Sunday, April 20, 2014


by Roger Pe

What will be Ad Summit Pilipinas’ biggest come-on when it unfolds this coming May?

Matec Villanueva, chair of the ad industry’s biggest event this year, quickly tells Business Friday: “We are bringing the movers and shakers of our industry to make the Summit a world-class gathering of the creative, the curious, and the wise.”

Villanueva says attendees will experience a no-nonsense program, precision-quick according to schedule, and most of all, the speakers will come only from the very best in the industry. “You may call them rock-star speakers and because of that, we expect 100% attendance,” she says.

With that, you can give it a long, resounding applause this early.

The Philippines’ first Ad Summit, hopefully a much better reincarnation of the defunct Ad Congress will be held in Subic Bay Convention Center from May 7 to 10. It hopes to showcase the very best creative work of the industry with market results and break existing attendance records. The format follows a bit of Asia Adfest and a little bit of Cannes with the awarding of the Best of “Kidlat” Awards on penultimate night.

Relevant speakers and luminaries in their respective fields will take centerstage on Day One.
As the theme goes, a good measure of “enlightenment” from what’s happening in the global marketing and ‘admosphere’ will set everyone’s excitement on fire.

The first batch of speakers:

Emily Abrera, the Philippine’s first jury member in Cannes (2005) heads a star-studded cast. Currently chair of CCI-Asia, the content-production company behind Living Asia Channel, Abrera is also the president of the Foundation for Communication Initiatives.

Abrera is both chairman of the board of Cultural Center of the Philippines and Children’s Hour Philippines, founding member of the Women’s Business Council and currently member of the Edsa People Power Commission and first woman president of a multinational ad agency in the Philippines. She last held the position of chairman emeritus of McCann WorldGroup.

Another local speaker is Merlee Jayme, ‘Chairmom’ and Chief Creative Officer of DM9 Jayme-Syfu. Jayme was Executive Creative Director at BBDO Guerrero before she started her own agency more than 6 years ago.

She was previously vice president and executive creative director of Ace Saatchi & Saatchi. As head of DM9 Jayme-Syfu, Jayme catapulted her creative shop to the number one spot in the Philippines (2010 Campaign Brief Asia Ranking) and was awarded Campaign Asia- Pacific Creative Agency of the Year for the Philippines in 2012.

Last year, Jayme’s work (“TXTBKS”) for a telecom brand won the Philippines’ first ever Cannes Grand Prix Lion. Advertising bible Ad Age headlined the news that was also picked up by most trade magazines worldwide.

Jayme’s team idea was simple: Solve the issue of decreasing use of textbooks in a country where many people cannot afford tablets or e-readers and where most families own analog phones. Jayme and her team collaborated with textbook publishers to condense books into text messages. Those messages were then put into old SIM cards, which were repackaged and created a new brand of textbooks.

Another is Cheuk Chiang, CEO of Omnicom Media Group Asia-Pacific whose career spans across account management, strategy planning and agency management roles in creative, direct marketing, digital and media agencies.

Chiang has a 23-year year experience working on a number of high profile brands such as Coca-Cola, Heineken, Heinz, Hennessy, HP, Holden, HTC, Kraft, Mars, Myer, Motorola, Nestle, Nikon, Tiger Beer and Unilever. He was named Agency Innovator of the Year by Internationalist Magazine in 2010 and sat on the Cannes jury in 2013.

Also on the marquee of speakers is Tom Doctoroff, JWT Asia-Pacific CEO, a much sought keynote speaker who has graced speaking engagements at the International Advertising Association’s global symposium and University of Chicago’s Global Management Conference. He has authored two best-selling books on Chinese consumers: "Billions: Selling to the New Chinese Consumer” and "What Chinese Want”, published in 2012. He was was selected as an Official Torchbearer for the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and lives in Shanghai.

Dick Van Motman, chairman and CEO of Dentsu Network Asia too, is on the line-up. Motman spent over 20 years in senior account and regional management positions at DMB&B, Leo Burnett and DDB in various European and Asian markets.

He joined Dentsu Network Asia in 2012 as the first non-Japanese head of the region helping in the transformation journey towards building the first ever Global Communications Group born out of Asia.

