Saturday, September 21, 2013

Retailing: Getting to be more fun in the Philippines

"In the future, advertising will be waged 
not on TV or print but in Retail."  

-- So said my professor back in college.  It was a taunt, a scare, that what we were learning from his class (Visuals for Advertising) in college will most probably be obsolete by the time we have the chance to practice them in our careers.  But no one got scared.  Or nobody listened; maybe no one except me.  Because I did feel a little twitch in my heart, hurting on the thought that my expensive college education will be spent learning obsolete ideas.  So I disagreed in my head about the idea that the future wont be about advertising on ATL and decidedly forget that thought throughout my college years majoring in Advertising.  

But of course my professor was right.  Working abroad, I surmise that he had seen the future of marketing, advertising and retail in a more advanced economy and how it will soon spread to the Philippines.  And so, 10 years after college, 2 internships, 2 ad agency jobs both as a suit and as a writer, more than a year in digital marketing and 4 years doing brand activations, here I am doing RETAIL for a multinational.  Yep, retail, as in in-store.  Partly Shopper Marketing, partly merchandising, partly Activations.  In short, very much Retail.  

This is not my brand.  I think it's even competitive.  But this just shows how retail can be, or is, as captivating as a TVC.  Plus it's closer to purchase.  
The Marketing & Sales industry calls it now "Shopper Marketing."  Or as my official title says - "Field Activations."  Ramble:  Technically they're different but I find them the same.  Shopper Marketing is the thinking part and Field Activations is the execution part.  

And rambling further:  Activations is a very, very, very misunderstood, misjudged and under-recognized part of the IMC mix. Many people just don't get it that while its main output is execution, it's 80% lies in strategy and planning, whether the execution is a promo, merchandising or an event.  Well that's just my number, please don't quote me on that, but yea, that's the amount of time I spent doing these things.  

Anyway, the point is, I think that "Shopper Marketing" is still the plain old 4P's but with zoom-in focus in-store - from the market, now called the shopper, to the promotions.  No?  Let's not debate on this and move on.

So I've spent the past few months scanning and learning the retail landscape and I must say that I'm getting impressed with the quality of work we are doing on retail in the Philippines.  Especially with department stores in malls, they are really focusing now on Shopping Experience.  

I mean, fine, the store ladies in the country's malls have ever been helpful and courteous and pretty since the time the only SM I knew was in Cubao; but even brands' placements on ordinary store shelves have improved displays now versus the old-style, firing range displays.  

Just look at that topshelf above - this is at SM Department Store's Personal Care / Health and Beauty section managed by Watsons.  Lighted glass glorifier, asymmetric acrylic holder, a look book (a look book!), name plates and the actual products themselves are so well put.  They're like a fashion collection in Rustans!  Kidding.  They're like a fashion collection in a branded store!  It's so - Cherie Gil-sosyal!  In SM!  Not even Aura!  In SM Bicutan!  Joke again.  This is in Mega Mall!  :)

I haven't seen advertising from Toni&Guy locally and here is this brand, competing in-store, convincing me to buy a P450 (I think) Pomade versus a P100 Gatsby gel.  And I bought it, (mabuhay)!  Amazing.  Simply amazing how this is so possible now!  This is the Starbucks strategy of Experience and Engagement happening along department store aisles.  

This is from Etude.  Or as they call it, the "House of Etude."  And on display are not toys, but bottles of lotion and hand creams.  If they don't get your attention, you must have had a sad childhood.  Or you're a straight guy.
Foreign brands are entering the Philippines.  International retailers are coming whether with their own brands (Watsons and Wellcome), or through partnerships with local retailers.  Foreign consumer brands are coming in too.  Some US-based brands have long been staples in Philippine stores but other international sellers are also setting up shop like Etude of Korea - bringing with them fresh ways of promoting their products in-store, in the absence of ATL budgets.  Of course all of these, thanks to the growing Philippine economy.  

Given these shifts, I wonder how and why other locally-managed brands still stick to their old promotions formulae.  Some even treat Digital as TV advertising - measuring eyeballs and clicks (sooo 2008).  And whether we call promotions in-store as Retail Marketing or Shopper Marketing or Demo Marketing or Promo Marketing or CRM or whut-ever, the way consumers (in shopper mode) experience and interact with brands and products on store shelves are becoming a key factor in winning the war for the Filipino customers' trial, preference and loyalty.  Truly, and as always, it's time for change.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

God is a DJ

I had a very good and long chat with my friend Vince today who I got to know when I was doing Activations at Globe.  He started out as a radio DJ at NU then continued doing events in an events and activations agency which he now heads.

One thing interesting he said was that God is a DJ.  That sometimes, music comes to you at the right moment as if heaven-sent.  And that moment when your situation jives perfectly with the music that you were hearing at that time, whether from your iPhone or from the taxi's radio, as if on cue, as if you're in an MTV, is a gift specially made for you.

Mine was during my trip to Rome about exactly two years ago.  It was late afternoon and the sun was still high in the Italian sky when I entered the Foro Romano or the Roman Forum.  As a lover of history, walking on the Via Sacra was very thrilling as if I've gone back hundreds of years ago; as if I stepped inside a book and was walking on its pages.

