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ISSUE 3 Apr–Jun 2017

a i g l a n o st

editor’s note

They couldn’t be more wrong. Revisiting the past has proven to be important for success in the future. Gone are the days where constant revamping of brands was the norm. A time where brands would compete with each other who had the freshest idea, changing up their identities, logos, representation, thinking that the crazier the shift, the better it was in the eye of the consumers. Perhaps then it was a great idea. Now, the rawest, grittiest, most nude form of advertising is in demand—and where else would we go back to than simpler times? In comes class a’s nostalgia issue. In a study done by the Journal of Consumer Research entitled, “Nostalgia Weakens the Desire for Money,” people are willing to invest of things that remind them of the past. Millennials and generation Z place a strong sentimental value to the past moreso than previous generations. Through a domino effect, brands such as Coca-Cola, Nintendo, Lucky Me, and many others have all rebranded and have become more sincere and more straightforward in their advertising. Items of the past such as vinyl records and cassette tapes are starting to rise in sales because of a more “authentic” sound. We’re all riding the nostalgia high, and brands following suit. For this issue of class a, we explore the inner trappings of everything retro. In the world of fashion, the online retail space is dominated by retrosexual fashion, from the 80s cold shoulder to the 90s ripped jeans. We talk to 8-bit fiction, a social media phenomenon famous for their Nintendo/Atari inspired art style combined with freeverse poetry. Our roundtable discussion, “The Huddle Room,” features the ever-looming topic of the quarter-life crisis, a long-awaited talk that has been the forefront in the minds many young professionals. With the trend of nostalgia on the rise, we are inclined to turn to someone close to us and reminisce, “Remember the good ol’ days?” A fleeting bittersweet feeling permeates our skin and leaves us with a sense of longing. When remembering the times gone by becomes the driving force of business, we don’t have time to forget. It is as simple as that.

Angel V. Guerrero Editor-in-Chief

the team

President & editor-in-chief

Angel V. Guerrero Assistant editor

Hannah de Vera Lead designer

Alberto Cinco Jr. Consultant art director

Dempson Mayuga Head of marketing and business development

Aica delos Santos Head of sales

Jess Maranan

Cover art

Raxenne Maniquiz Senior account manager

Faith Olivar For this issue of class a, we explore the land of ‘nostalgia.’ The cover was highly inspired by the Do-It-Yourself notebooks of the 90s, complete with stickers for that added kitschy quirk. What seems like an ordinary day inside, a young person is on a worn bedspread with their legs crossed, surrounded by books they’ve stopped reading for quite some time, toys they’ve stopped playing yet still kept, and a plate of pancit, reminiscent of past meriendas with the family, to which they have kept to the side for later. It is in the mundane, where bouts of nostalgia often catch up to us, most of the time as a fleeting moment that we all briefly remember.

Business development and circulation officer

Yam Nava Events manager

Pie Yap Events coordinator

Emman Domingo Accounts traffic officer

Joesa Morales

Scan this QR code to visit our home base.

Issue 3 — Apr to Jun 2017 class a is published by Sanserif Inc. © 2017 Sanserif Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means without prior permission of the publisher. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this publication, the publisher and the editor assume no responsibility for errors of omissions or any circumstance of reliance of information in this publication. The opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher and the editor. Advertisements are the sole responsibility of the advertisers. Unit 2013, Bldg. 1, OPVI Center 2295 Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati City 1231, Philippines TEL: +63 2.845.0218 / +63 2.886.5351 / FAX: +63 2.845.0217


ISSUE 3 — Nostalgia





the work


Online retail stores

Dentsu, Inc. Tokyo’s Yoshihiro Yagi

TBWA\SMP’s Cj de Silva–Ong




off the books

brand recall

gaming and comics

University museums


Project Xandata

the work

cover story

the firm


exhibit 8-bit fiction




student Claudine Quintela

bts 19

Art direction

peeps 24

Centerfold Ogilvy & Mather’s Donna Dimayuga


Trendspotting Youtubers


The Huddle Room The quarter life crisis

The business of nostalgia

NuWorks Interactive Labs


gaming and comics



Brand expansion of comic book characters


Mystery Manila


off the books 44


Acads Schools’ efforts in creating a creative economy

out and about

Chill Netflix


Youtube FanFest Manila



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trending — online retail stores


The future of fashion retail is online and our homegrown brands are taking notice. words Rogin Losa photos Edward Joson styling JL Crespo models Wanda Chen, Larissa Panlilio hair and make-up Cheska Josue shot at Mountain Dew Skatepark and Circuit Makati 6

ISSUE 3 — nostalgia


The youth’s nostalgia high is adorned in an ironic fashion, our latest clothing trends revolve around everything nostalgic and retro—cold shoulders, stripes, flare jeans—yet there is a call for all apparel to be accessible to today’s youth through a more online platform. Millennials and Gen Z are digital natives, and many online brands that have emerged in the late 2000s owe their growth to them. Business has become something easier to grasp for many, and has rendered many shop keepers independent even without setting shop. In Econsultancy’s article, “How Fashion Brands are Setting Trends in Digital,” online fashion grew by a hundredfold—around 185%—between 2007 and 2012. Sales are predicted to rise by 41% by 2017. A huge factor, according to the article, is the personalization that comes along with having your own business. Designers and owners have control over how they brand themselves, how they present their clothing, and in the way they can reach their consumers, as compared to a physical show where if they’d like to rebrand, they would have to do an overhaul. Through online, a single click is enough to do have a change of identity. In the same article, Econsultancy proceeds to tackle that personalizing content has also been shown to generate a 7.8% increase in monetary conversions.

THIS SIDE / pink peplum tulle top from LULU AND NANA / pink turtleneck stylist’s own OPPOSITE SIDE / ON LARISSA: pleated culottes by SKIRTTLES / denim top stylist’s own / ON WANDA: denim bolero stylist’s own / grey turtleneck stylist’s own / orange pencil skirt stylist’s own


ON WANDA: skirt by SKIRTTLES / pink peplum tulle top by LULU AND NANA / pink turtleneck stylist’s own / ON LARISSA: orange organza top by LULU AND NANA / orange culottes by SKIRTTLES

trending — online retail stores class a

ISSUE 3 — nostalgia


With an online space, there are so many possibilities when it comes to publicity, and any content is almost never wasted. Lookbooks they cannot print are posted as albums on the brand’s Facebook page, fashion films for their latest collection auto plays on everyone’s feed, most consumers never have to look far if they want to research their favorite brands. In fact, keeping in touch with their consumers is a breeze with the fact that there is now direct communication with comments and messages. It becomes easy to provide them coupons and discounts, much like how ZALORA or Lazada throws out constant sales, by e-mailing their subscribers or texting them directly on their mobile phone.

What these growing local brands need the most is to be seen and heard—this is where digital natives take action; and what better way to get their attention than by fuelling their nostalgia? “Only 90s kids can relate” is on the feed of almost every millennial. Despite it being relatable to only millennials, Gen Z have also piqued their interest during technology’s wonder years, and this is where the tables are now set in place: Gen Z’s are the newest trendsetters and they declare that dated fashion is in. This is evident in many of our local online brands newest collections.


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ISSUE 3 — nostalgia

unraveling genius Yoshihiro Yagi, Dentsu, Inc. Tokyo Group Creative Director, embodies genuine passion for synergy and social responsibility. words CJ Peradilla

In 16 years at Dentsu, Inc. Tokyo, Yoshihiro Yagi has become one of Japan’s most acclaimed creative directors. Yagi won the Design Grand Prix at Cannes for his 2014 Panasonic campaign Life is electric, a visual attempt to emphasize the importance of electricity, and has received global acclaim since. As a Group Creative Director (GCD), Yagi reflects on the agency’s creative capabilities and how to enhance them in terms of design. His body of work extends to book designs and ambient advertising; clients include the East Japan Railway, Rohto Pharmaceutical, Panasonic, Mitsubishi Estate, and Menicon. How does one become the most-awarded creative in Japan and possibly Asia? Yagi grew up exposed to visuals and design at a young age; several family members work in architecture, and his own father was a cameraman. He started his own career at a small design studio in his hometown of Kyoto, before joining Dentsu Kyoto as a temporary employee. From there he was under contract at Dentsu Kansai, before transferring fulltime to the Tokyo head office.

→ Honda. Beautiful Engines. “Engines make the world go round.” 2014—2015


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the work — yoshihiro yagi

“Innovation occurs precisely in those areas where people believe design is unnecessary,” Yagi remarks, “But for me, design makes everything possible.”

↓ → Get Back, Tohoku “Can’t meet you on e-mail. See you at the rail.” East Japan Railway Company


ISSUE 3 — nostalgia

When asked about his favorite work, Yagi fondly recalled his work for East Japan Railway Company, Get Back, Tohoku, a campaign promoting the Northern part of Japan that he has worked on for five years now. To invite tourists back to the region devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Yagi and the Dentsu team created Get Back, Tohoku, hailing the local trains as heroes. Their portrayal of an ordinary day turned extraordinary just by using public transport sparked a celebration among tourists, restoring inspiration to the ravaged nation. “With this campaign, I am able to receive direct reaction from people,” Yagi explains, “It’s almost like having a dialogue with the viewers and myself.”

↑ → Get Back, Tohoku “The perspective is a traveller encountering the scenes for the first time during his journey.” East Japan Railway Company


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the work — yoshihiro yagi

While Get Back is a personal favorite, Yagi deems the Panasonic work his career high point, both as a creative and a professional, Yagi deems his work with Panasonic and his having won the Design Grand Prix at Cannes possibly the apogee of his flourishing career. The success, Yagi however notes, “was not the award itself - although [Cannes] is a contest decided instantly, it is the pursuit of brand essence, [the] proper execution of the process [our team] has established and the fulfillment of the role of all staff members that was successful.” While quite an overwhelming notion, Yagi feels immensely about being praised on the world stage. “Awards create these various feelings inside us, don’t they?” Yagi muses, “I think it gives rise to the next advances in quality.” He should know. Besides the 2014 Grand Prix, Yagi has also won 9 Gold, 11 Silver, and 15 Bronze Lions at Cannes; One Best of Design, 10 Gold, 12 Silver, and 15 Bronze Awards at One Show Design; Four Yellow Pencils at D&AD; Two Grande, 7 Gold, 7 Silver, and 4 Bronze Lotuses at ADFEST, and has served as a jury member at all those as well as at the Clio Awards and Spikes Asia. Collaboration is his favorite part: “I think teamwork breeds the next level of quality,” he remarks, “Resolving issues with colleagues and clients is hard work, but usually, if we work together as a team, the job ends well.” For Yagi, the joy of a shared accomplishment is among the best parts of his work, as is the chance to interact with people outside the profession. What’s next? Yagi believes there is still much yet to be done in terms of design, and seeks to “expand the limits of what is possible in [his] areas of expertise.” More people, he notes, should appreciate and enjoy design, as its proliferation even in the littlest things proves that it transcends even advertising. “Innovation occurs precisely in those areas where people believe design is unnecessary,” Yagi remarks, “But for me, design makes everything possible.”

