we want to become as Publicis One,” Menat stressed.

Publicis One’s brands represent value for business. They work closer together and more effectively, tapping into all Publicis Groupe resources. Brands stay connected with their respective networks (be it Zenith, Leo Burnett, Starcom, Saatchi & Saatchi or Publicis) beyond Publicis One.

Publicis One represents a new way of working that is crucial to our business today and brings greater integration, optimization and value creation that will bring benefits and growth for our clients’ business and our operation. 

“One leader, one P&L (Profit and Loss) will eliminate silos and make the decision-making process easier and faster thereby allowing smooth flow of resources to be directed to where they are needed most,” Menat said.

About Menat

Menat started his career at Havas in 1987, after graduating from a business school in Paris, France. He then joined Leo Burnett France (today, part of the Publicis Groupe) in 1989, and had since built his career within the Publicis Groupe, spending 11 years in Paris, 2 years in Chicago, and 3 years in Frankfurt, prior to coming to Tokyo in 2005. 

He worked on a broad range of international clients such as Philip Morris, Procter & Gamble, McDonald’s, Kellogg’s, Diageo, L’Oréal, AXA, Sanofi, among many others.

In January 2007, Menat was appointed President, Representative Director of Beacon communications in Tokyo, a fully integrated agency with more than 300 people and with partnership between Publicis Groupe (66%) and Dentsu (34%). It has made its success, primarily by focusing effort in making global brands locally relevant and successful in Japan.

He was was appointed CEO of Publicis One in Asia (Japan, Korea, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam) in January 2016. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


By Roger Pe
Business Mirror
May 24, 2017 issue 

The 90s were the best of times for Filipinos in Jakarta. Indonesian employers kept an eye on Filipinos, those who were experts in their respective fields, as among their prized recruits.

In advertising, a number of Indonesian company owners successfully lured Pinoys and put them in stellar positions. They were called Advisors, a term loaded with three enviable Ps - power, prestige and privileges.

Professional Filipinos were generally preferred for their hardwork, competence and efficiency. Aside from their knack for communicating in English, the locals easily gravitated to them. They naturally exuded warmth, charm and blended well, culturally. They were their Malay neighbors and looked the same, as opposed to the ‘orang asing putih’.

Among the many Filipino admen transported to the world’s 4th most populous country during that time were Ronald Garcia and his wife Marivic. 

Both have a solid background in advertising. By then, Ronald has built a career in Media, from being a Research Assistant in Basic-FCB to Media Director in Dentsu, Young and Rubicam-Alcantara where he met his wife who was a Senior Account Manager at the time in the same agency. Marivic was Account Director in the country’s first full-service direct marketing agency when they left for Indonesia.

In Lintas Jakarta, Indonesia’s biggest ad agency, Ronald assumed a Media Director role (for Initiave Media) and Marivic worked her way up, from being an Associate Account Director to Group Account Director position.

Trained and honed by Manila’s Madison Avenue-like world of advertising, those credentials propelled both of them to mentor their Indonesian wards for a good 4 years.

While it was a dream posting for them, the political upheaval in Jakarta was brewing and unfolding. The fall of Suharto in 1998 has caused a lot of civil disturbance prompting the couple to come back to Manila to ensure the safety of their two young children.

Back to Manila

Not expats anymore, the Garcias began a new life in Manila at the height of the Asian Financial Crisis. Ronald joined Universal McCann briefly as McCann Philippines’ first OOH (out-of-home) Media Head. Whereas, Marivic worked in Lintas Manila and then Dentsu, Young & Rubicam where she stayed for many years to be on top of its key corporate accounts.

In 2001, having seen a bright opportunity in out-of-home advertising, Ronald established Outdoor Media, a full-service out-of-home advertising services provider that provides tailor-fit solutions to clients’ key geographical priorities - nationwide. 

