Thursday, September 12, 2013


by Roger Pe

A movie without a story will surely bomb at the box office, in the same manner as a tv commercial without a big idea will always be at the mercy of the remote control.

Where’s the beef? The question hard-to-please people always ask also applies to digital media. Form can never replace content. Technology, in order to be amazing, can never be one-dimensional.

A spaceship into cyber space should have a double-edged sword, adept at challenging and wowing people’s minds to make them linger a littler longer.

“If digital is meant to be the “always on-24/7” medium, its content needs to be interesting to keep the conversation going,” says Budjette Tan, McCannMRM Worldwide Executive Creative Director, one of the speakers in 2013 IMMAP Summit held in Power Plant Mall, Rockwelll Center last August 29-30.

A brand can’t always be on “sales pitch mode” when talking to its customers,” he says. Tan talks about “BUYRAL: Creative Content Marketing” and presented case studies on how campaigns can get viral and provide business results. He cites a number of Facebook communities with the right kind of content.

“Nescafe welcomes you as if you just entered their ‘Kapihan.” “Royal’s page grew to over 500,000 fans in less than a year and kids keep coming back. Kit Kat attracts a lot of people because of its funny videos and interesting infographics,” he stresses.

With the advertising industry on the cusp of a digital revolution, Business Friday interviews another Filipino icon whose career crossover to digital is just as amazing as when she became Indonesia’s first woman Country Head for Lowe Jakarta, the country’s biggest ad agency.

Eleanor Modesto, now president of Pure Online, one of the Philippines’s leading digital agencies, helped nurture Indonesia’s infantile ad industry to where it is now - 23 fruitful years of mentoring some of Indonesia’s advertising leaders today.

BF: Why should advertisers go digital?

EM: The signs are everywhere, TV is getting content from youtube, most of us get the latest news from the web, trends are now seen first in digital (i.e. the Netizens Vs. Pork Barrel, Miley Cyrus “twerking” etc.).

The latest rally in Luneta was started in social media, the Napoles/ Pork Barrel controversy is fueled and kept alive in the digital space. Print, Radio and TV ads all point customers to their Facebook page, Twitter, Youtube etc.

Brands need to be in digital but not just be present but also make their presence relevant and appealing. That’s the challenge of digital – how to make brands work and interact with their customers.

Digital is measurable at every point in the purchase funnel. You can tell which channel converted into purchase and second it's data based, so there’s an opportunity to maintain a meaningful customer relationship over the long term.

BF: How has digital advertising grown over the last 5 years?

EM: There are a lot of ways to look at this. There are quite a few new entrants into the space, whether they are existing agencies with a beefed up digital department, or a specialist agency that does nothing but digital.

There are a lot of brands that have invested in maintaining a Facebook or Twitter presence, but there are certain basics that are still being omitted.

Very few Philippine companies have an online storefront or customer service channel. In terms of media-spend, Mike Palacios of Havoc says as per IMMAP, the estimated digital Adex has gone up from 0.8 to 2% of the media pie in the last three years but the rate could be faster and higher.

Internet ad revenues in the U.S. totaled a record $10.31 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, an increase of 12% from the third quarter of 2012. Mobile revenues surged 111% in 2012 to $3.4 billion, building on 2011’s record-breaking 149% year-over-year rise to $1.6 billion

BF: What are the most common barriers in digital advertising?

EM: Most of the barriers are client side. There is a perception that investment in digital advertising automatically means banner ads. That's not what digital advertising is all about.

Then there are businesses not yet migrating to digital. Even banks and auto companies are still not 100% embracing it. The e-commerce or online transaction revolution needs to happen.

I have a theory that the highest barrier is “fear”, also “lack of understanding of digital” and the perception that it is “cheap”.

A number of marketing departments are either being run by light or non-users of digital. In contrast to MNCs who are mandated to allocate 10-25% of their marketing budgets to digital.

As younger managers move up the ladder to make decisions, the role of digital advertising will become stronger and new generation of digital natives will flourish.

BF: What is digital’s distinct strength over other channels?

EM: Digital’s strength is its ability to “engage” customers and have a real, on-time conversation with them. But the power is when all media intersect – so TV uses the web and social media and the same goes for radio, out of home integrating with digital, mobile and social media, that’s when it all comes together.

BF: What is a good digital ad agency?

EM: When it knows how to use digital tools in a strategic and effective way. You can always keep a creative agency on tap to churn out ideas, but that's not necessarily what a digital agency is about.

The best digital agencies have frameworks that integrate social media and e-commerce, build and deliver a mobile CRM strategy, and more.

Too many existing agencies are focused on "Facebook maintenance" and "viral videos" because they are easy offshoots of what they're doing today in traditional media.

BF: What is your company’s point-of-difference?

EM: We have a great mix of digital brains like Nix Nolledo and Mike Palacios who are digital pioneers in the Philippines.