← ↖ Life is electric “A project to rediscover the value of electricity.” Panasonic


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the work — exhibit

bit by bit Meet the mysterious artist behind the internet’s beloved hugot corner of the world, 8-bitfiction. words Louise Saludo

Kids of the 90s will always remember the pixelated and washed-out visuals of their video games and movies, that even despite the post-modern gaming technology that has blessed our generation with superior image qualities, there is still some sort of nostalgic romance about them that we cling on to. Several artists born from this period pay tribute by bringing these graphics to life on digital social media platforms—artists like 8-bit fiction. Coming from the roster of aesthetic and nostalgic pages of today, 8-bit fiction offers its followers a ‘feels’ trip in shape of pixelated artistry married with pure poetry. 8-bitfiction has been in operation since 2010. Since then, the page has successfully built its online community with a humble following of 7,700 on Instagram, 119,000 on twitter, and over 164,000 likers on Facebook. The pixelated poetry of 8-bitfiction prides itself with ‘honesty, brevity, and friendliness.’ The artist’s sincerity gave life to the art thus making its content more heartfelt. This adds up to the reminiscent content of 8-bitfiction that people are often drawn to. “Perhaps to some, as is the case with myself, it reminds them of the games they played from childhood! For the younger crowd, I’m not really sure. I hope it’s because they find the stuff I make nice!” shares 8-bit fiction. Their visuals focus mostly on pixelated art reminiscent of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) or the Atari back in the day. It started as a group of artists writing silly flash fiction for NES Screenshots. The project carried on for a few years until some of the past artists moved on to other projects. Eventually, the flash fiction was simplified into one liner quotes that were kept in the notepad of


ISSUE 3 — nostalgia

8-bitfiction’s artist. “A few years later, on another fine day with nothing to do, I replaced the fiction with lines I kept in a notepad file, and lines friends suggested,” they add, “It wasn’t until 2014 that the project became popular.” 8-bit fiction has been a coping mechanism for many, especially the artist. “[I often] sit alone in a cold room, on MS Paint, listening to nice music helps me cope with my anxiety.” Inspiration stems from the bittersweet experiences of life and the simple joy of creating. “I love creating things and making art—it’s my job, it’s what I do for fun, and it’s what I want to do with my life—that, and loving.” The page has evolved from its simple yet impactful one-liners, sometimes breaching free verse and romantic paragraphs. The art, as well, admits the artist, has improved vastly from its early beginnings. With new content on the rise and, in their words: “Plans! Something to read, something to wear, something to watch, and something to do!” 8-bit fiction will always be something worth looking back on.

“ I love creating things and making art— it’s my job, it’s what I do for fun, and it’s what I want to do with my life— that, and loving.”

← One of 8-bitfiction’s most recognized recurring themes.


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the work — student

the early days of an artist adobo Design Awards Asia Gold Metal awardee, Claudine Quintela, discusses her beginnings as a creative and an artist.

words CJ Peradilla

An incoming Multimedia Arts senior at Meridian International (MINT) College, Claudine Quintela is the talented creative whose Brand Design System for Manila Electric Transport won this year’s Gold Metal (Student Category). As early as her second birthday, when her parents bought her a flip-top desk containing crayons and sheets of paper, Quintela has been fascinated with drawing and painting. Rather than just a hobby, she regarded art with enjoyment and love, flourishing as she watched after-school cartoons and her favorite 90’s kid’s show Art Attack, discovered Microsoft Paint, and, soon, Photoshop. When working on projects for clients or for school, Quintela draws creative inspiration from thorough research. For 18

more personal ventures she immerses herself in music, as she believes its potential as an extended avenue for artistic and emotional expression pave the way for new concepts and ideas. Like any artist, she meets the occasional creative block—prompting her to reconnect with nature, go on a walk with her dog, have a meal outside, and step back for a quick refresh. Asked what motivated her to pursue art, Quintela fondly recalls winning a poster-making contest in fourth grade despite cynics’ taunts. While this victory pales in comparison to her aDAA win, it is no argument that triumphs as small as these serve as building blocks of future accomplishments.

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bts — art direction

down to a fine art We uncover the ins and outs of art direction and find out how dedicated one must be to fully understand this craft. words Jomari Vista

The art director position is often one of the most coveted positions in the creative industry, especially for budding creatives fresh out of college. Possessing both leadership skills and a natural eye for talent, art directors bring teams together to bring a campaign from inception to execution. A prime example: George Lois is one of advertising’s greatest minds and most provocative art directors; his Esquire covers are legendary in the design world for a good reason. When asked how he gets away with it, he muses, “Everyone says they’d never be allowed to do that kind of advertising today, but honestly, I don’t think it is any different today as it was then. Being a good advertiser isn’t just learning how to create an advert, it’s abouthow to sell it. It’s about learning how to inspire people to want to look at and question your work—being part of real culture and conversation,” he ends it his lecture with: “Young people need to learn how to sell their ideas.” We often hear about the glorious parts of the art director life: whipping up ideas, producing shoots, and perfecting every little detail in post-production, but behind the glitz and glamour, in the nitty-gritty of things, it takes more than a bright idea to get the job done. It takes a team to tango

↑ What seems like like an uncooked packet of noodles is actually a series of chili peppers


“Labuyo” BBDO Guerrero Lucky Me


The role varies depending on the industry. But one thing remains consistent: the ability to work with a team. As said in the Creative Bloq, “How to become an art director,” the position involves “managing a team of designers working on a creative project, but the degree of responsibility and autonomy can vary.” “Being a creative in a media agency is a bit of a challenge and a blessing,” says Tina-Agel Romero, the Content Practice Group Head of Publicis One Media. “In a world of numbers, we provide ways and means to create content that is creative but at the same time data and insights driven.” Rina Dela Calzada, co-founder and Creative Director of Seven A.D., agrees: “I’ve always been a believer of working as a team because there will always be times when you’re so into the work, you tend to obsess on the minute details, when sometimes, what you really need is to step back and look at the bigger picture.” The work isn’t easy. “It can be frustrating and scary having a blank paper for a long time. This process continues for hours, even days, and then one day, an idea comes. Eureka! Suddenly the creative vision, with the art direction and copywriting, just seems to come naturally with the idea,” says Lance Francisco, an art director of Publicis JimenezBasic.

ISSUE 3 — nostalgia

“ In a world of numbers, we provide ways and means to create content that is creative but at the same time data and insights driven.”

Like the colorful ingredients of halo-halo, art directors make masterpieces brought together by its carefully-assembled ingredients. “Everyone is aligned towards a goal and that is to make the idea better. We welcome feedback and critique each other’s work— collaborating to find ways on how to further push the envelope,” says Dela Calzada. All in the head

Being a good leader is essential, but at its core, art directors need the ability to conjure killer concepts—to esentially be the sharpest tool in the shed. Francisco narrates his experience working on “Don’t Drive Hungry,” a local campaign by BBDO Guerrero for American chocolate bar Snickers. “As a foreign brand, we had to think of a way on how Snickers can penetrate a market dominated by local competitors. In order to do that, we thought of the one thing all Filipinos experience every day—traffic,” Francisco shares, “With the government failing to produce enough license plates for new car owners, we decided to help drivers by providing free, legible and legal temporary plates.” Because of this unique

approach to advertising, the brand made its presence felt by reminding Filipinos “not to drive hungry.” It won several awards from its run late last year until this year. “Art evolves fast, it’s our job to update it and be up-to-date,” says Lei Andalis, Art Group Lead for Jump Digital Myanmar. In the competitive world in advertising, there is an endless supply of talent— especially year after year when schools produce fresh new individuals ready to take on the world. Creating killer concepts requires lots of research and innovation, which may manifest either through projects that seem too open, or too boxed in. “You should always have that same hunger, otherwise you will be obsolete. And nobody is irreplaceable in this industry,” Andalis adds. As young talents seek agencies, hoping to drive a campaign one day, Francisco believes that despite the industry’s fast-paced nature, it pays to know your guns. “Five or ten years from now, I’m sure the industry will look different again but, as with good advertising, it always comes back to the fundamentals. Creative ideas and deep relatable insights will always be needed to create breakthrough advertising. Tools change, fundamentals don’t.” 21

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bts — art direction

Dela Calzada agrees: “Even if a lot of things are changing, I still believe that an insightful idea and a strong art foundation should always be present. These should transcend time. The only thing that will change is the medium, but at the core should be a good grasp of idea and art direction,” she concurs. Trending carefully

The role might be easy to get once you’ve gotten the hang of working in the industry, but as trends come and go, the position we know might be vastly different in the future. Today, we already see a lot of art directors focused on internet-based platforms. Soon, art directors might evolve even further. George Penston sees this evolution as a convergence of marketing and creative direction in his think piece for Ad Age, “The Creative Director Role (As We Know It) Will Not Exist in 10 Years.” The article discusses the need for art directors and creative directors alike to transcend their traditional capabilities and provide a variety of solutions to a challenge. Gone are the static ads we stare at, for the future lies in interactivity. “When I started working, [the] internet was not what it is today, learning was done through books, reading and you can’t Google to bullshit your way out to save your life,” says Tina-Agel Romero. “Everyone can do Photoshop, you can even edit on your phone. Everything now is instant. We just need to make sure we use these properly and to our advantage.” Francisco echoes the same thoughts, “There was a time when flat minimalistic layouts became a thing, purely vector posters were sought after, and hand lettering became the new craze, and of course, there came new forms of digital media.” Because ads are becoming smart, art directors need to be more involved in the creation process which will greatly benefit with the study of User Experience (UX) design. A deeper understanding of how ads are formed and impact their audiences is now a valuable skill, as new media have emerged to keep us on our toes. “The creative director of the future will chat a lot more with marketing than he or she does today,” speculates Penston. Taking on the mantle

When you decide to take on a role such as the art director, it’s easy to lose sight of what matters. Creatives can lose their discipline, or forget their fundamentals in their quest to be great. “A lot of people are looking for an easy solution, a way to become good,” says Francisco. “But there will never be an instant solution; the only way [to be good] is through mistakes and experiences.” Romero encourages exploration, albeit with a little restraint: “Avoid the great megamall sale—don’t get lost 22

↑ Three different personalities are seen in all gadgets: the rocker, the chic, and the gamer. “Personalities” BBDO Guerrero Globe Allphones

in the crowd. Don’t be afraid to be the odd ball out. Weird is okay, Different is okay,” she says. “It is okay to sell out, do it four times a week and for the rest of the days, stay true to your passions.” Taking the plunge feels more uncertain than ever as the art director role evolves to accommodate even more skills and experiences. While there are many avenues to learn about our changing industry, possessing the knowledge and capability to adapt to what the future holds may never be enough. But with the determination and the grit to succeed, only one question remains: will you ready to take on the role as we know it? “Just go and don’t be afraid to try. At the end of the day, your craft is what will make you keep going,” says Dela Calzada.


