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.