Our key operators, Rupert Japlit, our GM headed Netbooster (now Movent), Ronan Chua, ex-Publicis & Keiser Maclang CD is a blogger and a good example of ATL/Digital hybrid creative and our Operations Head Raffy Rodriguez brings years of digital experience from Ogilvy.

Our shareholders are some of the top names in the business – Abby Jimenez, founder and ex-Chairman of JimenezBasic; Ichay Bulaong, Godmother of Direct Marketing and ex-head of ABS-CBN Relationship Marketing and RJ Esteba, CEO of PSRC and co-owner of AGB Nielsen.

BF: Your management style like?

EM: When we find people with the potential, I try to guide them by pointing out what results we are targeting for and then I let them go for it. In my younger days I tended to micro-manage which was not a good thing.

I have learned to let the younger people get the directions and manage the projects themselves and with new technology, they are better suited to the requirements so they make good and often times better decisions and that’s great!

BF: Briefly, who is Eleanor Modesto as a private person?

EM: I’m eternally curious and I want to keep learning, that’s why I’m still in the business.

BF: How does your company keep abreast with the fast-changing world of digital?
EM: We believe in constant education with the latest technologies, encourage our staff to read and learn aggressively. We have a robust training program, not just on technology but also about branding, customer relationship, and of course, the latest trends in the business.

We track the web for the latest technologies, apps, monitoring tools, trends, etc. We also engage with industry groups to have access to human experience and contextual knowhow.

Pure just signed an affiliation with Isobar, the top digital agency globally and this means more training opportunities and exposure to the latest technology and global ideas.

BF: How do you see digital advertising in the Philippines 10 years from now?

EM: As adoption increases we will start to see digital becoming the primary vector for branded content. Right now that position belongs to broadcast television, but once TV and OOH become IP-based with smart TV sets, we will see a massive shift.

We will see the agency role start to fragment. No one digital agency will be able to fulfill all the client's needs. The role of the agency will be as integrator, or content creator. Pure-Isobar would like to be on the forefront of all these changes.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Photos by Carlo Ople of DigitDM9

by Roger Pe

Technology is beautiful. Without a doubt, it makes life a little better. If wonders never cease, especially in digital world, the inevitable must happen: the geeks will inherit the earth.

This they did in last Friday’s IMMAP (Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines) Boomerang Awards, where the best and the finest brand advertising using the digital highway were given their own spotlight.

Philippine digital wizards and brand honorees took centerstage as the seventh edition of The Boomerangs, now beginning to be the most exciting part of every IMMAP event, opened at The Loft, Manansala, Rockwell Center, Makati.

The Boomerangs, literally named after a curved flat wood designed to circle back to the thrower, is the Oscars of digital advertising. The shape is aptly, graphically digital, moving forward. This year’s official creative agency partner is

Started in 2007 as a sideshow of every IMMAP summit with mostly independent digital agencies participating, Boomerang has grown by leaps and bounds, attracting even multinational ad agencies that seriously go to Cannes.

Digital campaigns and programs utilizing Internet-enabled technologies (brand-managed communities such as Facebook pages), branded utility apps and e-commerce platforms vie for a Boomerang statue.

Today, it is fast shaping up as the country’s most prestigious digital awards show, a competition eagerly awaited, a must-attend industry gathering.

The 2-day summit opened with a theme: “Digital Drive: Trending Towards ROI” had a stellar cast of speakers, local and foreign, a veritable who’s who in digital media.

Among them were Ruth Stubbs, CEO of iProspect Aegis Media Asia-Pacific, Thomas Crampton, Director, Social@Ogilvy, Ogilvy & Mather Asia Pacific, Nick Fawbert, Head of Digital Enterprise for Media Corporation, CEO Third Space Consulting Southeast Asia, Gabby Lopez and Donald Lim, Chairman and Chief Digital Officer of ABS-CBN respectively, Merlee Jayme, Chair and Chief Creative Officer of DM9 Jayme-Syfu, Budjette Tan, Deputy Executive Creative Director of MRM Manila, digital arm of McCann WorldGroup, Bela Gupta D’ Souza, Head of Globe Telecom Mobile Advertising, Leah Besa-Jimenez, Group Head-Digital Media, Smart Telecom and a host of other experts in the field.

Miguel Ramos, IMMAP President gave the welcome remarks while Stubbs made a keynote presentation on “Performance Marketing.

Last year, over 150 submissions from agencies, industries and platforms were received. DOT’s “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” (BBDO Guerrero) and Coca-Cola’s “Where Will Happiness Strike Next: The OFW Project (McCann Worldgroup Manila) campaigns won gold Boomerangs.

“We are moving towards the right direction, the awards is on its way to becoming mainstream,“ says Ed Mapa, the man of the hour, conceptualizer of the Boomerang Awards and one of IMMAP’s founding fathers.

Mapa was previously president & CEO of Media Contacts Philippines. He steered the agency to win the Araw Media Agency of the Year in 2009, and with that leadership brought home important businesses from Unilever, San Miguel Brewery and Citi-digital.