Not many people have the capacity for standout achievements, especially at an early age. It takes not only vision, but skill. Ogilvy & Mather Creative Director Donna Dimayuga proves this when she was qualified to attend the London International Advertising (LIA) Awards in Las Vergas not once, not twice, but thrice, the third time apparently vetoed to give other young Filipino creatives a chance Dimayuga also received a Cannes Lion and a Grand Prix from AdFest for Pantene’s Labels Against Women, and topped a huge pool of applicants for a scholarship to the Berlin School of Creative Leadership’s Executive MBA Program through adobo magazine. Apart from the Berlin school’s quality curriculum, the brilliant people she met along the way motivated her to her best efforts yet. She also won the first D&AD Impact Pencil for the Learning Boats of Leyte initiative for Philippine Airlines, and most recently, they launched the KFC First Filipino Colonel campaign, which was extremely well-received and had phenomenal results. More than the awards for her own efforts, Dimayuga values the lessons of leadership and the opportunity to work with younger creatives, offering empathy and the motivation to act fast and act now. She deems this part of what makes advertising so endearing. As a young leader herself, Dimayuga tries to embody “the person I needed when I was younger.”

Ogilvy & Mather’s Creative Director and a 2-time adobo LIA’s winner, DONNA DIMAYUGA, will show us just how any alpha female commands her fleet.

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peeps — centerfold

military jacket stylist’s own / black slitted cullotes and black metal heels by ZALORA / orange velvet beret by SM

words CJ Peradilla photo Rxandy Capinpin styling Hannah de Vera featuring Ororo

ISSUE 3 — nostalgia



It was in the mid-2000s that marked the instant rise of today’s famous YouTubers, the very internet starts that first redefined what it meant to be “viral.” Pewdiepie, Shane Dawson, and Dan and Phil were one of the few original entertainers that have more than hustled their way to six figures a year. With 15 minutes of fame now collapsed to 60 seconds and audiences getting younger and YouTubers getting older, how do these pioneers keep the subscribers and views on a permanent high?

words Hannah de Vera and Rogin Losa art Jelenie Custodio

In a ‘trending now’ world, how do these veteran YouTubers avoid being yesterday’s hashtag?

in the video stream

staying afloat

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peeps — trendspotting

Shane Lee Yaw, or more commonly known under his pseudonym as “Shane Dawson,” got viral through his comedic sketches that featured several original characters: Shanaynay, S-Deezy, Ned the nerd, Aunt Hilda, and Shane’s Mom, all compacted with offensive racist, sexist, and homophobic humor with the occasional moral lesson. While these were his claim to fame, following an accident on his leg that caused him to halt most of his video production, he started doing more taste-testing videos, paranormal rituals, explaining conspiracy theories, buying objects such as curious child toys and testing them out, doit-yourself pintertests, and baking ginormous candy bars for his friends. Since then, his views escalated from a mere 100,000 or so to 900,000 or a million every upload. Compared to his previous videos that once dominated YouTube’s front page that continued in an offensive fashion, kids today have an acquired test. It becomes almost voyeuristic how much we want people to experience things for us. Kids like seeing their stars disgusted, scared, bewildered. It almost becomes sadistic in a sense. As Link Neal once said, “The internet loves a gag reflex.”

Shane Dawson

Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg is a swedish YouTuber that has been dominating the online sphere for the longest time. PewDiePie is a common household name in any talk of YouTube, and for a good reason: he is the largest most subscribed in all of YouTube land. His previous stint consisted of several Let’s Plays of horror games, namely Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Fatal Frame, and others. His consistent high-pitched screaming and inside jokes made his fame skyrocket, as not only was it funny, but it was also relatable. However, it all changed once YouTube’s #censorgate, where YouTube had to demonetize several accounts due to non-family-friendly content, came to plan. When #censorgate happened, several fans were outraged that their favorites were forced to censor themselves. For a while, that included PewDiePie constructing family-friendly content. It wasn’t that the audience wanted lewd observations, rather, it was these flaws was what made them relatable, and in this day and age, it’s vital for any original content to be relatable so it can be shareable. Susanne Ault of Variety ran a survey in 2015 called Digital Star Popularity Grows Versus Mainstream Celebrities. Her study suggested that the younger audience’s emotional attachments to YouTubers are “as much as seven times greater than that toward a traditional celebrity” for these reasons.


The flow of virality in the internet space is a tough one to handle, and it becomes easy to get sucked in a void of constantly trying to be on the front page—in the words of Heidi Klum, “One day, you’re in. The next day, you’re out.” However, in a society where being oneself has sometimes caused sudden hate, YouTube has welcomed many to be their authentic and true selves and is revered in the platform. If traditional media could take a leaf out of YouTube’s book, and encourage unvarnished individualism, production studios can reach out to the younger generation and ultimately, to markets they have never even tapped before.

Teens of today need ‘connection’ from their celebrities, and need to know that these starts are just like us, human beings that ‘err. Dan Howell and Phil Lester both fill that void. A couple of geeky posh boys from the U.K. has garnered millions of followers through their story time videos. Since the beginning, they’ve done several videos on existential crisis, animals that attack them in broad daylight, and many unavoidable awkward situations. In retrospect, what captured the audience’s heart—and this may sound cheesy—are the content creators being their real, authentic selves. In 2014, Variety Magazine and Jeetendr Sehdev of the University of Southern California surveyed U.S. 13 to 18 year olds asking them to rate 10 most popular Englishlanguage celebrities. The survey concluded, “YouTubers were judged to be more engaging, extraordinary, and relatable than mainstream stars. […] Teens enjoy an intimate and authentic experience with YouTube celebrities who aren’t subject to image strategies carefully orchestrated by PR Pros.”

Danisnotonfire and Amazing Phil

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peeps — cj de silva–ong

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the silver lining CJ De Silva-Ong, Associate Creative Director of TBWA\Santiago Mangada Puno and former “Promil Kid,” shows us how she goes went from wunderkind to wonder woman. words Hannah de Vera photos Ken Logro

Hailed with the monikers, “Promil Kid” and “Gifted Child,” through a series of television commercials that aired in the 90s featuring several gifted children that parents romanced of having, Christiana Jade “CJ” de Silva-Ong was one of the chosen few. With a brush in hand and buckets of paint, she created the ever famous “Mother and Child” masterpiece that she was known back in the day. Fast forward to the present, as the Associate Creative Director of TBWA\Santiago Mangada Puno, receiving awards from AdFest, Spikes Asia, Clio, One Show, and D&AD, there is no doubt that she is now a force to be reckoned with in the advertising world. Where did your love for everything creative start? What is the main source of inspiration for you?

I was older when I understood the concept of “creativity,” perhaps around college when I studied fine arts. Since I was a small child, when I would paint and draw, it felt normal to me. I grew up in a family that’s inclined with the arts, like how [growing up] I would see my grandfather painting. My play time consisted mostly of Do-ItYourself toys such as home-made jigsaw puzzles—which my father was very much invested in—and paper dolls that I

drew myself. Looking back, I could say that I was exposed pretty early in the creative world. My main source of inspiration would be the problems and issues around me. I believe that creativity thrives in an environment with limitations and challenges. If I find something that challenges me, I try my best to come up with helpful—and hopefully, great—ideas and solutions.  What professional achievements are you proudest of? What personal achievements are you proudest of?

When I think of professional achievements, what pops in my mind is whatever I have already achieved, it was not solely to my own accord. Maybe I had a role, but there are many people who have worked with me and believed in me. For example, the Hana Water Billboard and the KFC Unlimited Gravy—yes, both won many awards, but to me, what matters most is how those two changed me as a creative. With those two works, I have learned and matured a lot such as: how to not be complacent and how to exhaust all possible ways to make the work beautiful and effective. I learned how to take constructive criticism and to not take them personally. You will realize that every comment and

revision is for the betterment of your work. I’ve also learned the importance of strong ideas and strong craft, and seeing the project through. The D&AD awards that those two received were the cherry on top, especially as an art director. Also, I must say, I’m really proud of my published work that I have personally illustrated and designed. The Stupid is Forever series was something close to my heart. It became a part of pop-culture and many still remember its cover design. Another book I am immensely proud of is Ikaklit sa Aming Hardin, a children’s story about two young girls and two mothers and how there are different kinds of families: the nuclear setting, solo parents, LGBT parents, and many more. There weren’t any mainstream publishing house that wanted to publish the book, so I offered Dat Neri, the author, that I wanted to illustrate the book, no monetary exchange whatsoever, and published it was. How did you prepare yourself in becoming an Associate Creative Director at TBWA\SMP? What were the challenges you faced entering TBWA\SMP?

My mentors/bosses always made me see that being a creative director is first and foremost a responsibility. Yes, 29

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peeps — cj de silva–ong

there is indeed glamour and power in the title, but at the end of the day, it is a responsibility one should keep. Being a creative director means being a leader; leading your teammates when things are not clear, guiding the younger people, the accountability of both the growth of the business and the career growth of your younger teammates, and so on. Thanks to my mentors/bosses, especially Melvin Mangada and Joey Tiempo, I must say that they had to do a lot with who I am today. The number one challenge in TBWA\SMP is to be consistent— CONSISTENT CREATIVE WORK. Creative Work builds both the business and the company’s reputation. I remember your talk from the adobo Design Series about the importance of sincerity in our ads—when did this realization start?

Perhaps two years into the business was when I realized I was getting more and more immersed in the industry. You start to realize that the most important thing in your work is sincerity. Be sincere with your creative briefs, with your ideas, and with your execution. People will then start to feel it and because of it, they will start to appreciate the work and the brand. Contrary to popular belief that advertising is all about “inventing needs” or selling things people don’t need, advertising is actually about always finding the truth, finding insight, and something genuine. The brand or the product should always come in as a genuine solution. I’d rather have an imperfect, sincere, and interesting work over a piece of work perfect and correct, but manicured and boring. Why is it important for brands to go to simpler ways of expressing themselves? Do you think brands have the social obligation to spread awareness in social issues or at least be in the know of them?

We are on borrowed time. People would rather continue whatever it is they’re doing than see ads. If your message is simple yet thought-provoking, you will 30

be remembered. Simplicity doesn’t mean boring or plain; simplicity can be eloquent, elaborate, easy to remember, and most of all, simple can be iconic. Brands don’t necessarily have the obligation to spread awareness, but I think brands should be attuned and sensitive to social issues. When brand are aware of issues, it would also work for them. They can see opportunities where they can contribute or build solutions for. That way, they can genuinely be seen as significant with everyone. If you could give any advice to brands or other ad agencies, what would you tell them?

I don’t think I’m in the position to give any advice, but I truly have to, it would be this: strive to be helpful. I personally think it works for me. When my main question is: “How can I be helpful?” I am able to find the relevance to whatever I put out there. It can be shallow, deep, and socially responsible—just be helpful. Also, be self-aware, be genuine, always have a point of view. Being reactive works some of the time, but what if the other side leaves you clueless or confused? It’s always better to have a point of view. How is the design landscape in the Philippines for you right now? Do you see growth or is it stagnant? How can Filipinos contribute to branding the Filipino identity?

