by Aye P Ubaldo
November is the month that the PANAF, the Foundation arm of the Philippine Association of National Advertisers (PANA), holds its annual Students’ Competition on IMC. The PANAnaw, as it is called, is doing only too well, and is such welcome news to its hardworking organizers.
The PANAF’s theme this year of Disaster Preparedness brought out the best quality communications briefs, strategies and executions from the top universities in the country. Out of a record-breaking 39 entries, a 50 percent increase from 2014, this year’s seven finalists included a few fresh faces in Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Manila, and University of St. La Salle-Bacolod. Returning after 12 years as a finalist was University of Sto. Tomas.
Regularly on the roster, University of the Philippines-Diliman again made it to the finals, along with Ateneo de Manila, Assumption College, Far Eastern University-Makati, and University of St. La Salle-Bacolod.
The country’s veteran and respected industry experts included Blen Fernando, PANA president and Vice-president for Marketing, Alaska Milk Corporation; Jos Ortega, Chairman and CEO of Havas Media Ortega; Lizelle Maralag, Chairman and CEO of GMA Marketing and Productions; Kent Mariano, Marketing Manager of Jollibee Foods Corporation; Onel Querijero, Trading Director of Starcom Mediavest Group; Raymund Sison, Associate Creative Director of Publicis JimenezBasic; and Thomas Orbos, Deputy General Manager of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
Ateneo de Manila bested the lot with their campaign. Of Ateneo’s OA: On Alert marketing strategy that included partnering with nation-wide TV shows, info dissemination via SMs and social media, Mariano commented, “You did justice to the campaign. Your proposition is very unique and clear, and key communication materials also very clear that brought the key message to light.”
Maralag said, “Yours is the first presentation to use humor, and I commend your team for that. It’s very refreshing. The substance was not lost in your presentation.” Orbos added, “I like the OA campaign, and I hope you have a sustaining program to that. I commend you for the insight.”
Ateneo is reaping the rewards of continuously leveling up. According to Gillian Pua, a B.S. Management student of Ateneo de Manila, “It took the team a lot of research, and many long nights peering into the target market. The guidance of the mentors steered us into the direction that would hit the spot, and that would stand out against the other competitors.”
Pua added, “We are super proud to represent Ateneo and to give them the glory right back. Thank you to the judges for the chance to raise the Ateneo name.”
Told that the MMDA wanted to discuss the possible implementation of their campaigns, Pua replied, “That feels very ‘pressuring’ knowing that we can activate this for the government, but at the same time it is fulfilling to give back to the community. Ateneo instills that in us, and to be able to do that is the best of both worlds.”
A consistent finalist, Assumption College pocketed the 1st runner up medals with their catchy, and music video-driven campaign meant to rid Pinoys of the ‘bahala na’ (come what may) attitude. Delubyo’y huwag bastang abangan, ito’y dapat paghandaan impressed the judges.
Assumption’s exuberant Ava Beatrice Bernabe shared, “Our school is very happy to be back in the finals. After more than 3 months preparing for the finals, and with the usual difficulty in being in a group, so we didn’t expect all the positive comments from the judges. We were really very nervous!”
“This is girl power at its best. Targeting is very purposive, and justifies the mix of the platforms. I commend the team on that,” said Maralag, adding, “Can I adopt you?”
Fernando added, “The first impression, those first 5 seconds is very important. You had me in the first 5 seconds when you calmly came on stage.”
Rounding up the top 3, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Manila came out the big winner, this having been their first time to enter the competition. Kilos Pilipinas! was impressive, eliciting positive remarks from judges Sison, Mariano and Maralag. Said Querijero, “I like that you used the family. That hits a spot.” Maralag seconded with, “In terms of presentation of media strategy and use of media, yours had good rationale.”
For Marie Glydel Lumauan, a Mass Communications student, joining the competition was a very good experience. “We sacrificed a lot, but everything paid off in the end. We spent July to September just brainstorming on the idea.”
School Adviser Mark Gutierrez, shared, “I’m from the industry, and it feels good because the reason that I teach in my school is because I could teach students more on how we do it in the industry. It’s an amazing feeling that they won, they’re great students, and nice to be a part of their win.”
Added Lumauan, “It’s wild for us. Top 7 was great, top 3 is overwhelming! We will join again, and we have the top prize as our goal!”
University of Sto. Tomas proudly took home their 4th runner up medals for Disaster, Risk, Awareness, Management, and Action (DRAMA) teleserye campaign to transmit the message of disaster preparedness. Speaking after the win, Byron Co, Nadine Layon and Christine Gamboa said, “Thanks for putting us in the finals after 12 years. We’re happy even if we aren’t in the top 3. It took us six months of preparation for the planning, the shoot, and our script. We went to communities to get hands-on experience for the insights. We needed an immersion to get the big idea.”
University of the Philippines-Diliman was 3rd runner up with Tatak Tumpak!, while Far Eastern University-Makati got 5th runner up for Bayan e-Handa.
FEU-Makati got the judges nodding with its insight: There are more cellphones now than people in the Philippines. Said Ortega, “I like that you are brave enough to focus on an app.” Sison added, “It’s a fresh take on disaster-preparedness. I also like your geo-farming strategy.”
First time in the finals, University of St. La Salle-Bacolod rounded up this year’s best entries as 6th runner up with SagipEveryJuan. For Nathaniel Abogada of St. La Salle, getting in this year’s finals is enough to try again. “It was overwhelming to learn that we reached the finals. We didn’t expect it. Now we are encouraged to join again, and looking forward to getting a better result.”
Reviewing the event, Fernando said, “Every year, the kids keep getting better. This year, they finally realized that substance is more important than the frills. PANAF is very happy that we can contribute in bringing a higher level of marketing excellence through these children. There’s a generational difference. Next year will be even better.