On same year, his agency captured a Gold for Innovative category in the Boomerangs, stretching all the way to the Ad Congress with a gold in Best Use of Internet and a Bronze in Best Viral campaign.

In an interview, Mapa, credited with developing Havas Media Ortega as one of the most innovative digital agencies in the country, says: “Digital creativity is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as to best accomplish a particular purpose.”

“It is about search, to explore, learn, discuss, experience, leading to a desired result or action,” he says.

With everyone trying to catch up with the digital bandwagon today, Mapa, the digital pioneer, believes it is not about “Think Simple” anymore but rather “Think Orchestration. It is not about media planning anymore but behavioral planning,” he adds.

Huge reason why he was recently elevated as Chief Innovation Officer for Havas Media Group China, relocating to Beijing right after the Boomerang Awards. He will tackle a more challenging role - championing innovative thinking for the agency’s data, creative and technology products.

Digital Advertiser of the Year

A total of 20 Bronze, 19 Silver and 5 Gold Boomerangs were handed out at this year’s Boomerang Awards. For investing money into digital, glory circled back to Nestle Philippines, bringing home the Best of Show, aside from winning the most number of awards across all categories for most of its brands.

Gold Boomerangs also went to DM9 JaymeSyfu, OgilvyOne and Mobext for their respective clients.

Business Friday interviews Sandra Puno, Director of Nestlé Corporate Communications, Aurora Alipao, Nestle Head of Consumer Services and Corporate Communications and Nicole Bulatao, Head of Digital Marketing:

BF: How does it feel to be on the top again?

Sandra Puno: Pleasantly surprised and extremely happy! Our work in digital space continues to be inspired by Filipino consumers, our “Kasambuhay, Habambuhay”, and it is for them that we launch and sustain all our digital campaigns, to be able to reach out to them. These awards are a tribute to the Filipino consumers, who have made our brands a part of their daily lives.

BF: Why is “Nestlé Club” effective?

Au Alipao: Through the years, the Nestlé Club has become the members’ go-to source of homemaking information and inspiration - making them feel more empowered and confident.

The Nestlé Club, through our various communication materials and channels, has consistently provided content relevant to its members, while creatively promoting use of Nestlé products through recipes, games, and useful homemaking tips.

As moms became more digital savvy, the Nestlé Club evolved, engaging its members even more through digital channels.

The Nestlé Club website (www.Nestlé has over 309,763 unique visits with average engagement time of 3.45 minutes, 750% higher than a 30-second TVC.

It is one of the longest running consumer relationship marketing programs in the country, and we are here for the long-term. We do not only acquire members, we make sure that once our consumers become members, we continually communicate with them, in ways relevant to them. We can never thank them enough for the love they continue to share with us.

BF: Similarly, why does “Gerber Farm” tick?

Nicole Bulatao: The short answer is its simplicity. The idea behind Gerber Farm is that we wanted to communicate the fact that Gerber is made with wholesome ingredients, without preservatives.

The Gerber Farm Facebook app allows mothers to virtually pick fruit from a farm, pack it in a bottle and vacuum seal the lid, thus leading users through the process of making Gerber. Easy steps, beautiful imagery and strong message all worked together to bring the message of “Freshness in Every Jar” across.

BF: You have different ad agencies but most of them, if not all, won awards for Nestlé. What can you say about them?

Sandra Puno: I am proud to say that we work with some of the most creative and inspired people and agencies in the industry. I’ve always believed that it is the ultimate tribute to Nestlé and our brands, when our agencies decide to enter the work they’ve done for us in various competitions.

That means our partners believe they’ve done great work for us. And when these awards are won - that means the industry of experts agree with them. That is really a big honor!

Nicole Bulatao: MRM, Ogilvy One, Publicis and NuWorks have been partners for years, and each agency manages multiple brands for us. Their teams truly collaborate with me and with the brands, and they’re never afraid to defend a contrary point of view if they believe that it’s what’s best for the business.

BF: What is your guiding philosophy for making them deliver?

Sandra Puno: The Nestlé Philippines mission is to nurture generations of Filipino families and help build a strong and prosperous nation. This is a mission we share with our communication agencies.

BF: What makes you believe in digital?

Sandra Puno: Digital is here to stay. There is no going back. If we are to continue to succeed, we need to embrace digital, with all its benefits and complexities. The sooner we get our people to do that, the better we will deliver our mission.

Nicole Bulatao: Digital channels are different from traditional channels in at least two ways: the technologies available allow for almost any execution an agency creative or brand manager can imagine, and the channels encourage peer-to-peer sharing.

This means that the field of digital marketing communications is both incredibly exciting, and impossible to totally control. Messages communicated on digital—by artists, journalists, everyday people, and of course, brands—can be incredibly powerful.

Au Alipao: We have to be where our members are, so we can continue to be relevant in their lives, and more and more of our Nestlé Club members are into digital.

To be continued ...