To get me into the mood, I was playing classical music on my iPhone.  And as I walked upward toward the Capitoline rise, I heard a track that was unfamiliar to me.  It was dark and heavy, as if voices under the earth were murmuring a message while a constant drumbeat played in the background in a mood of suspense.  I thought of moving forward through the playlist but I was distracted with the emerging beauty I was seeing.  The view of the whole Forum slowly emerged from atop.

Then as I reached the peak of the rise, I saw it, the whole Forum.  And as if on cue, I heard that the track had a glorious rise in its melody.  The dark tone reached a peaceful height and plateaued.  Then angelic voices in a triumphant chorus continued onto a peaceful melody.  As I watched the glory of Ancient Rome.  A wild fantasy come true, unexpected and unplanned.    

I walked again down the road and took note of the ruins of the ancient Roman Empire, the Roman Senate, buildings and basilicas.  The music was still playing on my iPhone until I reached the House of the Vestal Virgins.  And there the melody settled in a peaceful harmony of instruments and voices.

After the track, I looked at my iPhone and read the name of the song.  It was Requiem Aeternam by Rutter.  And after reading the name of the track, as I climbed the old stairs going up the Palatine Hill, I felt in an instant -- that moment was given as a gift only for me, most specially for me.  Now I acknowledge that at that moment,  God certainly was my DJ.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Salamat Globe, kita tayong muli. :)


(Pakinggan ang “Iisang bangka” ng The Dawn habang binabasa for full effect.  Ito po ang link)

I just want to say express again my deepest and sincerest gratitude to everyone I’ve worked with during my stay here in Globe, especially during my Brand Activation/Event days.  Thank you, from the deepest most unfathomable reaches of my heart, thank you.  Hindi sapat ang mga salita upang mapasalamatan ko kayong lahat, sa inyong tulong at suporta, tiwala at pakiki-isa, sa inyong pagod at talino, sa ating mga pinagsaluhang katuwaan, katatawanan, at kaligayan, sa ating pag-sulong. 

At higit sa lahat, salamat sa pagkakabigan.  Kahit na may mga hindi tayo mapag-kasunduan, salamat sa pakikinig.  Kahit na may iba-iba tayong dahilan at nais patunguhan, salamat sa pag-iintindi.  At kahit na may iba-iba tayong mga pakay at pag-uugali, madalas tayong kumikilos ng sabay-sabay at magkasama, nagkaka-isa.  Truly in the direst and hardest situations we see each other’s grace and become friends.  And that’s what I will never forget in Globe.  Na nagkaroon ako ng mga kaibigan sa buong Pilipinas. 

Sa pagkaka-kilala ko sa inyo, at pag-sama sa inyo, mula sa pag-kain ng puki-puki at pigar-pigar, Cebu boneless lechon, Durian ice cream, at kung ano-anong uri ng Pancit, at sa ating pagharang ng mga batang frat sa Pampanga (kung saan naitatag ang samahang Alpha Phi Chupapi), at pagpapalipad ng daan-daang mga kabataan sa kung saan-saang bahagi ng Pilipinas para sa Campus Connect Super Showdown (sayang, hindi ako sumikat), nakita at naranasan ko ang ganda ng Pilipinas at sarap ng pagiging Pilipino.  Talaga palang it’s more fun, lalo na ‘pag may boss na napagke-kwentuhan.  Joke.

So, muli, salamat.  Sana muli tayong magka-kita-kita at magka-ulayaw sa hinaharap.  Reminder, please, bayaran niyo ang mga mahal (mahal meaning “beloved,” at hindi “pricey”) nating suppliers.  Naka-PR po ang lahat ng  events ko at may karampatang Waiver of Competition (may kopya po si Ms. Mal ng lahat ng iyon).  Mabuhay po kayo, at lagi, sulong sa liwanag.   

"Amidst everything, we put up a gallant fight not just sometimes, but all the time, for our business, for the lives of the people we serve and for the people who work to serve them."

Sa huling pagkakataon,

Ian Francis Velasco
Brand Events - Globe Prepaid
Consumer Marketing
Globe Telecom

0927 889 4152 (Naka-GoSAKTO po ako)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

How I understand Brand Activation to be

"If you don't manage your career, someone else will" -- a thought I read from one of the LinkedIn articles which I found to be true in an instant.  And how timely, as I myself have been struggling these past few months with the thought of where I'd want to lead my career to.  Opportunities abound, mentors have different advice coming from different perspective but as I review my past performance, what's clear is that I've always been passionate about commercial communication and I've found my joy in Brand Activations.  The ability to create and leave experiences is, for me, the most exciting and effective way to communicate messages and leave branded memories.  And all advertising is truly that - a memory, which companies hope you bring with you at the grocery.  But people don't just remember images and sounds from a TV screen.  They also remember it through their other senses, how their senses interact with their surroundings and how they experience human interaction.  These are also very strong memories that TV can't capture - that Brand Activations can.  And that's why I think I'll choose to stay in Brand Activations.  Because orchestrating full human experiences to deliver messages is still something many have yet to believe in. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

My heroes and the Silliman Idol

As I've been in a reflective mood lately, rediscovering the inner me based on my core values, I had to reach again to my heroes for inspiration. Sure, Jose Rizal is my number 1 idol but I think, medyo masyado nang malayo sa reality ngayon si Rizal. While my primordial values - such as faith in humanity and justice, and the struggle to fight for them - remain anchored on Rizal, I still need more contemporary heroes. Steve Jobs is one - the dreamer, rebel and creative hero that he was. More than a technical genius, he was a marketing genius. And he didn't have to rely on FGDs and tons of data to know the market, he was attuned to the market's social backdrop. So when he fought against the Orwellian tech giants of yore, he didn't have to consult urban men, aged 20-3-, upper C SEC. He just knew what the social millieu was, because he was part of it.