Following the acquisition of Aegis Media by Dentsu Inc., Motman was asked to lead Southeast Asia operations for the newly formed Dentsu Aegis Network, built specifically for the digital age. He heads both the former Dentsu and Aegis assets, comprising 35 operations across Southeast Asia.

Prior to joining Dentsu Aegis Network, Motman spent 9 years at DDB Worldwide, leading the business in the Greater China Group, which went on to become the Campaign Creative Agency of the Year in 2010, Campaign Digital Agency of the Year and the Adage A-list Agency of the Year.

Joining them is Sandipan Roy, Isobar Asia-Pacific Regional Strategy Director, who is known to be “a multi-dimensional marketer with a passion for uncovering deep human insights and developing big business building ideas.”

Roy is deeply experienced in developing brand, advertising, digital, Customer Relations Management, data, and shopper marketing strategies. He has also held senior leadership roles at global, regional as well as in-country levels working on clients like Citibank, McDonalds, Stanchart, P&G, Kellogg’s, Land Rover, Jaguar, Samsung, Unilever, American Express, and Singapore Tourism Board.

“Our vow is to create programming that will definitely enlighten our attendees on the things that they have been wanting to discover about advertising and marketing,” says Villanueva.

Addition to this list include Louie Morales, assistant vice president for HR and Corporate Services of Meralco Subsidiary, Chot Reyes, head coach of Philippine National Team and head of TV5 Sports5, Marius Rebeschini, CEO of Y&R Asia Pacific, Simon Kemp, managing director of We Are Social; Ariel Fermin, executive vice president and head of PLDT’s Home Business, Charles Cadell, regional president of McCann Worldgroup, APAC and TV host/ entrepreneur Boy Abunda.

“It remains our vow to create a programming that will definitely enlighten our attendees on the things that they have been wanting to discover about the ad and marketing scene,” Ad Summit chair Matec Villanueva said.

Interested participants may contact the 4A’s secretariat at 813-4397 or 893-1205, or e-mail: Registration may also be done through the summit’s official


by Roger Pe

She is a weekend warrior who loves to cook and entertain people at home. In her profession, she would like her agency’s ads to win not only creative but also marketing awards.

Meldy Warren started with Campaigns & Grey in 1992. After twelve years, she moved to Kuala Lumpur and worked as Client Services Director for FCB Malaysia and as Regional Account Director at Malaysia’s most creative agency then, Saatchi & Saatchi Malaysia.

She came back to Manila in 2010 and was rehired by Campaigns. A year after, she co-managed the Digital and Events division of the agency and then eventually promoted to Managing Director of Neuron, the second above-the-line agency of Campaigns.

Why a second agency? Ong felt there was a need to set up another to service local companies who would like to enjoy the benefits from a multinational agency but who would have otherwise been shut out because of global alignments.

“It was also meant to cater to clients who feel they are not too big for big agencies. It is basically a boutique agency. We have our own accounts management and creative department,” Warren adds.

With less than 10 employees on its first year, Neuron had gross billings of 500 million, “a feat not a lot of start up companies can claim,” according to Warren.

Neuron was set up in 2006 by industry icon Yoly Ong, the first Filipino to judge in the modern-day Clio. Ong handpicked one of her best and brightest agency people, among them Boboy Consunji, who was initially appointed Managing Director, and industry creative goddess Ompong Remigio as Executive Creative Director.

Consunji was recently promoted as Chief Operating Officer of Campaigns & Grey after propelling Neuron to become what it is today, Campaigns’ most profitable ad agency.

With Consunji’s promotion, a vacuum was needed to fill. Warren was the perfect choice to be Neuron’s second MD, taking the reigns from Consunji.

Business Friday interviews Warren, the charming and affable career woman who has risen as Neuron’s Managing Director. She’s on her second term as Philippine 4A’s director acting as the association’s treasurer and very active in the 2014 Ad Summit Pilipinas finance committee.
She takes us to her career journey, management style and in and out of advertising’s frenetic world.

BF: Tell us how you started in advertising.

MW: It was not by accident. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in mass communications even while I was still in college, but I was more interested in production. Account management was a scary thought though. I had tremendous inferiority complex and I didn't think I'd survive servicing clients. I would have preferred to be on the production side.

Anyway, I did not start in advertising right after college. The first real offer came from a fastfood company and I worked as one of the shift managers. Pay was significantly higher than the regular starting salary range so I grabbed it.

