MARKETING DIRECTOR, McDonald's Philippines
Describe your role at McDonald’s.
My team and I are responsible for integrating the organization’s goals, the consumer needs, and the McDonald’s products and services into one cohesive Marketing Plan that will help achieve the objectives of the company.
We spend time listening to our customers-both external and internal customers to understand their needs and wants. We merge research, data, best practices, trends and oftentimes, intuition in crafting strategies that aid in creating marketing and communication plans for McDonald’s. We come up with the tactics supporting our identified strategies, work with the resources provided to execute the plan and monitor the results.
With a consumer-first mindset, we always keep our fingers on the pulse of culture with our agency partners in coming up with relevant products, services and promotions to meet our consumer needs and messages that will deliver the McDonald’s brand story consistently.
What McDonald's campaign do you think best embodies the Filipino culture?
For me, I would say that all McDonald’s campaigns are based on insights that embody the Filipino culture.
We have 'Lolo' (Karen) from 2001, 'Simbang Gabi' from 2003, 'First Love' and 'Pa-Cheeseburger Ka Naman' from 2009.
From our most recent works, we have the 2017 National Breakfast Day online video , 'Good Morning Teacher,' which depicted the meaning of 'new mornings' from the point of view of a retiring teacher. We also have the online video of 'The Boy Who Love to Study' which showed the story of how the viral photo of Daniel Cabrera studying under the McDonald’s pylon changed his life.
We also have “'Tuloy Pa Rin.' Resilience is an enduring quality of Filipinos, and more than the heartbreak, I think this is what endears this campaign to Filipinos of all ages. Long after the hugot trend has passed, this is what makes 'Tuloy Pa Rin' relevant and memorable.
More recently, our Father’s Day Film ('Wait
Lang Po') is something I am very proud of. We are a matriarchal society, so Fathers sometimes take the back seat even in advertising. The insight is universal, but a lot of the “waiting scenes” are very uniquely Pinoy (the Dad waiting for his daughter in the bus terminal really resonated with our fans on social)
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I can never have enough notebooks and colored pens. Wherever I go, I always end up buying more notebooks and pens and my two young daughters have picked up this habit. A lot of things may have gone digital, but I still love taking notes the analog way.
What talent do you most want to have?
If there is one talent that I want to have the most, it is the ability to sing publicly. I want to have the courage and the guts to sing in front of people even in just a small crowd. I really admire people who can sing well and those who have the courage to sing publicly.
What’s one thing most people don’t yet know about you?
I am a morning person. I love everything about this day part-from the breakfast food to the coffee and to all the activities that come with it. I believe I am most productive during mornings. I get to spend time with my daughters when I bring them to school; I get to have my me-time in the car on my way to work and I have a fresh mind and get to think and process things well.
HEAD OF MEDIA, Unilever Philippines
Describe your role in Unilever.
As the Head of Media in Unilever Philippines, I lead the creation and execution of local media strategies for some of the world’s biggest brands in Personal Care, Home Care, Foods and Refreshments. Media is both science and art, and I balance those two every day at work. I’m obsessed about measuring effectiveness just as I am fanatical about the next innovation in digital or traditional media.
Any skill you faked ‘til you made it?
When Unilever assigned me abroad to take a global marketing role, I needed to adjust to the work culture in Singapore. The Philippines is a highly emotional country, while Singapore is exactly the opposite. I kept my emotions inside at the start, but eventually gave up and became my usual self again after a few months. I had a big realization then: you need to be fully comfortable with who you are to deliver good work, especially in marketing.
Who is your favorite fictional character?
HAL 9000 in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the most interesting characters ever filmed. HAL is an AI that malfunctioned and became a threat to everyone aboard spaceship Discovery 1. It’s creepy as I now work with AI and bots. Can’t help but ask, will they turn into HAL and make human marketers partially obsolete?
On the lighter side, I love Moana. I think she is one of the most evolved Disney characters yet.
Give us a brief history of your career in the industry.
I started my Unilever career in R&D, discovering new molecules and technology for shampoos and hair conditioners. People usually get surprised with that. But yes, I’m a licensed Chemical Engineer.
My passion however has always been storytelling. So, I decided to move out of the laboratory to take on a role in Brand Marketing. I became the Dove Brand Manager in the Philippines, then eventually moved to Singapore to be the Global Brand Manager of Clear. Three years ago, I returned to Manila to take the Head of Media post. It has been an interesting career experience so far. I can say that I’m building brands through logic and magic; with a mind of an engineer and a heart of a marketer.
What do you consider the most underrated and overrated qualities in your field?
The Philippines is not short of talent in marketing, media and advertising. But the people who really stand-out for me are the people who can be logical and intuitive at the same time. I would say intuition is an underrated quality in our field.
In an industry where ingenuity is a valued currency, everyone is pressured to push their boundaries of creativity. This effort sometimes translates well into advertising, sometimes it doesn’t. Creativity to me is an overrated quality.
STRATEGIC PLANNING DIRECTOR,
PHD Media Network Philippines
Describe your role in PHD Media WorldWide.
Currently I am the head of strategy for PHD Philippines, providing strategic directions for integrated media communications, both in pitches and with current clients. But more than that, because of the agency’s real time game changing media planning operating system called Source, I collaborate with PHD’s planners worldwide and provide strategic responses, thought leaders and ideas to different live briefs across the network. And because of its cool gamification aspect, I am currently the #1 player in the world.
Which of the changes in media/communications are you most excited about?
I am excited about how technology has started to shape up how we consume media, and how AI has helped brands and marketers to be better at their jobs. We are going into a phase wherein we’re served with brands that we want to interact with. As consumers, we will finally find ads helpful and exciting, rather than bothersome and annoying. We won’t be skipping ads, we’ll want more of them!
Another exciting change is on how we are increasingly merging with technology. I think that the next level of development in tech will finally remove us away from looking at our screens – with new trackables, wearables and hearables – the world will be our screen. So imagine the level of creativity that will open up in advertising & media. Exciting times!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Traveling to destinations your mom would tell you to stay away from. Earlier this year I went to North Korea during the time when they paraded their nukes, and later this year I’m going to Tibet. Now, I’m doing some research for trips to Iran, Chernobyl, Turkmenistan and to the country that doesn’t exist – Transnistria!
What talent do you want to have most?
Cooking, which includes molecular gastronomy and plating dishes as if they’re art pieces. But sadly, the only talent I have right now is finishing up platefuls upon platefuls of food.
What’s something about you that most people don’t know?
Those who know me know that I am a hyper traveler. I am most likely somewhere outside of Manila during the weekends. But what people don’t know is that during the rare times I am actually in the city, I lock myself at home for 2 days binge watching a whole season of the latest tv series. My life is a big paradox.