Zoom in to more recent times, and in a more relevant industry, another hero remains fighting - the controversial Alexy Bogusky - who made a name in the advertising industry, and went directly against it. Now, he's back in advertising. The genius in genius is the ability of a person to revolt, even against his own self. While his actions in the latter part of his career at CP+B were much frowned-upon, most probably because of the effect of his mental maturation (or masturbation) on hapless employees, I think it was a needed process for the man. Now, he's turned over again - back into advertising's sly charm - but still maintaining the ethics he fought for. I can sense that now in a new campaign for New Balance, using values and not gimmickry as emotional points (showcasing American values, or belief in America) for selling. He is still an adman, but now enlightened and renewed. Anyway, more of him here.

So, I was in Dumaguete recently as Globe Prepaid sponsored (and managed) the Silliman Idol 2012.  Here are some photos to show why Silliman stands at par with the best universities in Philippines.  Again, I subscribe to the idea that universities are not just measured by lessons they teach - but more so, by the culture they create among their students and within the various communities that comprise the whole university social ecosystem. 

Pao Garrido, Globe Trade Marketing Manager for Negros Island, with a random cutie skater from Silliman (I assume).  :p
Silliman University Icon - the Silliman Portal

A showcase of creativity during SU Founder's Day - the booth fair

Globe Prepaid presents the 2012 Silliman Idol!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ang tungo ng musikang Pilipino

Noong humiwalay si Rico Blanco sa Rivermaya, pinakinggan ko yung album niya at naalala kong sinabi sa aking sarili at sa mga kaibigan - iyon ang bagong tunog ng OPM. Hindi na lang limitado sa tatlong gitara at isang drumset ang tunog tunog ng OPM. Pumapasok na yung digital accompaniment - na may taste - sa tunog ng radyo. Pero matapos sumikat ng "Antukin," "Yugto," "Your Universe," wala na ulit akong bagong narinig na tunog sa radyo, o Youtube man lang. Maraming bagong sumikat, whether you like them or not, tulad ng Calla Lily, Hale (lol) at mas mainstream na Sugarfree, Itchyworms at Rocksteddy. Nandun pa rin ang mga diyos ng rakrakan - Parokya at Kamikazee. Pero, para sa akin, isa lang ang tunog nilang lahat. Siguro may mangilan na aangat o hihiwalay gaya ng Urbandub at yung eccentric electro na Up Dharma. Pero basically, isang tunog, isang klase ng pagsusulat na puro kalokohan, kakulitan, kabiguan sa pag-ibig at kung anu-ano pang teenager issues sa buhay. Ang nakaka-irita pa, yung mga taong lagpas na sa teenage songs, teenage angst pa rin ang kinakanta.

Ang isang bituin na hindi bumagsak sa aking paningin e si Gloc 9. "Simpleng tao" pa lang kinakanta niya, mahal ko na siya. May kakaibang tunog; ang pinakamagaling nating rapper pagdating sa skeelz na parang armalite kung mag-rap. Magaling magsulat si Francis M, ang unang hari ng Pinoy Rap, pero sa aking henerasyon, una sa listahan si Gloc 9 mula pagsulat hanggang banat ng dila. Lalo na 'yung kantang "Jologs," na most probably e hindi napakinggan o pinandirihan ng mainstream market, sobrang astig yon. "Mga taga-Binangonan, mga jologs, mga jologs." I mean, sino naman magiisip na ilagay sa lyrics ang nakaka-baluktot dilang pangalan ng Binangonan? Maliban pa don, nanggagaling sa posisyon ng empathy yung kanta - mula sa perspektibo ng mga kabataang dinudusta ng lipunan. Hindi ako jologs, ayoko maging jologs at hindi ko gusto ang ka-jologsan, pero nirerespeto ko ang conteksto ng kanilang paglantad sa lipunan. Ang kanilang dahilan. Kaya rin respetado ko si Gloc 9, dahil bilang manunulat, nailalabas niya sa awit ang saloobin ng isang grupong isinasantabi sa gilid-gilid ng pambansang kamalayan.

Tapos lumabas ang "Upuan," isang social critique sa pamahalaan. Napakinggan sa radyo, pinatugtog sa YouTube with more than 4M views for the past 3 years sa Youtube. At ngayong huli naman, lumabas ang album ni Gloc 9 na MKNM o Mga Kwento ng Makata. Pinakamalapit syempre sa aking puso ang kantang "Sirena" for obvious reasons. Muli, pinatutunayan ni Gloc 9 na nagsisilbi siyang salamin sa mga katotohanan sa ating lipunan. Mga katotohanang itinatago o isinasantabi ng mga mata at tengang "kabanalan,kabutihan at kagandahan" lamang ang pinipiling pagtuunan. Mga katotohanang hindi pinapansin ng isang nagbubulag-bulangang "society" na pinamumunuan ng mga alta sociedad (hindi alta sa siyudad, ok?). Kung ganito ang ating mga mang-aawit at manunulat ng mga awit, magkaroon ng bayag gaya ni Gloc 9, baka maging mas relevant sila sa buhay pinoy, lagpas sa relevance ng mensaheng pang-sawing teenager. Hindi naman lahat kasi ng teenager ngayon sawi, marami nang tagumpay na kabataan ngayon.