Of course there is growth! I think Filipinos are more design-savvy now. I’m ecstatic to see design students starting their own little online business selling patches, stickers, shirts, etc. that they themselves designed—it’s so funny, quirky, and original! It’s also obvious in our stores and restaurants, more and more cafes and restaurants have good branding and store designs. Komikon is getting more popular. More people are confident creating, producing, and sharing content. We have attempts to be aesthetically pleasing, especially with the sense of aesthetics of kids today, it is all very advanced. Creative influences are also available online, although,

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“ However, if you are trying to find yourself in your work, always remember that it’s not limited to the output or the visual style. As a young creative, your identity is in the way you work.”

hopefully, it doesn’t stop there. I hope we push ourselves beyond what’s online by reading books, visiting museums, teaching each other, and finding ways to learn more. It’s great to look at the works of other artists and designers from abroad. You can draw inspiration from them, but you should never copy. It’s okay to immerse yourself in inspiration, but we should make it our own. Combine the inspiration you get with local culture, pop culture, social issues, or our history. I make it a point to see that I am updated with what’s happening with the country and not to be completely uprooted. It’s easy to be culturally uprooted and be obsessed with western culture, though I do think it helps to interchange your perspective on culture from time to time, that way, we can reflect on who we truly are.   What is next for you professionally or personally?

Professionally, I want to become a more inspiring and effective leader, and of course, be consistent in creating great work. I have a long way to go though. Personally, I’m working on a new

children’s book. It’s almost done. I would also like to travel more to get more inspiration. What advice would you give for aspiring young creatives that are starting in the business?

When you’re a young creative, when you look at your work, it’s easy to be trapped in a toxic state where you ask yourself, “Is this still me? It doesn’t feel like my work.” However, if you are trying to find yourself in your work, always remember that it’s not limited to the output or the visual style. As a young creative, your identity is in the way you work. Are you dedicated? Tenacious? Or do you give up on the first revision or through the suggestions of others? To make sure your identity is still intact, you should always have a point of view, and your point of view should not be about yourself. Your point of view should be about what needs to be done. Also, have a hobby. Have a different life during the weekend. Try to make art outside work. Go out of your way to meet other people, and maybe even go to gigs. But never miss your deadlines.

Scan this QR code for a treat.


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peeps — the huddle room

our magnum opus dissonance The youth of today are going through a lot, and these six participants are answering the question on everybody’s minds: “What is going on?” words Hannah de Vera

A simple Google search would produce endless results; dubbed as the ‘Quarter Life Crisis,’ a phenomenon in the life of almost anyone below 25, where we are left with a time period in our lives of intense soul-searching and stress. It is during these moments wherein one starts questioning: “Am I happy?”, “Am I creating an impact on the world?”, “Do I have the success that I thought I would have?”, “Where is my life going?”, and “What is the point of all of this anyway?” According to The Guardian, the quarter life crisis affects 86% of millennials and gen z’s—roughly around



Hannah de Vera

Sachi Go

Rod Marmol

Alek Café + Kitchen

Aih Mendoza

Rob Cham

A cozy café hidden at the center of

Ella Lama


Legazpi Village where they serve craft coffee and delicious comfort food.


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80 million—who report are being choked down by insecurities, disappointments, and loneliness. In what was supposed to be the time of opportunity and adventure, the youth are now struggling to cope with anxieties about finding jobs, debt, relationships, etc. something that the people of yesteryear did not experience as intensely as we do now. For kids of today, it’s less of a question of if you will experience the quarter life crisis—it’s when. Six chosen participants banded together in hopes of giving a voice to many millennials or generation z’s who have none: Sachi Go, currently a freelance copywriter for agencies who quit her day job to find herself; Aih Mendoza an advertising copywriter by day and a freelance filmmaker and improviser at night; Ella Lama, a freelance illustrator who also makes stationary; Rod Marmol, the creator of Utot Catalog; and Rob Cham, a freelance illustrator, comic book creator, and friend. Are you familiar with the idea of the quarter life crisis? Where did you first hear about it? Rob: This is sort of…all this is born from comparison,

right? There’s the previous generations, our dads, our moms, and there’s—(laughter)—we could say that this dissatisfaction, our quarter-life crises, comes from comparisons with our own peers and the previous generation and we’re just trying to figure ourselves out in the world. Sachi: I think part of the disparity is because everything

is so fast-paced now. Throughout our life, whether it’s high school, college, no matter how independent we are, we were going by a timeline. Suddenly, you’re put out there and you have to face that you’re making your own timelines now. You start to think, “Am I going too fast? Too slow?” Aih: There are some people, when you look at them, you have these super successful people and they’re like “just work hard and do what I did and you’ll get there.” The truth is… it’s not the same for everyone. You can do the same things as another person, but it’s just the opportunities aren’t always there. A lot of it is luck. I think it’s unfair that a lot of us are mad at ourselves for not being lucky enough. I think what helps in a quarterlife crisis are things like where you say, “I am not doing as well as people expect me to be doing,” and that should be fine, goddamn it. Were there any factors that helped you confront your crisis? Ella: For me, what helped me get through my crisis was

recognizing that I was in crisis mode. I felt that I was going through it after I left my job to pursue full-time

Scan this QR code for a treat.


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peeps — the huddle room

“ There are some people, when you look at them, you have these super successful people and they’re like ‘just work hard and do what I did and you’ll get there.’ The truth is… it’s not the same for everyone.”

entrepreneur life. My goal was to establish a business. Now that I have this business, meaning my dream was already achieved, I don’t know what to dream of next. That’s where it started, once I recognized my problem, I became more objective in thinking of the next steps moving forward. Aih: Something at improv that they teach us is that you need to fail fast, because that’s the only way you get to do anything. Our mentors at improv always say you’re never going to get there if you don’t do a hundred crappy versions of that one perfect version you wanted. Rob: I do like the idea of failing fast, especially since we’re afraid of failure, like wasting time—but that’s how you learn. You learn from your mistakes than trying to make something perfect. Aih: Also, I think that sadness is also a big part of the quarter-life crisis. I think most crises are about, “I’m sad. I shouldn’t be sad. I have to be happy.” However the whole concept of being happy 24/7, that we’re entitled to happiness, is the disease our generation is addicted to. They can’t accept that being sad is part of it and owning it helps. If you say that it’s fine to be sad, when you accept it, you feel so much better. Suffering comes from trying to fight away the bad feelings: “The world tells me I’m supposed to choose happiness, write down five things that make me happy every day,” but it’s not. Like that Rob said, you learn from your failures, you [also] learn from being said, it’s what makes you a whole person.


Do you think the creative sector—design, advertising, marketing, art, entertainment—has tackled this? Do you think it’s enough with the current state of rampant youth depression? Rob: Not at all. It feeds into it. Rod: Content-wise, I think it’s there, naka-underline naman siya sa lahat. Especially for film, you write from your hugot, that pain, that wound na hindi mawawala ever. I think where the industry falls short is hindi siya tumatawid sa medical case. It’s something na hindi lang i-ro-romanticize mo. For some people, it’s actually something na kailangan ng gamot, kailangan ng tamang pag-asikaso. We acknowledge we’re sad, pero let’s stay here. Ayaw natin masyadong i-formalize. Ayaw natin gawing problema.

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Rob: There is this thing that perpetuates it, wherein our mental health takes a toll because sometimes you have to work within a very tight deadline. Then, we have over time (OT). That’s the kind of thing you expect when you work in advertising, where you will be overworked and not have time for anything else. Aih: People are coming together to fight for better and more humane working hours for creatives. A lot of it is coming from the corporations who see the process of creative work. I think there needs to be a little more acknowledgement to the process and how much it actually taxes you. I would like to say though that there are some agencies that are making movements towards this. How can they inspire discourse among fellow marketers, brand people, about this? Rob: Make a hashtag. Let’s think of a hashtag. #mentalhealth. #fairhours. #tamanayan. Rod: In the states, there’s a writers’ guild, and they’re

so strong there. They are so powerful they were able to stop all production when they decided that the salary isn’t fair. In reality, creatives—we’re the backbone of content. We need that power, but we need to work hard to get there. What would you like to see in the future of the creative industry? Ella: I think that helps, knowing you’re not alone; you’re

not going through this by yourself. The support of your peers is a big thing.

Rob: Yeah, there’s such a stigma against mental health. Aih: Exactly. I don’t think they even want to find a solution. Ella: Do you think part of the problem is that we don’t

recognize it as a problem at all, that we’re thinking it’s masyadong first world or something? Sachi: Yeah. It’s very easy for people to show it aside,

and people are very focused on symptoms you can see. Since walang concrete manifestation lagi yung mental health, I think people find it easy to say, “Oh, nasa isip mo lang yan.” When what we should be saying is that’s what makes it so important! Since it’s in your head, and you’re stuck in your own mind, you can’t really switch brains.

Aih: Exactly, my boss actually came up to me a few weeks ago and sat me down, and I thought it was something work-related, but then he said to me, “Can you talk to me about mental health? What is happening? Why do I have so many pamangkins, mga kilala, that’s going through it?” And I said, “I’m not sure I have an answer, but I think it’s always been there, this time we just know what it is.” We need to help each other, we’re not going to be able to get that discourse overnight, but at least things like this help, I’d like to help. When we talk to each other, bring it out there and be supportive, it takes pressure off to know that you have a whole community of creatives that are there to say, “We’re fighting with you.”


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cover story — nostalgia

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E M O C L WE TO THE F O D N La O TAL N S GIA Advertisers chase the new by going back to their roots. words Jo Mercado art Raxenne Maniquiz


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cover story — nostalgia

It’s neither a specific place nor a specific time. Nobody’s really from there, but everybody lives there. Wanderlust has been thrown out the window as social media’s driving force, yet #ThrowbackThursday still thrives. describes nostalgia as, “When you think about how great your life was a few years ago and then depress yourself knowing it won’t be that way ever again—ever.” It’s relatable, but it’s even more distressing that everyone knows the feeling. In these tense times, it seems our only common ground is that things were better before. Music has now reupholstered the 80’s new wave, millennial fashion constantly cycles back to a retrosexual wardrobe, and terrifyingly successful political campaigns ride on the idea of going back to a better time. Of course, advertisers are there to keep the ball rolling. Revisiting an original identity for a brand accomplishes a range of feats in an act so simple it’s almost infuriating. It pays homage to the people from before, bringing loyal customers back to their childhood, and it cements a brand’s icon status, all by going back to the original concept. Revival becomes the new reinvention. Interestingly, nostalgic marketing practices seem to be effective on millennials. A curious observation, because how can nostalgic marketing practices even work for a generation that wasn’t even around the first time? These powerhouses will show you how it’s done.

“ Their solution was to recall their original packaging design—gothic font on a white plain and logo— without introducing any new campaigns, products or promotions.”

