In keeping with the agency’s commitment to delivering ideas-led, data-driven and tech-enabled work, dentsu Philippines announced the promotion of Roki Ferrer to head of data. Ferrer will report directly to JC Catibog, CEO, dentsu Philippines.

 Prior to the promotion, Roki was the agency’s connections strategy and research lead. A marketing and communications expert with over 16 years of brand management, corporate communications, integrated marketing communications, and connections planning experience, Ferrer's solid foundation of business understanding and campaign management was testament in the success of the campaigns he had worked on as a client marketer. These campaigns include work for Coca-Cola, Globe Telecom, and SkinWhite. In the past five years, he has worked on the agency side and widened his perspectives of different planning tools, frameworks, and approaches to deliver custom solutions to solve complex business problems of local and global brands.

Catibog commented: “Knowledge is nothing without experience, and this is true of the role that Roki has played at dentsu and in the industry. He has enabled us to be thought-leaders in the realm of consumer and media by spearheading webinars, media bulletins, and bespoke research consultancies that surfaced new truths brought about by the pandemic. Roki’s marketing acumen and knowledge of the power of data will sharpen consumer understanding of our clients and future-proof the agency to unlock audience identity solutions, solutions that help navigate challenges in the digital world.”

In his new role, Ferrer will expand his strategy and research remit to equip and accelerate the data offering of dentsu Philippines and create business value through data services and products for clients.

 In enabling a culture led by data, Ferrer will be in charge of data science, strategy, governance, and evangelisation for the organisation in collaboration with other functions locally and regionally, to bring cutting-edge thinking to dentsu’s businesses.

Commenting on his new role, Ferrer said: “People-based marketing is the way forward, and data will be the spine that bridges brands closer to the ever-evolving consumer beliefs, dispositions, and behaviors. I am looking forward to working with the team to deliver next generation data products as we evolve our proprietary audience panel and planner, and find key technology and media partnerships to build new platforms. It is definitely an exciting time for dentsu.”

The inaugural YouTube Works Awards has named brand content, campaigns, and channels that stood out in effectiveness and creativity in 2020. Despite being a year fraught with challenges, brands in the Philippines set the bar high on effectively using YouTube to deliver results and tell stories that resonate with local audiences. 

“As the pandemic changed life as we know it, the way we tell brand stories and engage audiences evolved too. YouTube Works Awards saw that, despite the restrictions in creative production and reaching consumers, brands in the Philippines rose above the challenge and expanded the possibilities with YouTube to effectively drive results and tell stories that resonate with Filipinos,” said Gabby Roxas, Head of esb电竞数据投注电脑版 at Google Philippines. “Congratulations to all the winners and we look forward to the continued participation and support of the industry next year!”

The top awards went to RC Cola’s “ Basta ” campaign, which was lauded for being brave enough to take creative risks and making effective use of Gen Z’s surrealist humor. The campaign won both The David --which honors the campaign that created a Goliath-sized impact for a David-sized brand--and the Grand Prix --which awards the brand that demonstrated excellence throughout the entire process of creating the campaign. Garnering more than seven million views to date, the video boosted RC’s sales by 63% showing that taking bold, creative risks pays off.

“At a tumultuous time when it would normally be considered unconventional to experiment, bravery in exploring the bold and the new pays off,” said Leigh Reyes, Internet and Mobile esb电竞数据投注电脑版 Association of the Philippines (IMMAP) President, C3PO (Chair 3meritus and Product Officer) of MullenLowe TREYNA, and YouTube Works Jury Head. “RC Cola’s ‘ Basta’ campaign pushed the boundaries of the Pinoy advertising approach, tapping into absurdism to cut through repetitive and mundane lockdown content. Congratulations to Gigil, RC Cola, and the rest of the winners of the first-ever YouTube Works Awards!”