May ilang taon na ring sumisikat sa Youtube ang Fliptop. Laban ng rap ng Pinoy urban rappers sa kung saan-saan, mula garahe hanggang restaurant, hanggang sa malalaking venues gaya ng courts. Noong una, nanonood ako ng mga Fliptop sa Youtube. Hindi ako makapaniwala na milyun-milyon ang nanonood sa kanila online. Ngunit hindi rin kataka-taka dahil matibay naman ang rap foundation ng Pinas na halaw sa pagka-hilig natin sa kulturang Kano. Hindi kataka-taka na madadala natin dito yung rap battles sa Amerika. Noong una, hindi ko gets kasi puro galit at panlalait lang naman ang sinasabi ng mga sumasali. Parang, ano namang nakakatuwa don, naglalaitan lang naman sila, macho lang sila, pero para silang mga bakla sa kanto kung mag-away. Puro salita. Pero fine, nasa nature ng rap na puro salita yon. Ang nakaka-tuwa namang aspeto sa Fliptop e mga "Makata" ang tawag nila sa sarili nila. Nagkaroon ng aspetong Pilipino ang rap: Makata. Tama, dahil hinasang mga salita naman talaga ang kanilang piling sandata. At minsan pa nga'y walang kurap nilang babansagan ang mga sarili bilang nag-Ba-Balagtasan. Siya nga! Siyang tunay!

Ang hindi ko inasahan sa Fliptop, makakapasok sila sa mainstream. Heto sila sa Youtube, hindi na nag-aaway laban sa isa't-isa, ngunit may kanya-kanya nang music videos. Ngunit nanatili ang kurot ng kanilang mensahe. Ito si Loonie - isa sa kanilang hanay. At ang pinakamahalagang aspeto sa pag-angat ng Fliptop at ng Fliptoppers, ay ang pinanggalingan ng mga makata. Hindi sila manufactured, o pinili mula sa magagandang pamantasan (but doesn't mean hindi aral), hindi naman sa wala silang hitsura (mukha pa rin naman silang tao) pero hindi sila yung kilala nating gwapo't magaganda. Hindi galing sa yaman. Walang apelyidong kadikit ng isang malaking pamilya. Ngunit pinakikinggan ang mga katotohanang binibitawan. Disiplinado sa pagsulat. May sense. Practical. At kahit na mukhang gago, maaaninag ang kabutihan ng puso.

Panghuli, kapansin-pansin ang urban landscape ng Fliptop. Malamang, wala namang nag fi-fliptop sa bukirin. Pansin ang epekto ng reach ng internet sa mga kabayanan na nagsisilbing vehicle ng tunog ng Fliptop. Basta abot ng Youtube, naaabot ng Fliptop. Sa ganong lagay, kakabit din ng liriko at himig ng Fliptop ang himig ng rap ng mundo. Para bang takatak ng makinilya ang tumatalak na rapper. Mabilis, nagbabago, at sa ibang banda, progresibo. Iwan na ang harana. Lipas na ang mabagal na ligawan. Sing-bilis ng buka ng bibig ng makata ang pagbabago ng pag-inog ng mundo.

At ang pinaka-paborito ko namang bagong mang-aawit ay si Quest. Sa isang kanta niya ko siya nakilala, ang "Sige lang." Dalawang bagay ang nakaka-akit sa kanya. Yung una, napaka-urban ng MTV niya. Para bang sing-urban ng Maynila ang ibang urban centers ng mundo gaya ng New York at Toyko -- mula sa araw-araw na pagsakay ng tren papasok at pauwi sa trabaho, hanggang sa nagkalat na mga gusaling bumabalot sa buong Kamaynilaan. Isang kagubatan ng konkretong humihinga sa polusyon - kung saan araw-araw tayong nabubuhay sa ating maliliit na mga sariling kwento. Mga kwento ng pag-aral sa MRT para sa exam mamaya, o pag-apply sa trabaho sa Makati. Mga kwento ng araw-araw na paglakad sa tabi ng ingay at dungis ng mga jeep at bus ng EDSA. Mga maliliit ng kwento ng paglaban para sa ikagaganda ng ating buhay at ng buhay ng ating mga mahal sa buhay.

Dito papasok si Quest, may bagong tunog at indayog na world-class na maiintindihan at pakikinggan ng iba't ibang lahi ng mundo mula Amerika hanggang Asya. Dito siya, nagbibigay ng isang bagong mensahe sa mga Pilipino - ang mensahe ng Pag-asa. Gaya ni Gloc 9, umaaligwas sa mga awit ng panliligaw, galit/angst, at pa-emo ng mga banda ang mga kanta ni Quest. Mapanghikayat at puno ng positive vibes - gaya ng nararamdaman ng dumaraming Pilipino dahil sa mga magagandang balitang ating mas naririnig ngayon. Inilalapit ang Pilipino sa ritmo ng nagbabagong mundo kung saan hindi maliit ang Pilipino, o kimi, o api, kaawa-awa at mahirap, ngunit kinikilala at respetado, progresibo, hindi dahil sa una tayong pinuri ng iba, kundi dahil napatunayan natin sa ating mga sariling kaya nating magtagumpay.