Back to the basics

Rapid evolutions in technology, design, fashion, and social values place brands in a continuous race to keep ahead of the game. Logos are more streamlined and packaging simplified to be consistent with today’s prevalent minimalism. Over time, this can lead a brand to lose its distinction, and the ceaseless renovation never allows a proper identity to truly sink in. In his talk at this year’s adobo Design Series, Bruce Duckworth, co-founder of Turner Duckworth and President of AD&D, highlighted the importance of intelligent design. He cited Miller Lite, an American light beer brand that made a successful nostalgic transition on packaging alone. Previously, Miller Lite was under constant redirection, changing their cans to keep up with the market. At one point, Miller’s Lite can almost completely echo their competitor’s, and the brand’s sales reported a 7% decline. Their solution was to recall


their original packaging design -- gothic font on a white plain and logo—without introducing any new campaigns, products or promotions. The visual identity, first created in the 1970s, was revived by carefully tweaking specific elements (like the centerpiece red barley crest, absent from the packaging since 1994), while maintaining their core image. By simply returning to their original concept, Miller Lite grew bottle sales by as much as 30% according to Duckworth without advertising. The brand successfully leaned on nostalgic capital to re-establish themselves as the original light beer. New audiences, who didn’t experience Miller Lite’s initial packaging, were catered to with the streamlined design and given new ‘ownership’ over the coveted original, uniting consumers from all generations.

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Not just for the old folks

Another effective method of nostalgic marketing is to tug on those heartstrings. Emotion is possibly the most universal tool to reach a wide audience. When an ad incites memories and feelings are so wistful it almost hurts, it triggers a demand not based on practical necessity or value, but on a personal need to feel comforted. Take Jollibee, master of exploiting public emotion. Using a now-iconic TV spot from the 1980s, Jollibee’s “Langhap Sarap” ad by Publicis JimenezBasic panders to parents and younger audiences alike. The ad revived the catchy Langhap Sarap jingle, only making minor adjustments in lyrics and updating the track to sound more modern. Where the old spot is quintessentially 80s (bright colors, the Farrah Fawcett hair and short shorts galore), the reboot connects to a millennial audience by using today’s young personalities and viral sensations (there’s even a dab thrown in for good measure). Central elements of the original, namely the jeepney and two astronauts, are kept intact. Timing, in this instance, is key. The teen audience of the 80s is now 30 years older with teens of its own

to raise, so in truth, the ad targeted the teenagers in everyone. Jollibee perpetuates the idea that although you’ve grown up, they’ve stayed exactly the same, just as you remembered. Similarly, Lucky Me Pancit Canton catered to a more recently grown up audience with #OurOneAndOnly. Lucky Me’s return to their original pancit formula was given a boost with the ad’s reunion of John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo. The pair, prevalent in rom-coms of the 2000s, engage in the typical flirty date behaviors, which would normally be trivial if it weren’t for their glaring love team status. These brands make maliciously good use of a generation’s teenage memories to guarantee the ads’ success. On paper, these campaigns only pander to a certain age range, but the nature of that commonly shared experience ensures a huge response.


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cover story — nostalgia

A living legend

At the head of the icon parade marches the mothership of brand identity, Coca-Cola. The company’s marketing history is packed with pop-culture iconography credited to the brand. Now almost a trivial element, the glass contour bottle was a watershed, assertively distinguishing Coke simply through packaging. 1945’s red disc became the widely accepted symbol for Coke everywhere, to the point that the company practically took full ownership of bright red. Spenserian script, polar bears, the phrase “ice-cold” are virtually Coca-Cola property. Even the modern, twinkly-eyed Santa Claus many of us think of as “classic” is a Coca-Cola invention (St. Nick was given the full red and white makeover to sell Coke as a holiday product). Coca-Cola has an incredibly diverse marketing portfolio—almost too diverse. With a plethora of campaigns and gimmicks updated every possible season and specialized to region, demographic and individual product, Coke almost engaged in a cultural bombardment. For younger consumers overflowing with choice, it’s just too much. This was the challenge for Turner Duckworth. At the adobo Design Series, Bruce Duckworth noted that today’s audience values sophistication and simplicity, the opposite of Coke’s colorful history. Under Turner Duckworth, Coca-Cola, Diet, Zero and Life alike were tied together in one swift move under the ‘One Brand’ strategy, a 2016 global campaign that redefined CocaCola’s entire identity. The ubiquitous red disc was the common denominator, serving as a visual unifier across redesigned packaging. Over the years, the disc has been glossed over, frozen, thawed, and practically thrown out with the bathwater, yet it remains Coke’s blood-red, circular heart. To tackle a huge brand with a complex identity, Turner Duckworth simplified that identity to its very basics. The move was foolproof, doubling down on the plain truth that the red disc works. Unsurprisingly, homecomings have always been on Coke’s side. When the company tried to change the formula of Coke in 1985 with “New Coke,” the public demand for the classic recipe forced the company to revive the original. New Coke has since been phased out, and, just like the remainder of the company, only the good ol’ classic remains. The Old One Out

One expects nostalgic marketing to honor the past. Celebrating a brand’s history is honorable, sentimental, rightfully legitimizing the hard work of previous generations. So of course this elicits a feeling of moral satisfaction, rooted in our society’s obsession with patriotism. 40

“ With ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,’ Old Spice turned masculinity on its head, making fun of themselves for an audience with changed values, drastically revising rather than making a complete transformation.”

But there’s always the black sheep. The alternate technique sees a brand’s self-congratulation replaced with self-deprecation; where instead of paying tribute to your past, you make fun of it. It’s a bold move that shows both a re-visitation of an original identity and an evolution in values. It’s risky, because you stand a chance of completely undermining your past achievements, thus estranging your loyal customers while only placing bets that you’ll gain a new niche market. And it’s daring because even suggesting a portrayal of a brand’s history in a negative light could spell disaster; hence this approach is best left alone. Enter Old Spice. By 2008, the heritage deodorant was struggling, facing strong competition from Axe, who dominated the young adult market with promisingly seductive campaigns that simultaneously defined Old Spice as just for grandpas. The ‘Glacial Falls’ scent wasn’t performing and the 1-800-PROVE-IT campaign was on the rocks. Wieden+Kennedy transformed the brand forever with the viral “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign, which introduced Isaiah Mustafa, aka Old Spice Man (Hello, ladies). Old Spice Man is hypermasculine, hyper-charismatic, and hyper-seductive, but most importantly, completely unrealistic. The ads are jam-packed with ridiculously extravagant displays of exhibitionist masculine bravado, such as power sawing a countertop, diving off a waterfall and riding a motorcycle

shirtless, all in rapid-fire succession. Similarly, former NFL star Terry Crews touted the brand in an absurdist interactive online campaign in which users could play musical instruments by flexing Crew’s muscles. The campaign boosted sales by 107%, according to data from The Nielsen Company. Although not immediately evident, this extravagant rebranding actually takes a leaf from Old Spice’s own marketing past. 1978’s The Mark of a Man campaign sold masculinity (as defined by the ads) as a desirable trait. While successful at the time, this dreamboat machismo would be looked down upon by today’s gender-stereotype-aware audience. With “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” Old Spice turned masculinity on its head, making fun of themselves for an audience with changed values, drastically revising rather than making a complete transformation. This achieved both a recall and an identity shift that will be remembered for a very long time. This era’s obsession with commodifying nostalgia could be read as dissatisfaction with our reality. For marketers, nostalgia taps into a coveted truth that is shared by most, if not all potential consumers. Audiences recognize the durability of an icon, the importance of distinction, and the value of self-reflection. That’s something that shouldn’t be ignored, because in this day and age, if what people really want is a little comfort in what they know, then so be it.



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there’s a pun in the oven We follow Abby and Lance, the punmeisters of Pundesal, as we get an exclusive peek just how two become pun. words Sachi Sophia S. Go photos Abby Magsanoc

Recognizing the Filipinos’ unrelenting attraction to freshly baked noms and a craving for fresh to death punchlines, Lance Florentino and Abby Magsanoc decided to combine these two loves and hit the sheets—the sticker sheets, that is! And thus, ‘Pundesal’ was born. Established in 2016, the quirky brand started out with a small pack of inside joke-laden stickers that two Multimedia Arts students only sold to their circle of friends. Inevitably, the shareable and nostalgic nature of sticker packs—with the added fun of a pun—led to the brand’s successful growth in our reference-hungry generation of buyers. Sticker Pack, Ganern! The rise of Pundesal could not come at a better time. Their punny products, both hilarious and relatable, embody the current millennial culture that stays afloat through tough times with memes, satire, and a penchant for wearing our oddities with pride. It’s a beautifully simple equation— if we like something, we’ll probably like it better if we can stick it on our phones, laptops, notebooks, bags, clothes, or even our faces (if you’re into that). While mostly known for their line of Pundikits (stickers), the brand actually carries a varied

→ Abby Magsanoc and Lance Florentino Pundesal duo


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Get in on the craze by checking out their website at or grabbing a pack from one of their partner stores Kendo Creative, Sole Republiq, respite, and Hey Kessy scattered throughout Taft, Quezon City, and Muntinlupa (check out the exact addresses at their site, too).

catalogue of ‘puninda’ to fit any occasion or size. From the Puntahi (patch) and Puntaas (shirt) to the Puntakip (cap), they’ve got you covered, literally. Their arrays of goodies are a great presence in a world of icebreakers and nostalgics who love making meme-ories. And though that last pun may be a stretch, at least the comfy fabrics of their shirts have proven not to—so everyone’s fitted tees are safe from turning into 90s hip-hop gear overnight in the dryer. Today, Abby and Lance essentially create tiny badges of expression for everybody. And to further cultivate the unified love for art and LOLS, they are tapping various artists and designers who are looking for a viable platform to let their work be seen and enjoyed. As the sticker hype continues, it begs the question: what’s in store for Pundesal? More pun, more games, and according to the duo, more ‘kalokohan’ lies in wait. When asked about the longevity of the sticker trend and how it will affect them, they reply with an easy-going air. “Something going out of style is inevitable,” Lance says, “But Abby and I have always been fond of making puns from the top of our heads. They served as a great deal of entertainment for us even in the dullest moments. We don’t see the sticker trend fading anytime soon but if it does, we’re grateful to have been a part of it.” For now, as more and more people are proudly self-proclaimed ‘Kahlazy’ and ‘Antoks,’ it’s beginning to look like the modern art house has changed its shape and is made up of a little pun and a ton of sheet.