Roxas continued, “RC Cola’s story of a bizarre family who ended up showing that they are embracing and enjoying their difference is consistent with the campaign’s approach--the pursuit to unapologetically stand out in a sea of formulaic content to achieve marketing and business objectives. YouTube Works aims to celebrate and champion campaigns like this to invite brands to continue innovating, experimenting, and learning.”

Filipinos love following stories and characters. That’s why half of the entries in YouTube Works Awards comprised multiple videos and formats with episodic content, all vying for the Best Multi-Video Storytelling award. The winner of this category--TNT’s "Free Games for All"  series--capitalized on Filipinos’ love for gaming mixed with hugot lines to tell the story of four friends bonding over online games told through three videos. Driving a 165% increase in revenue versus the previous year, this campaign proved that YouTube viewers keep coming back for episodic content especially if it offers a compelling narrative.

  The power of entertaining content and authenticity is at the heart of the winners of the Best Brand Channel and Best Collaboration awards respectively.

The Red Horse Lakas-Tama Channel, winner of the Best Brand Channel category, focused on building a channel that looked beyond product marketing to create content that its target market would watch and engage, with especially over a bottle of beer: online concerts, variety show sketches, and entertainment-led videos. As a result, its subscriber base grew 2X from 26,000 in October 2019 to 54,000 in 2020, and the YouTube channel scored 3.4 million views last year. The channel continues to grow, with a subscriber base that now stands at more than 87,000.

As the winner of the Best Collaboration award, Lucky Me! Pancit Canton, together with YouTube creator Mimiyuuuh, created the “Pinakahihintay NaThin” campaign that put a lighthearted spin on the brand’s return to their original--and much-loved--thin noodles by calling out social media naysayers while challenging them to try the new and improved version of the product. With this, Lucky Me! saw a lift in purchase intent and brand favor, achieving a view through rate (VTR) 18% higher than campaigns without creator collaborations.

Rounding up the winners of this year’s YouTube Works Awards are two heartfelt campaigns that show how brands with purpose can drive impact in times of uncertainty.

P&G placed pandemic heroes at the heart of their  "A Frontliner's Sacrifice" campaign that puts the spotlight on the real, raw sacrifices of our frontliners while being away from their families to care for the sick. The online film won P&G the Force for Good award.

 Globe Telecom’s “ A Star Wars Experience For All ” campaign won the Best Long Form Storytelling award for its heartwarming story about two young boys who created a special viewing experience for their deaf friend. The campaign shows the importance of inclusivity by representing and uplifting persons with accessibility challenges.

“I'd like to congratulate all the winners of YouTube Works. Their campaigns are truly inspiring and speak volumes about the future of advertising in the Philippines. From taking bold, creative risks to playing meaningful roles amid the pandemic, these brands effectively harnessed insights and stories to use YouTube in driving desired results.

“While there were many great campaigns this year, the Best Personalization award went unclaimed, nonetheless. This brings an opportunity for brands and agencies to challenge themselves further about contextual targeting and fully unlock this potential. I’m excited to see how they will take this challenge to bag the award next year,” said Gary de Ocampo, Chief Executive Officer, Insights Division, Kantar Philippines.

The new partnership between Wattpad, the global multi-platform entertainment company for original stories, and kumu, the Philippines’ number one homegrown live streaming platform will diversify Wattpad ‘s stories into kumu’s digital formats such as live streaming, audio streaming and social commerce.

Exclusive Wattpad livestreams will be held at the official @Wattpad PH account on kumu. Fans and aspiring writers can come together to discuss their appreciation for all things storytelling. Every Friday, 7pm PHT, viewers can tune in to watch the “Write With Me” livestream series, a special live show where fans can meet and interact with Wattpad stars. More similar stories will be unveiled in the coming weeks.

Wattpad boasts a diverse community of 90 million readers globally, and more than 6 million of them are in the Philippines. This partnership will give some of Wattpad’s most popular influencers the opportunity to connect with their fans in the region, developing a slate of interactive social streaming content exclusive to kumu.