Marami pang trends at pagbabagong umaangat sa OPM. Nariyan din ang mga bagong mang-aawit na nakikilala, una gamit ang kanilang katutubong wikang panlalawigan, hanggang mapakinggan sa Maynila at sa buong Pilipinas. Ngunit, wari ko, o umaasa ako, na ang tatlong ito - sino Gloc 9, Loonie kasama ng iba pang makata ng Fliptop, at ni Quest, ang kasalukuyang gumuguhit ng direksyon ng Pinoy Music. Patunay sila na una (1), nananatiling salamain ng lipunan ang ating musika. Ang isang musikang patuloy na lumilikha ng bagong mga ritmo, tunog at mensahe ay senyalis na buhay pa ang lipunang pinanggagalingin nito. Nag-iisip pa tayo. Lumilikha pa tayo. Ikalawa (2), nanggagaling sa gilid-gilid ng lipunan ang mga bagong sisikat na trends na kikilanin ng lahat. Maaaring maliit pa lang ang kanilang boses. Maaaring kaunti pa lang ang nakakakilala sa kanila, pero naniniwala ako, mas sisikat pa sila. Mas pakikinggan, mas maiintindihan. At ikatlo (3), urban ang backdrop ng baong musikang Pilipino. Dahil urban ang ating mga concern from urban problems to urban dreams and urban hopes. Ang musikang relevant sa atin, urban din dapat ang tunog, mensahe at conteksto.

Bilang isang tagapagmasid ng ating kasaysayan, paulit-ulit kong sasabihing may pag-asa pa tayo bilang isang bayan - isang bayan kung saan nanatili ang mga manunulat at mga makata, mula pa sa tinta ng pluma ni Rizal, nagsisilbi bilang mga mandirigma at bayani ng lipunan -- lumalaban para sa patuloy na pag-unlad ng bayan, pang-angat ng lahi, para sa katotohanan at katarungan.

May pagasa ang musika, at may musika ang pagasa, kaibigan. Sabi nga ni Quest, at matagal nang sinasabi ng Globe, "walang imposible." Sulong lang, sige lang, sige lang.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Buddha said that man's work is to find his work and devote himself to it.  In more technical terms, I think, what he's saying to find your dharma - your duty.  Is it your duty to be a leader?  A creator?  A farmer?  Is it your duty  to create music?  Teach lessons?  Feed the world?  Or simply to clean this earth - from the office to the shores?  Whatever it may be, the road to this conclusion is one of the hardest, if not the hardest, roads we have to travel in life.  Some may have been set on their directions from childhood.  Some have yet to find their work at old age. But where ever you are on this journey, finding this conclusion brings you to a level of joy and enlightenment that makes you a better participant in this universe. A better person, a better man. And if you've become better in your humanity, aren't you a bit closer to becoming the best that you can be?

Some believe in destiny. Some believe in making their own destiny. But I think it is both. To achieve your destiny, you have to make it. Sounds bullshit but it really makes sense. And there's a lot of true bullshit on this Earth. Like the bullshit that you are your own enemy. Actually, it is true but it is complicated. The truth is, there's a part of you that's created by the society around you - with all the hypocrisies, vanities and pretentions society has, together with the best it has to offer, its virtues. That is your enemy. And the you that fights it - or that should fight it - is the you that believes in what's best for you. You fight to live the way you want to live - and people call you greedy. You fight to live simply and society calls you backward and lazy. Any which way you go, society has something bad to say about you. So why don't you just go on the path that makes you happy? Only, you have to do the first step left, right or center - despite society.

And ain't the travel more enjoyable if you're with a friend or a lover to travel with? :) If you aren't lucky to find your conclusion, it's a different kind of luck to at least find a person you can journey with.

So, here's to journeying on.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Nokia Lumia Philippine launch events - Globe vs. the other

Although this is not MY event, I take pride in being a member of the team that put this up.  Globe launches the Nokia Lumia in the Philippines - and boy do we know how to do an event.

The venue itself speaks of Nokia Lumia's key strategy and proposition - interaction.  The venue was intimate and very upscale at the Beso Cucina Vinoteka, Bonifacio High Street Central.  Any corner you look at, our event was full of happy people talking with each other, conversing with free wine and tapas in hand.  VIPs -- members of the Philippine traditional and online media, online and TV personalities, corporate executives and society page mainstays -- enjoyed themselves inside Beso with more free wine and food.  And at the sidelines were the important, intimate, person-to-person discussions about the Nokia Lumia.  More than anything, the event captured what the Lumia wants to do - achieve a mood of youthful playfulness and interaction.  On the visual level, our event was also spot-on with Lumia's campaign - focusing on, playing with and scattering colorful cubes all over the place.  Even the interactive display panels were based on the cube design.  I am not surprised that Globe's launches and parties are events where VIPs want to be invited in - no forcing (or bribing, or politicking) needed.  :D 

Meanwhile, this is how the competition did theirs.  Of course it was decent.  Their strength is in the production of their merchandising / branding elements. But two major points they missed on:  1) the mood - it seems from the video - is stiff if not formal.  It's trying-hard-young attended by old people (!).  Even the set-up, despite the lavishness of LEDs all over, did not elicit the playfulness that the brand (should have) wanted to achieve.  The set-up is super old-school.  and 2) they missed on the interaction.  As always, trademark (insert company name), it was all about their brand.  They're being the number 1, etcera, forgetting that the event, and the story of the event, is about people connecting.  Their executional flaw can be summarised into the very adjective they use to describe their company: big, too big.    