From the attic of his home in Valle Verde, he worked day and night to deliver the rush requirements of his clients all by his lonesome self. As he gained the trust and respect of more clients, he began to get more and more projects and started adding employees. 

The name was later changed to OMG Advertising when Marivic joined forces with Ronald in 2013, (only after agreeing that he would put up an office in Bonifacio Global City). It was inevitable for the two to work together, to better manage a growing number of clients. 

They now have more full-time employees and a dependable group of Local Coordinators all-around the country. They have taken their team places in and out of the country to see the work that they do and compare them to that of more advanced countries, so they get better at what they do. In the process, they also get to see the world.
More on Ronald on his entrepreneurial success: 
What were the challenges you faced and how did you surmount them?

Practically starting from scratch was a major challenge. Working as a one-man team at home, investing on strategic partnerships, putting up processes, checks and balances to ensure integrity of the work, and scaling up, were also tough. Increased sales also meant more cash infusion and more work, and so, I had to do a lot of balancing act. 

Making hard decisions, prioritizing projects that will bring in higher margins, keeping eye on the goal and making sure every project is delivered in a timely and accurate manner, while gaining strength from the love and support of my family. 

How do you make yourself different from other players in the industry?

Unlike other players in the market who come with a long list of inventories, we provide customized OOH solutions and locations that are based on the Clients' strategic and geographical priorities. 

OMG’s proprietary softwares are one-of-a-kind, how do you market them and make clients aware of them?

We've recently invested on digitizing our processes and data by developing the following: Geogen, a locations-search tool that helps us identify priority locations based on total population per city/province broken down per age group and gender split, in seconds. 

It can also generate a list of nearby relevant establishments that maybe points of interest in relation to the target audience.

The other software is called the AdTracker, which basically functions as on online library of all our work, searchable by brand, campaign and/or campaign period. It even has a campaign summary that contains related details, including campaign results whenever available. 

In the future, it can also serve as a digital monitoring portal for paperless billing requirements. Over time, it can include competitive OOH ad campaigns, too. It can be as robust as we'd like them to be in terms of building market data.  

We'd soon be giving free access to our clients meeting a minimum revenue commitment in order to make work faster, more accessible by computer or smart/android phone. 

How do you keep up with new technology in the industry?

OMG Advertising recognizes that the future of media lies in the use of digital technologies to drive desired business results, and so, we invests a lot on new technologies that would help us and our clients win in the marketplace. We don't wait for new technologies to fall into our laps. We create them based on our needs.

What pieces of advice you would give to people in the industry?

Take care of your reputation. It’s the most important thing you can own. If you do good, good things come to you. 

Your business philosophy is?

Take care of your people, and they will take care of the business. 

If you were a piece of billboard what would you like your market to know about you?

OMG Advertising can help you win in the market place.  

What is your goal in the business and how do you see OMG in the next 5 years?

Our goal is to be seen by our clients as more than just an OOH Services Provider (Supplier) but more as Business Partners. We'd like to be in the forefront of the Out-of-Home Advertising industry, helping clients win in the marketplace one community at a time. 

What is your unique brand leadership and management style?

Our style is Management By Objectives. You set your own goals and your desired rewards and the kind of support needed from the company and then we agree on the parameters. In a sense, you work for the reward you want.  

Memorable anecdotes you learned throughout career?

Time and again, we've proven that every problem presents an opportunity. You just need to look beyond the difficulties at hand. As they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. 

Who is Ronald as a person, outside of the office?

Ronald is very much a family man. His life outside of work revolves around the family. He loves to travel and discover new places and documents them in photographs for posterity. 

Are you looking to going regional?

If the right opportunity comes, why not?  

Who influenced you much, who were your mentors?

I was influenced, to some degree, by Tony Mercado's management style. I liked that he was a progressive thinker, quite advanced for his time. I was also influenced by a former boss, Boy Pangilinan who taught me much of what I know in Media, my grandmother and the nuns in my former school who inculcated the right values in me growing up.