Representing a new age of social TV, kumu has established itself as a uniquely dominant social platform in Southeast Asia with around 10 million downloads across the world. kumu users are spending almost one hour per day on the app, with more than 60 million livestreams watched per month. The live streaming platform sees top Filipino celebrities coming on to the app to have unique interactions with their fans.

Through the power of live streaming, kumu will allow audiences to send virtual gifts to their favourite Wattpad stars. The  partnership will enable social commerce, paving the way for  upcoming opportunities for ticketed events, merchandise, and apparel in the near future.

“We are excited to partner with kumu and offer Filipinos a new way to see the stories they love come to life,” says Chris Stefanyk, head of brand partnerships at Wattpad. “The Gen Z community on Wattpad is passionate and highly engaged, and we’re excited for this new opportunity to connect readers with their favourite indie writers.”

Angelo Mendez, co-founder and chief of content at kumu, adds, “Wattpad is a big part of Gen Z Filipino culture, and this partnership will allow us to broaden our audiences by giving them an opportunity to foster authentic connections with their favourite Wattpad stars and new ways to enjoy their favourite Wattpad content.”

The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Philippines announced its new Board of Trustees for 2021 - 2023 with proven expertise and fresh perspectives in the dynamic field of business communications.

The diverse group of trustees include leading communications professionals from different fields, such as banking, insurance, media and entertainment, utilities, and advocacy groups, to the heavyweights of the country’s top communications agencies.

Joe Zaldarriaga will continue to serve as Chairman and Chair of the IABC Philippines Forum Series. He is the Vice President and Head of Corporate Communications of the Manila Electric Company, spearheading the corporate communications team of the Philippines’ biggest private electric power distributor. He is a recipient of the Medallion of Honor and Scroll of Commendation from the University of Manila.

Belle Tiongco was reelected as President of IABC Philippines. She is the Co-Founder of Football for Humanity, an independent (CIO) charity registered in the UK and the Philippines harnessing the power of play to educate, empower, and protect children facing the threat of violence, exploitation and poverty. In IABC, she has thrice chaired the Philippine Quill Awards and CEO Excel Awards.

Richard Arboleda will serve as Vice President and Co-Chair of the Digital and Publicity Committee of IABC Philippines. He is currently the President and COO of EON Group, one of the largest Filipino integrated communication agencies in the country. Prior to joining EON, he held communication leadership roles in Wyeth and Samsung. In IABC, he has chaired the Philippine Quill Awards and the Student Quill Awards twice, and has also served as Chair of the CEO Excel Awards.

Ferdinand Bondoy was named as Secretary and Chair of the Digital and Publicity Committee. A certified digital marketer and crisis counselor in Asia-Pacific, he is the Regional Integration and Chief Executive Director of ComCo Southeast Asia, a global award-winning integrated communications agency in the Philippines with affiliate network presence in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. In IABC, he chaired the recent Student Quill Awards and continues to manage the CommChat Series.

Sherryl Yao was elected as Treasurer of IABC Philippines. The Head of Public Service of TV5 Network Inc., she leads Rescue 5, the Emergency Response Unit of News5. Rescue 5 made the pioneering move in the Philippines to equip news reporters and camera men with emergency medical service and other lifesaving skills, and was also the first in the broadcast industry to become an affiliated reserve unit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Philippine Air Force (AFP-PAF).

Ramon Isberto will serve as Auditor of the Board of Trustees. He was Public Affairs Head of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) and its wholly-owned wireless subsidiary, Smart Communications Inc. He now hosts the weekly TV show “Tech Ka Muna” which is aired on Cignal TV One PH, along with doing consultancy work and contributing articles to various news publications.

Dave Devilles was named Chair of the Membership, Learning and Engagement Committee. He is currently the Vice President for Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and Employee Relations of the Union Bank of the Philippines. During his stint as Chair of the Philippine Quill Awards, IABC Philippines redesigned the online facility for an efficient and eco-friendly management system.