In summary, the Globe event talked about the Nokia Lumia and how it empowers people's connections and interactions, as empowered by Globe Postpaid.  The other event talked about their company.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


There are times in my life, working in events, when I get to be invited to the events of other people, brands, team mates, and other companies. And in these instances when I am not overly cautious of and worrying about what's happening on stage, with the lights, the script and the program, the host, with the guests, VVIP's, the security, waiters, the tab, the gate-crashers and other elements independently moving of, or interdependently moving with, each other, I enjoy the event the way it should be. A party's meant to be partied. And sometimes I let go. Call it BS but I find it spiritual to let go of one's self every now and then. It's part of crashing one's self, losing one's self in happiness and chaos so you may find yourself whole again, and appreciate your wholeness, tomorrow.

So to you out there, soul brother and sister, through space in between oceans and mountains, I enjoy life with you. Cheers to life!

On Living, Loving, and Giving in Globe

Fortune Cookie: "We make a Living by what we get. WE make a Life by what we give."

Not a lot of people believe in fortune telling. Much less believe in a fortune delivered in a crisp wafer cookie. But from time to time, we chance upon a good one; a piece of paper that tells us exactly where we are at, or exactly where we want to go. The "fortune" featured above may very well encapsulate the career of one of Globe Telecom's most dependable employees, who makes a life in Globe by giving his time, effort, dedication, and his genuine concern, and who incidentally, recently uploaded it on his Facebook page.

Ian Velasco is a member of the Activations Team for Globe Prepaid and supporting MDS. He has been with Globe since October 2008, hired initially as a Marketing Manager for Multimedia Business Group, transferring soon after to the Digital Marketing team of Consumer Marketing. In January 2010, he joined Brand Events where he is still currently assigned - planning, organizing, and executing marketing projects in a manager that only he can. "To be more accurate, within Consumer Marketing, I'm in a department called Convergent Communication Channels, aka C3, which services Brand Groups, one of wish is Globe Prepaid. Within C3, I'm part of the Brand Activations / Events team support Globe Prepaid Acquisitions and Usage," he explains.

"I like working in Globe because it is a challenger company. Therefore, as a challenger, Passion is the attitude of everyone from Ernest to our ranks and I like that in my working environment. Also as a challenger, I am encouraged, if not mandated, to find creative solutions to our problems. Here at Globe, crazy, radical ideas are welcome to find solutions for us, and our customers. I like that as a creative individual who works not to build or maintain but to break boundaries," he said when asked why he likes working in Globe.

It can be said that in the more than three ears that he has been with the company, he has indeed and continues to challenge the system and break boundaries as he dedicates and gives a big part of his life to Globe, which in return, has given him a great sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. Ian is know as someone who is always looking after hi Ka-Globe. Maybe he knows that those same people whom he looks after, actually take care of him as well.

Ian produces regional concerts that are designed to target potential Globe Prepaid subscribers and serve as a communication platform to promote specific products and how they work. Ian is a good leader a good team player, showing genuine appreciation and empathy, and knowing the value of each of the roles played by the members of his team.

During most of his projects, he goes out of his way to ensure that all the members of his team are given good accommodations, have had enough time to sleep, provided with enough food, etc. And after each project, he personally thanks everyone for a job well done. He has developed close friendships with, and has served as an inspiration to his co-workers. Known to be very personal in his ways of showing gratitude, after his most recent project, the Vice Ganda concert, although no one told him to do so, he threw a thanksgiving party at his house to show appreciation to all those who have supported him.

A good example of The Globe Way value of making a difference, he takes care of his co-workers as he would his customers, invests his time in them, and helps them perform better and succeed.

Ian is into recycling. What seems to be unimportant to most people, he is very passionate about. He is known as someone who goes through the length of staying and waiting long after an event has finished to ensure that the TPA egresses his events according to his wishes, overseeing that the items that can still be used for an upcoming or a future project and handled and cared for properly.
"Yes, I promote recycling of our merch," he said when asked about reusing his merchandising materials. He explains "last year, when we did a series of seven events, we only ordered three sets of merch rotating them among regional events and using all of them again the culminating activity here in Manila." Caring like an owner, he saves the company money while doing his share to contribute to the savings of the environment.

Ad astra per aspera, which roughly means "to the stars through hardships," is the dictum that he goes by with. No problem or task is so daunting for him, and when he is faced with such, he simply braves it, and moves forward and aspires for great results. Applied to what he does in Globe, he says: "Amidst everything, we put up a gallant fight not just sometimes, but all the time, for our business, for the lives of the people we serve and for the people who work to serve them."

By living, and inspiring others to tread the Globe Way, he is a Ka-Globe worth emulating. Sometime last year, he wrote this as his Facebook status:

"6:10PM here at Globe Telecom Plaza, Marketing office, broadcasting Love to all. Sa lahat ng office-workers sa buong Pilipinas, secretary o messenger, boss o manager, sa lahat ng stress, depressed, pagod, lito at kabado, 'etong para sa 'yo -- OK LANG YAN. :D Umuwi ka, lumingon sa likod mo, kahit ano sabihin ng tao sa paligid mo, palpak man o panalo, may nagmamahal sa 'yo. Love yah."