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off the books — acads

ISSUE 3 — nostalgia

blueprints for creativity Since the adjournment of the ASEAN Creative Cities, what are colleges and universities doing right in terms of investing in their creative courses? words Jo Mercado art Vnita Sohal

The verdict is out: creativity is in. April 2017’s Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Creative Cities Forum saw the appeal for the new Filipino’s economic future, one that values our own culture and creativity. In the forum, Professor John Howkins, the man who coined the term, “Creative Economy,” urged the Philippines to declare that “Creativity is a natural resource for everyone.” Where the Philippines now thrives on BPOs that offer young professionals’ skills to foreign corporations, the ASEAN summit observed that investment in the creative center spells growth both economically and socially. When the United Kingdom declared creativitity as a priority for grown and cultural development in 1998, it legitimized the role of creative industries asa contributor to the nation’s well-being and economic welfare. “We want to be free to manage our relationship to ideas. Freedom to say yes, say no, express, explore, discover, question, follow, interpret, control, reject, twist, hype, produce, package, perform, frame, borrow, copy, steal, develop, research, test, test again, know, share, exchange, prototype, promote, sell, buy Ideas,” insisted Howkins. Besides highlighting the need for the government to formally launch a Creative Economy Policy, panelists agreed that the country’s potential ASEAN Creative Clusters and Creative Cities should be recognized. Collaborations with other ASEAN countries in fields such as creative education and content co-production would benefit the regional economy as a whole. ASEAN’s conclusions light a fire under the creative Filipino’s proverbial derriere, prodding us to pursue regional dominance. The Asian creative market,

unquestionably dominated by K-Pop and Japanese visual media, could very soon be claimed by Filipino creative. ASEAN highlights an opening for the country’s artists to redefine the Filipino economy—but first, we have to graduate. For the nation’s creative schools, what exactly does all of this mean? Meridian International College (MINT) in Taguig sees this as an opportunity to integrate Filipino creative professionals into the international sector. Hendrik Kiamzon, MINT’s Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Admissions, notes that MINT’s methodologies “have always been aligned with that of established creative institutions in the US and Europe. This further enhances our reputation as a creative institution in the Philippines with an international approach.” Meridian operates on a western school calendar, much like other ASEAN countries, allowing a seamless transition to studies abroad. Students are also required to complete a portfolio class, ensuring a professional portfolio when seeking employment, and are assessed on the “crit” method, in which evaluations are determined by a jury presentation. Such alignments to western methods are simple yet effective, as MINT boasts an international faculty attracted precisely because of this globally-minded approach. The college has been adjusting its Information Technology and Computer Science programs, leaning towards a media-centric approach that works hand in hand with the creative programs. “Ours is a mix that molds students into the ideal creative who is tech savvy and has business sense,” says Kiamzon. In a similar development, De La Salle University’s Science and


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off the books — acads

“ It is about time to think out of the box of being servile, and merely following orders—we create the box, or just ‘unbox’,” says Dr. Mukhi.

Technology Complex announced its partnership with gaming giant UBISOFT. Per the recommendation of the Game Developers Association of the Philippines, UBISOFT teamed up with DLSU to pioneer a new initiative in local game development: in exchange for a production studio on the university’s Santa Rosa campus, UBISOFT would reupholster La Salle’s game design and computer science program. This provides a unique opportunity for students to access state-of-theart resources and valuable mentorship from leading professionals. UBISOFT’s insight on the academic side ensures that the Philippines develops a strong programming force, joining the country’s plethora of established game designers and writers. Another topic highlighted by the ASEAN summit is the importance of centralizing creativity in designated areas, i.e. creative clusters. Appointing distinct creative hubs can generate a unique ecosystem of collaboration as artists are given a common space. An upcoming example of this is Ateneo de Manila’s Areté, currently under construction. Located on the frontlines of the ADMU campus, the Areté creative hub is projected to be a modern facility for Ateneo’s fine arts students to practice and perform in their respective fields. The hub will feature a new theatre hall, several performance studios, a new home for the Ateneo Art Gallery. Most notable are the ‘sandboxes’,, experimental classrooms where students and teachers from any field or university are invited to collaborate. It seems simple enough, but formalizing a dedicated


space for creative endeavors, rather than working in scattered areas, can effectively stimulate a rise in marketable creative content. Merely providing such opportunities can help build a creative reputation in an area, as seen with De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde’s ‘Palabas’, the moniker given to the College’s mounted productions. The Palabas follow regular thematic stimuli, such as 2016’s theme “The Filipino Mythic,” and 2017’s “Food,” and are presented to the general public as examples of Benilde’s creative prowess. These productions are notably performed using Filipino language and motifs, making classic stories by Shakespeare or Dante more relevant to Filipinos. Dr. Sunita S. Mukhi, Associate Dean of Benilde’s Arts and Culture Cluster, explains that both “BACC’s students and faculty are active contributors to the soft capital of the Philippines,” as Benildeans are notable innovators in their fields. Graduates have forefronted Filipino Hip Hop, held a conference on how dance can help survivors of human trafficking, and set up restaurants with galleries. “It is about time to think out of the box of being servile, and merely following orders— we create the box, or just ‘unbox’,” says Dr. Mukhi. In truth, a creative industry dominated by Filipino content is entirely achievable. With effective guidance and nurturing, the country’s already ambitious creative youth are set to redefine the Filipino economy. “The Filipino is brilliantly creative!” expresses Dr Mukhi. “Let’s harness that and elevate it in importance as a national treasure.”

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off the books — me time

a universe of humanity Within these three schools’ treasure horde is a hidden gem where curated masterpieces are on display for everyone to revel in. words Sachi Sophia S. Go

In every university, often, one may find a mesh between either work or study, or even the occasional visit of the old stomping grounds. What lies within, however, is a hidden treasure that most overlook: their beautifully curated museums that lay inside, an entire landscape of history, humanities, and culture weaved together waiting to be unraveled by the curious visitor. The visitor may be unsure where to start, but it’s always the ones we least know that are worth the exploration.

Jose B. Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center

Referred to simply as “Vargas Museum,” this gallery houses not only a vast collection of Filipino artworks but countless archives, manuscripts, and books that document the rich history of Vargas’ intriguing library and Philippine records. While the Vargas Permanent Art Collection is definitely a go-to staple for any visitor, the real point of interest is the massive archive of loose documents and memorabilia spanning 300 linear ft. The various items and letters of every kind are on display where anyone can peruse and catch a glimpse into the lives and interactions of the Filipino greats who came before us. As for current programs, you can check out their collaborations with CANVAS: Take A Line For A Walk and KARAPATAN: Artists Stand For Human Rights, both running until July 22, 2017.

A Knotwork Exhibit

“Existence” Ged Merino & Aze Ong

Admission in the gallery is Php 30 for the general public and Php 20 for students, alumni, faculty, and employees (free on Wednesdays) and is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays at 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Address Jose B. Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center Roxas Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, Metro Manila


ISSUE 3 — nostalgia

Ateneo Art Gallery (AAG)

This clean, minimalistic space lends focus to the artifacts that dot the Ateneo Art Gallery (AAG) in the Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU). With a collection that boasts post-war artwork brought in by Fernando Zobel De Ayala within its premises, this makes their namesake, “First Museum of Post-modern Art,” even more legitimate. The gallery also holds the Ateneo Art Awards to help foster the growth of emerging Filipino artists and give them the chance to showcase their art both locally and internationally through their grants. Aside from their consistent collection, the gallery also regularly holds exhibitions. Their current one, Manga Hokusai Manga: Approaching the Master’s Compendium from the Perspective of Contemporary Comics, will be running until July 28, 2017; Shared Residence, a collaborative project that is still running; Ligalig: Art in a Time of Turmoil, running until August 05, 2017; and Lines: Pictures and Poems by Jose Garcia Villa, running until August 26, 2017.

Admission into the gallery is free, and it is open Mondays to Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 7:30 pm, and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Address Ateneo Art Gallery (AAG) ↑ Jose Garcia Villa’s first love was paint-

Ground Floor, Rizal Library, University Road, Diliman, Quezon City, Metro Manila

ing. Poetry was his claim to fame, but his love for art never escaped him.

→ “Lines: Pictures and Poems by Jose Garcia Villa” An exhibit on Villa’s unpublished works


↑ “Demonstrative Figures (Assimilated)” A system of dance instructions painted on the interiors as a manual meant to be followed. Erick Beltran

Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD)

MCAD is open on Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is for free as long as visitors bring a valid I.D. Address Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD) Ground Floor, Benilde School of Design and Arts Campus, Dominga St., Malate, Manila


Located right in the heart of the College of Saint Benilde’s School of Design and Art, MCAD is a snazzy space that brings together various forms of media (including film, music, animation, and fashion) to encapsulate the essence of contemporary art through collaborating with many professional artists and curators, both international and local. MCAD is an experience, one of which many art students under its wing would appreciate. Among their several stunning exhibitions they’ve ammased is their upcoming installation, Re-enactments*, which opened last July 13. Whether it’s for a solo cultural experience or an alternative hang out with friends, feel free to take a dip in the museum pool and discover the intricacies of our history and the depth of humanity.

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off the books — chill

OLD SCHOOL’S IN SESSION The ultimate guide to not only binge-watching, but time-travelling without leaving the couch. words Rogin Losa


Plata o plomo, cabrón? It’s moral ambiguity galore with Pablo Escobar, drug kingpin/Robin Hood in 1970s Colombia. This coming-of-(r)age historical fiction is an irresistible, lose-your-weekend binge. With Narcos’ tasteful visuals and commitment to staying true to Escobar’s enigmatic narrative, bingers are doomed to be hooked to the sheer badassery of it. CRIME THRILLER / 2015 / 16+ / 2 SEASONS

“It’s like I was born in the wrong era!” we often catch ourselves saying. Well, what if we could all pull a Marty McFly and go back on time at ease? With a little help of Netflix, no longer are we limited to just “chill,” a little time-hopping is now within our reach; TARDIS not required.

The Crown

We know Queen Elizabeth as the stoic, powerful, seemingly immortal monarch of Great Britain. But what do we know of her when she was young? Making decisions for one of the most powerful countries at age 25? Realizing her limitations as a sovereign? Leaving the normal life she desired to take her deceased father’s place? There’s drama afoot in 1940s Britain that’ll leave The Kardashians running for their Yeezys. History has never been this scandalous. Photos courtesy of Netflix


BIOPIC / 2016 / 16+ / 1 SEASON

ISSUE 3 — nostalgia

The Get Down

From the director that gave us Moulin Rogue and The Great Gatsby, The Get Down is an American musical drama set in South Bronx in the 70s, during the rise of hip hop and disco. It follows Zeke, a young, orphaned poet living with his aunt, who meets graphic artist Shaolin Fantastic and eventually forms a band with friends called The Get Down Brothers. Drama infused with timeless struggles of minorities, this is far from a Sister Act revival. MUSICAL / 2016 / 16+ / 2 PARTS


One of Netflix’ newest and an instant fan favorite, Riverdale is a dark, more adult adaptation of The Archie Comics, aptly described as Gossip Girl meets Twin Peaks. It chronicles the lives of the Archie Comics regulars, infusing each character with a dark backstory. It also revolves around a big mystery, the murder of town quarterback Jason Blossom. Whether you love or hate its morally ambiguous youth, who doesn’t love a who-killed-who mystery? MYSTERY / 2017 / 13+ / 1 SEASON

Stranger Things

It’s every 80s fan’s dream, complete with Winona Ryder. What’s not to like? But it’s more than the 80s references and the casual nod to the sci-fi genre of that decade. It’s about a small town banding together to face a larger than life monster. It’s about friendship, a love for a brother, and just plain alien puppy love—a classic at its finest without the usual tropes. SCI-FI / 2016 / 13+ / 1 SEASON


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brand recall

ISSUE 3 — nostalgia

cast in concrete As LEGO’s foundation is established on the youth, both schools and advertisers see its potential in building their future. words Sachi Sophia S. Go art Selina Bhang

