August 13, 2013

What a way to spend the weekend before Holy Week. Ensconced in a high-end hotel in the heart of the city, brand managers from the Philippine Association of National Advertisers were at the PANA Brand Camp for three days of boot camp to seek the finest young marketers—that’s no more than 30-years of age—from PANA member companies.

Besting ten other teams, Rodrigo Salvador Sardalla Sotto and Justine Anne Tan Gaurino of Johnson & Johnson was named Team PANA Philippines last March 31. The duo will represent the country in the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in June.

Kristine Santos Mercado and Florente Mario Borbe Garcia, Jr. of Nestle Phils. placed second, Nikki Rose Marquez Lee and Francis John Ong Chua of Coca-Cola Export Corp. placed third.
Ogie Alcasid, foremost Filipino entertainer, music artist and composer, presented the background for this year’s PANA Brand Camp challenge. Alcasid is also the president of the NGO, Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM). The acronym also stands for Original Pilipino Music, of any genre, style, language and form of expression made by Filipinos anywhere in the world.

Following stringent Cannes Lions rules, the teams are given overnight to prepare a brief that had to be submitted by 8:30am on judgment day. Teams are allotted only 5 minutes to present the maximum 8 slides allowed.

The young marketers were tasked to develop a plan to promote OPM to Filipinos who are now exposed to Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and the iTunes world.

Sotto and Gaurino of Team Johnson & Johnson questioned the challenge. “The real problem is not ‘OPM v foreign’ because 80% of songs in the weekly top radio charts are OPM. The real problem is illegal music downloads. That’s what’s killing the music industry,” their brief read.

Working on an insight that Pinoys love their mobile phones, and they love videoke, Team Johnson & Johnson proposed a Mobioke (mobile videoke) interactive, innovative package that can download minus one versions of their favorite OPM via complete with video and correct lyrics. The team identified the practical Filipino market as one that will not spend much to buy music.

“There were too many layers on the issue presented. We kept going back to the consumer in trying to understand the problem, and tried to focus and understand what was at the core of it,” says Gaurino.
“After struggling with a lot of ideas, we mapped out targeting a certain consumer segment, and always going back to the objective of the brief. ‘OPM just really wanted to generate sales.’ When we decided to proceed with this route, that was it. It was just a matter of tightening (the presentation),” she added.

In 2010, the Cannes Lions opened the Young Marketers competition. Pepito Olarte, Director of Sales-The Inquirer Group of Companies, official Philippine representative to the Cannes Lions, approached PANA to field a representative. Then president Margot Torres, McDonald’s VP for Marketing and Communications, created PANA Brand Camp. Torres reprises her role as president of PANA this year.

Designed as a boot camp for marketing excellence, PANA Brand Camp features intensive training in strategies and tactics, as well as keen mentoring in critical preparation for the international arena in June.

“PANA Brand Camp teaches that you can move away from the templates. This is where you are encouraged to think outside the box, and start your journey to be become thought leaders,” Torres says of her remarkable brainchild.

David Guerrero-Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of BBDO Guerrero, Melvin Mangada- Executive Creative Director and Managing Partner of TBWA Santiago Mangada Puno, Raoul Panes-Chief Creative Officer of Leo Burnett Manila, and Jos Ortega-Founder and Chairman of BrandLab have been judges since the first PANA Brand Camp.

This year, Tey San Diego of Seven A.D. gave a talk on the importance of getting Insights, while Gino Borromeo of McCann Worldgroup Philippines shared some Worst Briefs to emphasize Strategic Planning. Leo Burnett and Arc Worldwide Manila’s Pao Peña presented case studies on the Best Digital Applications, and Russell Molina, also from Seven A.D. gave a Lecture on Storytelling.

“Definitely the past three days have helped us generate the output that we came up with. There is no way we could have produced that brief if we didn’t go through the learnings of the past few days. It was a mind blowing, mind opening experience,” admits Sotto.

Gaurino agrees, saying, “Going through that process allowed us to funnel our thoughts. Coming from the learning, the problem is the most important part of making a brief. Having a clear understanding of the problem will help you come up with a clear and spot on solution.

Last year’s Team PANA Philippines from Del Monte Justine Ferrer and Angeline Go brought home the Gold, while pioneer winners from Bayan Telecommunications bagged the Silver Award from the Cannes Lions Young Marketers Competition. With an astounding track record, much is placed on this year’s Team PANA Philippines. And Torres is positive of bagging another metal at Cannes Lions.

“The weight on our shoulders is immense. The pressure is so intense. But we will do our best to make the Philippines proud,” declares Sotto.

“I hope that it’s a good learning experience like Brand Camp, and that we will meet the expectations of the people that went before us,” says an excited Gaurino.

PANA Brand Camp mentors included Tin Sanchez-ECD of BBDO Guerrero, Alvin Tecson-CD of Leo Burnett Manila, and PANA representative Rudy Villar-Sr. AVP of SM Group. Molina joined the panel of mentors.

Other PANA Brand Campers were from Century Pacific Group, Globe Telecom, Jollibee Foods Corp., Golden Arches Dev’t. Corp. (McDonald’s), Monde Nissin Corp., Nutriasia, Inc., Procter & Gamble Distributing Phils., The Coca-Cola Export Corp. and Wyeth Philippines.

PANA Brand Camp had Philippine Daily Inquirer and Manila Broadcasting Company as major sponsor. Minor sponsors were Bayan Telecommunications, The Medical City and ABS-CBN. Cooperating sponsor was. Telus.

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