Undoubtedly for Ian, the life and love that he keeps is that which he gives away.

- Icon, Globe Telecom's Intranet Magazine
April 11, 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mom, I'm glad you came. =)

How do you greet someone a happy birthday when that person has passed away? Many people believe good people go to heaven. Many say, they're waiting for judgment. My belief is simple - we go back to the eternity of the Universe, which makes death not a scary end but a glorious destination. I subscribe to the belief that we are particles of the Universe and that at birth, we are lent time to experience physical consciousness through the gift and wonder of senses; an experience we call life. This world then is a very, very special place for this experience and we are extremely lucky to go through it. Each life on earth is a rarity in the wideness of space and each birth, each arriving and awakening a consciousness, therefore is a gift of immeasurable worth.

I'm therefore thankful that my mom's life was one experience worth having. It was a beautiful life of adventures, challenges and successes shared with friends and family. What I remember now of her are not really the times we spent together but her journeys she made on her own - that trip to the province one summer with Tita Baby when they were kids, her daily long walk to the school from Camp Aguinaldo, the suitors she had, the clothes she sew for herself, her part-time work during college - solo challenges that made her strong and unique. And while I remember her for who she was on her own, I'm definitely thankful how her life has affected and inspired mine. She's Christian but not overtly religious - finding in her life inconsistencies between what she learned in her challenges versus what were taught to her. She was a beautiful rebel - questioning first before accepting and accepting what's true in this world, not what should be according to some. She was wise as a mother could get but ever curious like a child; ever beautiful. The entirety of her was a wonder of nature, a glimpse of the beauty of the eternal.

Each life is a rarity not only in its physical presence versus the vastness of the universe but also as a moment in history. Our lives are on their own, rare experiences that only one person can go through in one's own limited lifetime. Each on of us is a limited edition. And my mom was one limited edition gift I'm glad and joyful to have had. She was an experience on her own that I remember now in sunny summers, cold teas and in laughter. Now she's back up there, in eternity, in the universe, in space. She's back to what she was before, a particle, an essence of the eternal, unconscious but still beautiful. She's now dust, also light; a star I look up to every clear night. I don't desire to see her living once again, breathing in physicality. But I do look forward to joining her again in the peaceful, beautiful, glorious eternity of the light-filled universe.

So how do I greet her a happy birthday? Just like this. In being glad she came.

I love and miss you mom. :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Events safety. And growing old.

The idea that age slowly cripples a person into becoming less than who he/she is at his peak, I think, is true. Nature designed animals to give way to the young for continuous improvement and evolution. Thankfully for humans, age has its benefits - but the crippling effect on the body is inescapable. After the week of my Baguio event, and stress over planning the next events, my body just gave in.

Large part to blame - is this parasol tent.

Now I blame the events people of San Miguel Beer for popularizing this dangerous device which supposedly protects people from rain or sunshine. While it may function as intended in some areas, I dare say that these contraptions are huge safety hazards. This is the third time I've used this device and it's the third time I had a safety problem with it.

When we were in Tarlac, that tent did not only protect people from the rain, it also collected rain. So much so that after a few minutes of hard rain, I called an emergency to evacuate all people underneath it as it showed dangers of collapse. And collapse it did. Now in Baguio, the same kind of tent gave me security headaches. As the concert was nearing its end when Gloc 9 went up the stage, winds became increasingly strong. I was afraid that some of the strings holding the tent might have snapped and after inspection, our security found out that indeed one of the strings had snapped already. Thankfully, some members of the audience held on to it so they can watch without a part of the tent flapping on their heads. We got that string back and I placed security to watch all the strings that were keeping the tent erect. Two security personnel were also positioned at the foot of the pole to guard it in case the strings snap and the pole falls. After the event, soon as we cut off one string, three consecutive strings snapped.

S0 why are the San Miguel event people to blame? Because they popularized the use of these tents - despite the dangers they pose to the people underneath them. It looks safe and effective but I should say that its usage is highly dependent on the area you're going to use them in. It also gives the wrong sense of safety to event organizers who think that these tents will protect their events from rains or harsh sunlight, ergo ensuring their success in terms of audience attendance. Remember that event in Europe where strong gushes of wind blew big tents in the middle of a concert? Thankfully that has not happened here.

To be fair and honest, I haven't found a solution in solving the problem of rain during events. But again, and I reiterate, I don't think that these tents are the best solution. In fact, they're traps that endanger not only the audience but the organizers themselves who are responsible for any mishap or accident that these tents pose to bring to their customers.

So in short, yep, those tents stressed me a lot.

Meanwhile, speaking of Europe, I have another dream event in mind:

Now can we do that here? Of course! The organizers here only need to believe that the market is ready. And I think the market is - if only they un-snooty-fy electronic music which alienates a big portion of the Filipino music market. Imagine having this in Luneta during sunset - daaamn, that would be fantastic!

Now thankfully, this music invigorates the youth in me. Thanks to Tomorrowland whose music and energy escapes the physical and actual and continues to inspire beyond its geography and time. It gives me something to emulate, to try to be. It's like an event idol that I look up to. So, despite the stress-induced stomach aches, here I am still planning and working to move on. Despite the creeping age, tomorrow promises to be a good day.

