CreativeFest NOW! brings creative minds together to celebrate stories

Stories of all shapes and sizes took center stage at the largest gathering of creative professionals in the country, CreativeFest NOW! which happened last November 19 to 21. 

With the theme “Stories Don’t Stop,” this year’s CreativeFest was attended by almost 1,600 participants who saw and heard some of the world’s top creative minds discuss how they are harnessing creativity to transform the world. 

The event marked a significant shift from how it’s usually done. With the country still reeling from the effects of the pandemic, the event took place online and was made publicly available for free. The entire event remains available online and can be accessed on-demand for a limited period. Those who missed CreativeFest NOW! only need to create an account through this link to be able to stream the talks from the said event.

Organized by the Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies of the Philippines (4As) and the Creative Guild of the Philippines (Creative Guild), an organization composed of the creative directors of 4As member-agencies, CreativeFest NOW! featured more than 40 speakers from various disciplines that are changing how we approach creativity, especially today in the context of our current struggles against this once-in-a-century health crisis. 

“This is a celebration of the now and the relevant. Amidst the impossible odds, amidst the challenges, we are right here, right now for each other, for creativity,” Rey Tiempo, Chief Creative Officer of VMLY&R and the President of the Creative Guild of the Philippines, said.

“We have hit on a theme that is relevant to our times, that is relevant to what we are going through, and that will show you how you can make a difference in your work and in the work that we produce for our clients day after day,” 4As Chairman and BBDO Guerrero Creative Chairman, David Guerrero adds.

Merlee Jayme, global president of dentsumcgarrybowen, zeroed in on the transformative power of creativity and how it’s being utilized to address some of the problems we are facing today.

The first day of the event started with a keynote speech from Merlee Jayme, president of the newly formed global agency dentsumcgarrybowen. In her speech, she discussed the importance of harnessing creativity to address the challenges we face today.

“Stories indeed don’t stop, even in times of uncertainty. Lockdowns have unlocked the greatest ideas, masked faces have displayed the biggest emotions, and zero travels have inspired the wildest imaginations. Closed businesses have opened new, untapped ones. The craziness of the year has pushed us to create crazy stories and ideas,” Jayme notes.

Morten Bonde, LEGO senior art director, delivered the keynote remarks for the second day of CreativeFest NOW! and discussed how he overcame self-doubt and harnessed creativity.

During the second day of the event, Morten Bonde, senior art director of the Lego Group delivered the keynote address, focusing on his battle against self-doubt brought about by his disability and how he overcame it by reframing how he looked at things and focusing on his commitment to excellence.

Bonde also shared how stories have a transformational role in the lives of so many people. “Stories can bring people together and stories can bypass the analytical filters of your mind and go straight to your heart. You know what? Stories with impact are not remembered in the brain, they are remembered in the heart.”

Taiwan’s Digital Minister Audrey Tang shared with the audience of CreativeFest NOW! some of the tools she employed to help combat disinformation about the pandemic.

During the third day, Taiwan’s Digital Minister Audrey Tang delivered an inspiring talk on how she has been able to harness data and technology to make Taiwan one of the most successful countries against the Coronavirus outbreak. Utilizing humor to combat rumors that poisoned public discourse surrounding COVID-19, Tang was able to use memes and other forms of funny and engaging content to educate the public and reinforce the message of health experts in the country.

A self-described “poetician”, Tang also explained how her love of poetry influenced how she designed government communications amid the pandemic. Arming herself with alliterations and rhymes, she made communication material that clicked and captured the imagination of the public.

“Messages, when they are poetic, they take a life of their own. In the mind of each receiver they become not just a communication message but something like a seed of a new idea. Those ideas can then grow and remix into their own stories,” Tang furthered.

She also shared her job description as a simple reminder to all creatives, now that the creative industry becomes more digital and data-driven.  

“When we see the internet of things, let’s make it the internet of beings. When we see virtual reality, let’s make it a shared reality. When we see machine learning, let’s make it collaborative learning. When we see user experience, let’s make it about human experience. Whenever we hear that the ‘singularity is near,’ let us always remember that plurality is here,” Tang adds. 

Aside from Jayme, Bonde, and Tang, other creative giants delivered informative, insightful, and inspiring talks: Dumb Ways To Die creator John Mescall; the makers of culture-shaping and award-winning works from Libresse and AMV BBDO, Nadja Lossgott and Nicholas Hulley; one of Esquire’s Most Influential People of the 21st Century, John Maeda; internet sensation Macoy Dubs; Filipino-American storyboard artist and director, Jay Oliva;  the man behind the Secret Base, Calvin Cuevas; and many more shared their stories during the three-day event. 

In addition to bringing three days of learning, CreativeFest NOW! also served as a venue to recognize some of the most influential names in Philippine advertising. Eugene Demata and Dave Ferrer, two legends that the industry lost in the past year, were the recipients of the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award for their industry-defining contributions to advertising. Meanwhile, Cristina Sanchez, Deputy Creative Director of Wunderman Thompson and Aste Gutierrez, Creative Director of TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, were inducted into the Creative Guild Hall of Fame, joining a venerable list of creative heavyweights. 

CreativeFest NOW! was also a place for giving, especially to the disadvantaged members of the industry and those affected by Typhoon Ulysses. The event benefits Aidvertising, a fund-raising activity for daily-wage earners working in the industry who were displaced by the pandemic and the quarantine measures, and the United Nations Children’s Fund, which is working to address the needs of affected communities devastated by the most recent typhoon. 

CreativeFest NOW! was presented by the 4As, the Creative Guild, Smart, and PMFTC. The event is sponsored by Nescafe, ABS-CBN, BBDO Guerrero, Cignal, Coca-Cola, ManuLife, Oishi, Dentsu JaymeSyfu, foodpanda, Grey Manila, Hi-Precision Diagnostics, Propel Manila, McDonald’s, The Huddle Room, TBWA\ Santiago Mangada Puno, Wunderman Thompson, and Wilkins Distilled Water. It is organized in partnership with Grupo Agatep, Adobo Magazine, Mesh Lab, and Google.

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