You step into a magical LEGO store and you get an immediate rush of wonder and excitement as you are surrounded by colorful walls made of tiny bricks, those very same bricks you’ve held and pieced together to create your own little imaginative builds. You stare in awe of the towering structure of Darth Vader or Spiderman seemingly made of pixels. These pixels turn out to be more LEGOs and the entire wonderland consumes you with the giddy possibilities you can have with one brick. We’ve all had this experience. The kids of today and yesteryear have that shared experience with LEGO—arguably a classic staple in every dream playroom, pretty much being key building bricks in forming our childhood both literally and figuratively. The brand’s core values accurately represent what has always made it the practical and enjoyable toy-and-tool our parents choose with us. Imagination. Creativity. Fun. Learning. Caring. Quality. Whether we wanted to be architects, artists, and engineers or we just really enjoyed collecting their numerous series, those little plastic bricks have become part of our idea of what makes being a kid great, and now, our educational system is catching on. From Stormtroopers to MINDSTORMS

As LEGO continues to modernize its platforms with movies like LEGO Batman and video games like LEGO

Harry Potter and LEGO Marvel Heroes (it’s a whole lotta LEGO), it seems apt that their next step into the future is robotics. Much like the space-age wonder of their Star Wars series, LEGO is adopting real-world technology for kids to create their own robots and program them to their unique specifications— MINDSTORMS. In the Philippines, STEM educators are making use of this new line by incorporating it into student programs to enable what the Philippine Robotics Academy has coined as a ‘mind-on-handson’ experience. According to First in Educational Learning Trends Always (FELTA) MultiMedia President and CEO Mylene Abiva, LEGO is “an educational resource here—a tool to be used for learning by making.” “We are building a society of critical thinkers and developing a science-based culture,” she continues on FELTA’s work in partnership with LEGO Education. The program aims to enable kids with a more productive learning system that is both engaging and relevant to the continuously emerging technological landscape of the modern day. As of now, over 800 Filipino students are part of the program and the Department of Education continues to strive for this number to grow so that more young Pinoys are encouraged to innovate, create, and inspire. 55

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brand recall

“ We are building a society of critical thinkers and developing a science- based culture.”

The brick in our walls

↑ The Philippine Robotics Team, sponsored by LEGO, competed in the FLL OEC 2017 European Open in Aarhus, Denmark last May 25.


Now we watch the LEGO Education project spread and reach more aspiring robot-designers, once again allowing the brand to put its stamp on the creative learning journey of an entirely new generation. Picture it: a world with the perfect balance of futuristic technology and the classics of a distant yet tangible past. It seems a big part of what keeps LEGO a definitive player in the industry of playthings and imagination is its ability to adapt to change, even lead its direction, while retaining the core aspects that it has carried and built through the years. Those very aspects that, nostalgic and ever-reliable, harken to every person’s hazy memories of youth and the distinct feeling of perhaps having the future in your hands by way of a bright and colorful little brick. Consistently taking the top spot in Forbes’ Most Powerful Brands list (including this year’s), LEGO appeals to all of us because of the creative freedom it represents time and again. Through its lines and programs, children and former children can grasp a world of endless possibility and collaboration that may translate into every aspect of our daily lives. Forbes marks the brand’s gender-neutral marketing and nostalgic sensibilities as the key factors that keep it the biggest brand of our time. As LEGO Philippines’ message now is “a Lego in every home,” with their educational efforts it seems all too likely that tomorrow’s kids will also see a Lego in every classroom. With what they bring to the table, that can’t be a bad thing. What makes LEGO a true staple is the idea it holds for everyone—that anything is possible, and we can make it so. Perhaps this can be easily summed up in the hopeful and catchy words of the anthropomorphic LEGO people themselves back in 2014: “Everything is awesome. Everything is cool when you’re part of a team. Everything is awesome when we’re living our dream.”

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the firm

the playpen

↑ NuWorks’ collaborative space meant for meetings and the occasional time for leisure.

In NuWorks Interactive Labs, creativity and collaboration is evident at the first glance. words Louise Saludo and Hannah de Vera photos Pauline Mata


ISSUE 3 — nostalgia

Though parks and playgrounds have diminished in numbers all over Metro Manila, standing in the heart of Ortigas Center is an artist’s play space. Emerging from the depths of the digital space is a literal corporate playground: NuWorks Interactive Labs, a thriving creative environment that prides itself in ‘taking fun seriously.’ This eight-year-old advertising agency was once manned by six geniuses. Jeff Saez, the President and CEO and Tom de Leon, COO, founded NuWorks in 2009. From these two, they foresaw that digital was the next big thing and believed in its power to transform brands and consumers. They both had separate fortes; Tom’s was in web production and ad operations, while Jeff’s was in creative, strategy, media, and business development. After a few months, Mike Ng, who is a master in creative technology, and Connie Balmaceda, expert in Finance, Human Resources, and Administration, joined the company to form four managing partners. From then on, this creative agency grew the digital marketing army we see today. NuWorks redefined the industry through its disruptive ‘story-tech’ discipline. They use technology as an outlet for artistic strategies that are guarded by humane values. Their philosophy revolves around “telling moving human stories through creative technology,” where every employee is guided by the belief that by loving what you do, the people you work with and for, and loving the working environment, you’ll be able to deliver excellence. And deliver excellence they did. “When it comes to work and creating value for our clients, we are guided by our philosophy, at the same time, our company culture is encapsulated by the hashtag: #NuWorksHappy,” according to Saez. Fun is part of the company’s guiding principles, seeing as their thriving agency is the dream headquarters of every 90s baby. Their interiors feature the amalgamation of both nature and Silicon Valley. According to Saez, the office was built in the spirit of true agile innovation, such is evident and nature found its way into the building. At


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the firm

first, the office seemed like the usual corporate agency, but a further look in would show that it is far from it. Quirky waiting chairs originally designed as a bath tub greets every guest and a huge Phoenix—their spirit animal signifying their need for continuous reinvention—emblazoned on one of their walls, and an arcade machine hidden to the side where guests and employees can play a game of classic Tekken. Reaching further in is their bloodline, where their most of their employees reside. No walls bar the employees from communicating with each other, and each desk has its own customized piece of furniture, namely their cabinets that double as a storage unit and chair to allow them to talk to each other easily. If there is anything that NuWorks deems most important, it’s their employees. However, building an employee-centric organization in the industry is easier said than done. The management of NuWorks recently launched NEST, or NuWorks Employee Support Team which catered solely to the needs of the employees. “(NEST’s) focus is a more holistic and service-oriented approach in providing employees with what they need in order for them to deliver excellence. NEST makes sure to deliver top-notch employee experience by providing a comfortable second home (our #NuWorkSpace), friendly support services, ample training with the NuWorks Academy, fun employee engagement activities that promote team and culture building, proper tools to get the job done more efficiently, and everything else in between.” Still, Nuworks is challenged by balancing the demands of the nature of work and the growth and needs of their employees. According to Joelle Villafranca, NuWorks HR Officer, the balance between client and employee desires and needs is achieved through empathy and trust. “Being able to balance client and employee needs and desires really boils down to empathy and trust, which you get by building and maintaining great relationships with the people you work with, and are rooted in honesty, transparency, authenticity, and mindfulness. This is something that we constantly work hard at improving every day.” Mr. Saez also supports this by citing the company culture encapsulated by the hashtag #NuworksHappy. The headquarters’ tree house and playground was engineered in order to inspire the creative process as it serves solely as brainstorming hubs. Talk about commitment to artistry. An actual telephone booth also stands beside the playground 60

“ In the spirit of true agile innovation, we built an office that will inspire the creative process.”

for those who need privacy when a client or a family member calls. There are also solo working pods for those who desperately need to concentrate. Further in the pantry and close to their head offices is a small place for hanging out that is filled with cozy fairy lights and rows of reading materials for the young creative. But of course, while they were indeed known for their quirky interiors, how can something that has already been fleshed out so well get even better? Enter NuWork’s new studio. An event space-slashstudio has blessed the building with its funky and modern décor. A neon sign containing the company’s logo emblazoned on black bricks greet every new visitor

ISSUE 3 — nostalgia

↑ NuWorks’ ampitheater has its own foosball table and speakers for maximum musical enjoyment.

to the new space. Inside are a wooden amphitheater with an unfinished game of foosball, a pantry with wooden counters and cabinets filled with several brands of soft drinks and juices, and a stage to host events on with chairs and tables akin to NuWorks’ company colors. Close to the pantry is a recording studio used for sound engineering purpose, and the piece de resistance: a studio colored from ceiling to floor in green to be used for commercials and the like. “In the spirit of true agile innovation, we built an office that will inspire the creative process. NuWorks is composed of a diverse set of individuals with different expertise, mindsets, orientations, and personalities. To encourage frictionless collaboration and to inspire family orientation, we broke down barriers and lessened the physical walls in our environment,” shares Saez, “The employees’ disposition and productivity definitely improved and we see the results in talent retention and acquisition. Having more inspired employees also had an impact on business growth as we have been able to acquire bigger clients and win more prestigious awards.”


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gaming and comics

Comic book adaptations have at times been lost in translation, but that doesn’t stop them from being all the rage. words Ralph de Vera art Julian Vinzon

ISSUE 3 — nostalgia

There’s no question that the world of comics has a nigh infinite amount of characters, back stories, and universes. With how much creative content made through juxtaposed boxes and speech bubbles since its inception, it’s no wonder that video games, television and movies have used the material and expanded with it in their own media when their inspiration pool has dried up. How they’ve integrated them throughout the years, however, is something always being questioned, for both comic book fans and their respective media enthusiasts. One of the most popular transitions from comics to the screen is television. Television took advantage of how their medium works and focused on expansive storytelling to better paint the world for the viewers through a multitude of episodes than heavily relying on CGI for live-action adaptations. Characters were easier to develop, and the story was absorbed more fluidly. CW’s Flash, Arrow, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow have proven popular to both comic book fans and those new to the genre alike. A lot of animated cartoons have also garnered praise to all types of audiences, though tend to not live long due to it being more expensive than their liveaction counterparts and a lot less star power, though the fact that cable networks are picking them up for production consideration for their primetime slots is

a huge leap for when they used to air them on kid-time schedules. The 2003 Teen Titan television series was one of the most popular and highly rated comic adaptations of all time, due to their exceptional story progression and character development that go beyond being categorized as a “kids show” before they were of course milked for their popularity and revamped into the cringe inducing Teen Titans Go. Everyone is more familiar though with the cinematic universe of comics. Despite it being the earliest of adaptations, it still is trying to find the right formula to squeeze out as much content with how little time movies are compared to their television series counterparts until now. Warner Bros DC adaptations blossomed during the early 2000 Batman Trilogy depicted by Christian Bale as The Dark Night. The darker undertone and grim facade worked wonderfully for the mostly broody characterization of Batman in the comics. Later DC movies used this same formula in their other movies, Man of Steel and Dawn of Justice to name a few, and shot blanks trying to capture the same magic the trilogy had. Only when Wonder Woman got her own standalone movie did they finally get their formula’s groove back and possible revived the spark of the DC cinematic universe. 63

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gaming and comics

These adaptations are always a risk because studios must always continuously ask themselves, “How do I get these pages and make them live on screen?”


