History of Advertising

5:40:00 PM

That this particular class wasn’t as jam-packed as the first few came as a surprise to no one. I, too, didn’t even give it a thought when I was handed the list of topics for the year. I mean, seriously – not that I’m proud of my degenerate inclinations, but I had successfully “moused” my way out of history classes in college many times.

History of Advertising | Awesome in Manila

What got me sitting tight this time was a personal promise to grab every opportunity to learn from people who’ve “been there, done that”. It just so happens, too, that among the speakers was one of the most insightful creative directors I’ve worked with, and he looked like he was going to give everyone a show.

The Creative Brief History of Phil. Advertising: A What When Why How Much was held Thursday night, May 22, at B-Side (The Collective, Makati).

The night kicked off with Raw School principal Third Domingo, also CEO of Ideas X Machina, championing the country's first creative director (Andres Bonifashee-yo, yo) and slogans ("Sugod, mga kapatid!"). He also pointed out that instead of mirroring culture, advertising should mold it. That way, we go beyond our role of selling. "We can teach people" and actually make the world a better place.

Publicis JimenezBasic’s Alex Castro recalled what the industry was like in the 70s and 80s – the decades that launched his career from being a copywriter for JR&A. The differences in the way ads were created then (and our current privileges) made for an interesting revisit. For one, they used to shoot with film which makes me wonder how online and offline experience must be like at that time. Interesting to note that the Clio was the most prestigious show then, not Cannes.

Veering away from factual narratives, Castro left the students this advice: “Don’t just make history. Rewrite it.”

"Trabaho nating maglaro. Ang tamad talo." Bobby Vito (DDB) made his points by first presenting the contrasts of old and new, followed by insights and big ideas. From the truck-heavy computers of the past to today's portable gadgets, Vito drew the thought: "Kahit gaano pa kabigat ang computer o trabaho, dapat magaan kang katrabaho." About staying in the know, he pointed out that we've come a long way from getting lost in libraries to Google (boom panes!)...and with that, "wala ka nang excuse!"

Now to answer the question "masaya bang tumanda sa advertising?", Vito nods a yes but says it's a much better feat to create work na "matatandaan". Ending his 10-minuter (-ish), he gave everyone a pretty reasonable tip: "Sa oras na di ka na natuto, magpalit ka na ng trabaho."

With the then's and now's pinned down by previous speakers, Publicis Manila's JJ Henson chose to start his talk with what never changed: how ideas are produced. Ideas, Henson defined, are basically new combinations of old elements. In two words: Star Wars (old elements = good vs evil; new combinations = samurais in space).

"Ideas can be produced the way clothes in a factory are produced" was Henson's rebuttal for all forms of creative block, which he referred to as laziness. This creative director lives by a 40-box principle.
1. Fill up 40 boxes of ideas - no wrong answers.
2. Sleep.
3. Organize ideas into families.
4. Choose the best.
5. Craft (to death).
6. Respect the process.

Asked about the “ingredient” of success, the admen were quick to dismiss the thought. “You have to lose the thinking that there is a miracle solution. Put in the hours,” Domingo advised strongly. Vito adds: “Balansehin ang katotohanan na kahit pag may gusto kang baguhin, hindi ‘yan mangyayari agad. Passion projects take time.”

Now about the secret to staying young, Henson recommends what seems to be the El Dorado for advertising professionals: work-life balance. “Come in at nine (a.m.). Work to death ‘til six (p.m.). Go home.” Word! :)

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