Sugod sa liwanag.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Without talent - your black leather vest will never rock

When my Agency told me that the main act was going to be late, program starts at 9PM and Rocksteddy wont arrive until 11PM, we knew we needed a good front act to sustain the energy of people waiting. They said I shouldn't worry as the main band sent a front act of their choice. And coming from a good experience two years ago with Kamikazee who brought a then-upcoming rock band as their front act, I again agreed to be pleasantly surprised.

So the front act band's guitars and drum guys went up the stage as the introduction was being VO'ed. The script talked about passionate individuals grouping together to make music. The VO listed their previous different gigs then I heard that they regularly perform in a casino. Casino? That made me skeptical. The three vocalists went up the stage and to my horror, my skepticism turned into a horrifying reality. Black leather vest over a black shirt for the guy, short denim skirt for the girl in high heels, and a black dress for another girl - the "rock" cliche didn't end. Kulang na lang kumanta sila ng Aegis. And unless the theme was music from the 80's when black meant rock, I was pretty sure that this band would be off-target and will fail to excite the waiting audience. They started singing some slow tunes and when I asked them to sing faster songs, they pulled out a clear book and placed it on a stand. Wow. Videoke ba 'to? If the students walked out due to boredom and lack of connection to the band, I would have joined them. My only solution to add excitement was to ask some student dancers to dance in front of the stage fronting audience. Pampa-dagdag visuals at movement sa harap, dagdag texture and attitude that was clearly lacking from the front act. Pasalamat and banda, libre lang sila or else, I would have asked for them to leave the stage and I would have demanded a refund.

Outside of the dancers, I could not do anything but ask the agency where Rocksteddy was already and the by-minute report of the roadie as to where they were from NLEX to SCTEX to the long provincial road from Tarlac to Dagupan felt agonizingly, eternally slow. When the van arrived through the back-gate of U-Pang situated right behind the stage, it felt like God has gone down on Earth to save me and the rest of the audience from bad performing. Rocksteddy finally arrived - at 11:20PM.

In fairness, the reason why they were late - I think they were shooting a gin commercial - was both a bad thing and a good thing. Bad thing for the obvious reason that we had to wait for them, but also good as alcohol never fails to bring GV to the band. I've seen Rocksteddy do their routine program in our concerts across the country but this time it was different. Teddy, usually boisterous and naughty, was a little different that night as he was more casual, more direct and was just generally funnier than usual. His scripted lines and antics had more oomph last Friday; it had more kick. The sloppy response of the lights guy - the guy who controls the spotlight, pars and moving heads - to Teddy's directions made Teddy's antics funnier as the two didn't always connect creating gaps in the program that elicited witty comments from the vocalist. Just look at his face man; that night Teddy wasn't just a Rock Star, he was a confident sex god.

I'll end this post with a note on another band called J2K. They're a local band, actually from U-Pang, and I must say that they could have a great future ahead of them as a band should they be managed well and should they have the talent to write their own songs. They're young, three members of the band are cute, they connect with their audience and they play really well. It was easy for them to get giggles from the girls and screams from other fans. They knew what to sing and knew what to do and say in between songs, very confident for teens. I heard that the agency has already used them in other events and I encouraged them to get this band more. I hope to see them again in one of my concerts hopefully singing not as a front act, but as the main band. Great job guys! :)

As always sa events ni Ian, walang nasaktan, walang umuwing lugi at luhaan, walang hindi kami (Globe and our messages) matatandaan.

Sa Globe, go lang nang go! :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

So it begins.

The event season for me has started and like the past three years, I start again in Central Luzon.

It's totally different this year, though on the surface it looks the same. The huge reduction in production budget is the biggest challenge. And this so far has been the biggest cut. It will burden me the whole year, so too will it challenge the people I work with. The people who do the legwork of the event and the people who need or requested the event. But challenges are always welcome. Whether the philosophy behind that decision is realistic or not, strategic or not, will be put to test and I am so ok to see an execution fail because of it - just to prove a point. Just learned a Japanese proverb today - we learn no lessons in victory. How ironic, especially in this season of rejoicing over the past year's successes.

Anyway, I think I can write three posts based on this concert so let this one be a kick-start. It's gonna be a busy week ahead with two more events coming up in two weeks. And some minor, tasks.


One event down; on to the next.

Sugod sa liwanag!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I write communication plans for a hobby

While it's not true that I don't have enough work to keep my mind full, I must say that by training, I am accustomed to executing things after a rigorous process of strategizing and I ergo sometimes miss this time-consuming crafting.

Now, since the comm. strategizing is done for my brand by other people - people who are paid to do the strategizing - my input in the comm. process is limited to my executions. Sometimes it is challenging because I have to make sense of the strategy laid down for me, even if I disagree with it. Sometimes it's easy because I only think of natural executional extensions of the original idea, if brilliant and brilliantly crafted. Which is rare.

So sometimes I do my own planning and comm. strategizing for brands for myself, to challenge myself. It's weird. But it's like crafting a beautiful chair you can never sell to make a profit. It's weird that a business function, business being ruled by numbers, can become a craft and art you devote your time to.

They say advertising is both art and science. But I guess you'll never arrive at labeling it art if you don't make something beautiful for its own sake as a source and form of self-actualization.