Marvel has had better luck over their movies. With an average of 82% in their movie ratings in Rotten Tomatoes, their movie direction hasn’t faltered over the years, keeping their ship steady with a plethora of movies for the next 10 years. Their film formula of wit, humor, and their common-day cinematography tend to be more relatable, keeping audiences engaged. Outside the two giant universes, other movie comic adaptations struggled harshly. Watchmen was panned by critics and the public alike, due to its swishy pacing and slow character development, while fans of the graphic novel, praised it for its utmost accuracy to the source material. Video game adaptations of superhero comics have had a lukewarm reception over the years compared to the early years of video game yesteryears. Most comics that have had a video game translation would have great success and critical acclaim, but would fall short when sequels come in to milk the former’s triumph. 2009’s Batman, Arkham Asylum and 2006’s Marvel, Ultimate Alliance share this fate, where they would rise for their ingenuity for balancing the aesthetics of their world and the mechanics of their gameplay, but would later fall flat and repetitive when their sequels came out. Both DC and Marvel have expanded further to create their respective world as an MMORPG, with DC online and Marvel Heroes, with the former’s decline since its start in 2011, and the latter’s expansion from PC to consoles to widen their reach. Truth be told, if it works, it works. These adaptations are always a risk because studios must always continuously ask themselves, “How do I get these pages and make them live on screen?” These studios must collaborate closely with the creators when it comes to decisions in portraying things either accurately or differently if they want their work to be nicely rendered and accepted by fans, even inadvertently bringing in even more fans to the comic franchise. Done only to be only different or inclusive, then it’s too much creative meddling ruining not only their respective mediums, but also tarnishing the good name of the franchise they used. With how big a budget you’ll need to make these worlds come to life, and with how big the comic book fan base really is, so far, studios are taking a microscopic view of the comic book world to have a better understanding of the material, and that is a good thing. With how much more content lined up from 2017 to 2020, for television, movies, and games alike, here’s to crossing our fingers that they don’t f*** it up.

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gaming and comics

developed by the sword The first-ever E-sports game made in the Philippines is now well on its way to regional big leagues, and very soon, the world. words Jomari Vista

Almost every internet café from this end to the next is riddled with people of all ages playing the latest online game. DoTA 2, League of Legends, and Counter Strike all household names on every gamer’s desktop, all that’s left for Filipinos to do is to choose what adventure they would like to tackle that day. According to Newzoo, there will be 29.9 million more gamers in the Philippines for 2017, however, despite its huge population, there wasn’t a local option for Filipino gamers to choose from—enter Project Xandata, the Philippine’s first up-and-coming online game. With a sight for the regional eSports scene, no doubt it has the readiness to challenge the greats in the field.   Equipped to win

Project Xandata is an online competitive first-person shooter that introduces players to a world where sci-fi meets Philippine mythology. The game is developed by The Studio of Secret 6, which has over a decade of experience producing games and assets for their international clients. Players take control of Xandats, soldiers who wear various types of Xandat Armor which possess unique skills and ultimate abilities that cater to many playstyles. The armor is further customizable with a G-Mat, which further enhances the character’s skills with elemental properties. The game caps it off with 10 unique weapon archetypes with different stats and perks. A tale of ‘XD’

Project Xandata began as a personal project by Gene Gacho, the game’s Original Concept and Lead Developer. He started toiling around with the idea of a first-person shooter game until he managed to create prototypes that his coworkers got to try out. Eventually, the concept began to gain traction, so he pitched it to his boss. Thus, the codename ‘Project XD’ was born.


ISSUE 3 — nostalgia

“ While the journey to completion is still far ahead, the game feels promising for Filipino gamers.”

The great inspirations

Project XD’s main inspiration is Destiny, a 2014 online first-person shooter developed by Bungie, developers of the Halo franchise. The game’s stylized sci-fi aesthetic, however, hails its inspiration mainly from Mega Man Zero, from the iconic video game franchise made by Capcom. Counter Strike: Global Offensive, a similar multiplayer game, with its strong eSports community and deep weapon customization market inspired the game’s focus on skill-based gameplay and weapon customization. This also led to the development of the game’s official tagline, “Get Weaponized.” Through the tagalog translation of ‘sword’ (sandata), Project Xandata became the game’s final name. The road to the beta

←↑ A sneak peak into the world of Project Xandata with screencaps from the game’s alpha testing. Photos courtesy of Secret6

Project Xandata was officially revealed in the Philippines’ third Electronic Sports and Gaming Summit last year to the excitement of the audiences who attended. They also held their first public alpha demonstration, where players and the press got to try out the game for the first time. Recently, they had their second public alpha in the 2017 Pinoy Gaming Festival, where they showed off new changes to the game along with a bigger exposure to the eSports community. With the rise of eSports in the country, as evidenced by professional team TNC’s 40 million peso, DoTA 2 tourney win at the World Electronic Sports Games 2016, Project Xandata’s role is more important than ever before. While the journey to completion is still far ahead, the game feels promising for Filipino gamers. With a weapon to truly call our own, the only way our local video game scene can go is up.


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gaming and comics

modding reality Mystery Manila has rooms filled with conundrums, puzzles, and riddles that never truly leave you. words Hannah de Vera

↑ Mystery Manila’s lobby features a leaderboard of their best teams as well as videos of their showcased rooms.


ISSUE 3 — nostalgia

Once upon a time, when sites such as Newgrounds and Armor Games ruled the internet, every kid under the age of ten would spend hours on end on their dial-up connections to play flash games. The ever popular one was the point-and-click game, where often players are forced to escape rooms by unlocking doors or finding strange clues in unexpected places. These immersive experiences kept us up at night, terrified what’s by the closet door, or made us daydream during the day, how we’d McGyver our way out of school. It was through these games that children as young as we were would experience what it would be like inside a haunted house or to be locked inside a room, it practiced our proficiency and the ability to think on our feet. Now, while these games are still ever prevalent on the digital space, one company decided to bring the experience to life here in the Philippines. Mystery Manila was founded on the passion for the mysterious, whether it be movies, games, or books. Upon learning of the trend in Japan for Escape Room Games, they wanted to bring the experience here in Manila so their love for everything mystery could spread. They saw Mystery Manila as a way to challenge people—kind of like “Saw” without the impending threat of dying—to experience new things and to look for creative solutions to difficult problems.

← Enter the room entitled “Mr. Moriarty,” a Sherlock Holmes inspired room where one could unravel its mystery by reading between the lines.


ISSUE 3 — nostalgia

↑ The room, Morbid Morgue, was inspired by the gory horror movie, “Saw.”

“ The result? A titillating thrill and feeling of accomplishment whenever you solve a puzzle and unravel the mystery lurking underneath.”

It was a way for players to broaden their imagination. If anything, Mystery Manila truly invests in a holistic experience. Before entering any room, a gamekeeper instructs your group to leave your things inside their locker, and depending on the experience, gives you costumes such as wizard robes or deerstalker hats to make you look the part. Then, you are led into your chosen room, and a voice will often reiterate the game’s premise. A countdown starts, and you are left to panic and search franticly what could be the next move. Every player is fully immersed in the fantasy and each has their own roles to fill: one being the runner, the puzzle solver, or the one who is trapped under a white cloth singing nursery rhymes in hopes of perturbing feelings of fear aside. The result? A titillating thrill and feeling of accomplishment whenever you solve a puzzle and unravel the mystery lurking underneath.


class a

gaming and comics

↑ All hands on deck as future jedis get to try their Star Wars inspired room, Rebel Resistance.

Each room had its own unique storyline. Their influence with movies, TV shows, and books helped conceptualized the homegrown Mysteries that we see today, theming rooms from Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Conjuring, Paranormal Activity, and many more. Some rooms have a multiple story arc, giving customers something to look forward to every visit to all their branches. “We believe having a multiple story arc will help give customers a more realistic feel wherein they can actually follow the developments of the characters and the storyline,” shares Jace Seno from Mystery Manila. The mysteries never stop ending. Even going back to the same game yields a whole different experience altogether. Instead of immersing yourself in a dark room with noise-canceling headphones day-by-day, put that proficiency to the test, grab your friends and go to the nearest branch. Tread carefully, however, though you may escape the room, the room will always be with you. Inside your head.


class a

out and about

youtube fanfest philippines 2017

↑ Our first five copies of class a were hidden within the venue. Were you able to spot any?


If you haven’t already heard the screams a mile away, YouTube FanFest comes back to Manila for a third year in a row, this time bringing even more stars than before. Around 15 YouTube stars ruled the World Trade Center stage as they played several known YouTube challenges, sang familiar songs, and took selfies with audience members. A night well-spent for many who were able to see their favorite social media starts in all their glory.

ISSUE 3 — nostalgia

← Host of the night, Mikey Bustos, dressed up as a cloud in-between performances.

→ YouTube power couple LaurDIY and Alex Wassabi wave to their fans


they perform the remix of their song, “My Side.”

Jasper Lucena Photography YouTube FanFest Philippines 2016 Courtesy of Branded Ltd and YouTube



ISSUE 3 — Nostalgia




Ralph de Vera animates stuff in his job at Secret 6 and teaches stuff at iAcademy. He also likes to doodle and write stuff. He hates it when people say “stuffs.”

Selina Bhang is someone who likes her designs the way she enjoys her kimchi— tasteful, and packed with a punch that will blow any mind.

Edward Joson is a 21-year-old visual

Sachi Sophia S. Go is freelance writer on the verge of becoming a cat lady, with dreams of being the first female colonel for Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC).

Jelenie Custodio is an illustrator, graphic designer, and 2D animator who likes to fill her days off with sketching, painting, K-pop, and lots of daydreams.

Jo Mercado is a hot mess studying in

Raxenne Maniquiz is an illustrator

Boston University for a PhD in covfefe.

and designer from Manila. She loves combining contrasting elements, genres, and media to come up with refreshing work.

artist who focuses on graphic design, photography and layout. He is a minimalist and likes incorporating distortion and displacement in his art. Ken Logro is just a boy and works in

visual and written formats. Abby Magsanoc is a walking meme fond

CJ Peradilla is a writer… by day. Her

work has previously appeared in Gantala Press’s anthology, Danas, and Sunday Times Magazine. Louise Saludo is a confused millennial

who seeks to travel all four corners of the earth.

Vnita Sohal creates art that shows a

glimpse of her own understanding about the modern society and the perception of the youth towards the world. Julian Vinzon is a Widowmaker main.

Jomari Vista is a multimedia designer

with a passion for technology, video games, and pop culture.


JL Crespo is a 21-year-old stylist who has been in the industry for two years and has worked for published editorial features, print advertising campaigns, and runway shows for designers.

of puns and pick-up lines. She usually spazzes over dogs or snaps products that she can make puns out of in the grocery. Pauline Mata is a part-time photographer

and a full-time daydreamer. She lives for late-night conversations, long drives, and coffee. In her spare time, she enjoys boxing and fantasizes about backpacking around the world. Rxandy Capinpin is a conceptual photographer from San Juan.

class a (issue 3) — Nostalgia  
class a (issue 3) — Nostalgia