After a year or so, I got bored and started distributing my CVs in ad agencies. One day, my best friend tipped me off that the agency she was working with was looking for an account manager. I took it even if I had to take a pay cut since I was going to be hired as Account Executive and I had to still go into a training period.

A number of my first clients were Nestle and Time Magazine and I serviced these companies for three years before I moved to my second agency, which is Campaigns & Grey, Campaigns Universal Inc. when I joined but eventually became Campaigns & Grey when we changed foreign partners.

BF: Who influenced you most in your advertising career?

MW: Hmmm… nobody really influenced me to pursue a career in advertising. It was a conscious decision I made. I thought it was a glamorous job where you are able to meet and talk to a lot of people from all walks of life. It is an industry where you can shape people's minds, give them choices, change their way of thinking and looking at things so they can have a better life or aspire for one.

But in this business I'd say my biggest influence was Yoly Ong, our group chairperson, very principled in everything she does. She's a visionary and makes sure there's a bigger purpose in whatever she does. She inspires and drives us to excel and ultimately to become our better selves.

BF: Your mentors in advertising?

Liza Ocampo, Zannie de Guzman, Yoly Ong, Gi Gatchalian were all my bosses. The first two taught me the rudiments of good account management, basically good housekeeping and client relations, Gi in communications strat and planning. Yoly is a mentor not only at work but also in life. She teaches us how to be critical and discerning and guides us in our decisions.

BF: Did you ever think of making it to where you are now?

MW: That was the goal. You never really dream to stay where you are. You want to see how high you can go and how far.

BF: Your formula for success?

Hard work, perseverance, focused, positive attitude, right timing.

BF: What kind of a boss are you?

MW: I am a combination of boss personalities. I would like to believe I am a mentor. I am someone who basically empowers and inspires my group to do its best and work to help them reach their full potentials. Every one is talented and you just need to unleash that.

I delegate when I find it necessary, supervise minimally and make the people responsible for their decisions.
As much as possible, I let the group members participate in the decision making process so that they feel relevant, useful and committed to the goal.

Authoritarian style is used only when I train newbies. But once they've grown into the role, leadership style shifts.

BF: What's your philosophy in life, how do you apply it as a boss and running an ad agency?

MW: I'd like to quote Bohdi Sanders from the book the secrets of wordly wisdom: "Focus in making yourself better, not on thinking you are better."

Appreciate what you are right now but believe that you can be greater.

In this very competitive industry, agencies have to keep evolving. The playing field is changing, client demands are tougher and competition is stiffer.

BF: Where do you see Neuron 5 to 10 years from now?

MW: I want Neuron to be recognized as one of the best in the industry in bringing fame and fortune for our Clients.
Not only will we deliver advertising that builds business, but also campaigns that guarantee brands will last for a long time.
I want it to be winning marketing awards aside from creative awards.

BF: If you are going to run the 4A's what are the things you’d initiate and implement?

MW: Digital agencies should be part of 4As because we basically do the same thing. Only our platforms are different. They should also standardize fees so that more agencies will survive. The currencies are creativity and cost efficiencies instead of lowest cost.

BF: Define creativity in real world.

MW: Creativity is being able to find brilliant and smart solutions to what is seemingly impossible to achieve, using past experiences, common logic, and most importantly, wild imagination. Without knowing it, all of us exercise creativity in accomplishing even the simplest of tasks.

For example, a little boy's mind will try to find solutions to reach a toy on top of cupboard much taller than him. Creativity is being able to perceive things in different ways, finding connections to create a new reality. A cook or a chef is a creative person.

BF: Name one problem in the ad industry and tell us how you'd want to solve it.

Dwindling advertising income, higher demands. Wild idea, how about we go back to 15% and 17.65%, merge all the services in one agency again?

BF: Who is Meldy Warren after office hours?

MW: I am a mother of two grown up kids. I enjoy cooking and entertaining people at home. I earned a diploma in Culinary Arts from the International Hotel Management Institute Switzerland, Malaysia campus in 2010. I would have wanted to pursue that new career, but advertising beckoned.

I am a very simple person who likes to enjoy weekends with family, which is rare lately but I am not exactly complaining.

My children are all grown ups and they spend less time in the house anyway. So it's beginning to feel like an empty nest. Work certainly makes it less lonely. I love doing housekeeping and I look after the household, cook and fix things around the house.