Melody Del Rosario will serve as Chair of the Environment, Social and Governance Committee. She is Metro Pacific Investment Corporations’ (MPIC) Vice President of Corporate Communications and President of the Metro Pacific Investments Foundation Inc. She has over 28 years of experience heading MPIC’s public and media relations, corporate communications, advertising, and CSR.

Robert “Bobby” Vito was named Chair of the Philippine CEO Excel Awards. He is the Managing Director of Ripple8, the public relations company of the DDB Group in the Philippines. He has been in the business of communications for 25 years and is a founding member of Ripple8, one of the most award-winning PR agencies in the country.

Abigail Ho-Torres will serve as Chair of the Philippine Quill Awards. She is the Assistant Vice President and Head of Advocacy and esb电竞数据投注电脑版 of Maynilad Water Services, Inc. She leads the corporate social responsibility, brand building, marketing management, and market research initiatives of the company. Abigail was formerly a business reporter of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Leah Caringal was named Chair of the Sponsorship Committee. As the CEO of Greenbulb Communications and RedTorch Communications, Leah has established experience in leading communications campaigns for a variety of clients, from government, consumer, FMCG, financial and technology industries.

The new board is supported by a distinguished roster of veteran communicators and past presidents: Elpi Cuna, IABC Fellow and Consultant of San Miguel Corporation; Rey Anthony David, President of Great Wall Advertising; Carmencita Arce, Vice President and Executive Director of Philippine Business Center Inc.; Ritzi Villarico-Ronquillo, IABC Fellow and Consultant for Business Communication and Strategic PR, and Kane Errol Choa, Vice President and Head of Corporate Communications, ABS-CBN Corporation.

IABC Philippines President Belle Tiongco shared, “In my second term, I think I would like to steer IABC Philippines to a continuous drive towards upgrading our knowledge and appreciation of the technology and the developments surrounding our industry. We survived the pandemic because we adjusted and evolved so quickly; so, let’s keep evolving!”

“Establishing this new era of diverse, highly-effective and inspiring leadership is a timely development now that we are ushering in the “next normal” way of living and working, one where authentic communications has proven to be integral,” said Joe Zaldarriaga, IABC Philippines Chairman. “I know that IABC PH is in the hands of trailblazers who have deep foundations in excellent business communications and strategic PR that can bring the organization to new heights. We look forward to continuously raising the bar of communication excellence that the Philippine chapter is known for and one of the organizations looked up to even at the global level.”

IABC Philippines is the first IABC country chapter in Asia. It is an association of top business, industrial and organizational communicators and professionals that supports the highest professional standards and practice of exceptional quality and innovation in organization and business communication. It advocates for continued professional growth, learning, and communication excellence, linking Filipino practitioners with colleagues and practices worldwide. Its two major communication excellence industry awards are the Philippine Quill and the Philippine CEO EXCEL Awards. IABC is a member of the Global Alliance of Public Relations and Communication Management.

The British Council  in the Philippines announces the launch of ‘ Weaving Futures – Cultural exchanges and design collaboration ,’ an action research project led by the Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts, presided by HRH The Prince of Wales, in partnership with the Enrique Zobel Foundation and Philippine Women’s University.

Through a series of consultations, Weaving Futures will map the communities’ distinct cultural heritage, relationship with nature, indigenous knowledge, and vision for the future. The result will be a new design process to help broaden perspectives on artisanship and design, as well as renew and refresh weaving practices. This initiative will also open up opportunities for working collaboratively across communities with designers, artisans, and makers in the UK and the Philippines.

The research project will engage four weaving communities in the Philippines: the Kiyyangan Weavers Association in Kiyangan, Ifugao; the Kulibanbang Weavers Association of Bontoc women now residing in La Trinidad, Benguet; the Serukadang Menuvu Tribal Organization of Bukidnon; and the Sunrise Weaving Association of Ibaan, Batangas.

“At The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts, we offer a wide range of education programmes which help ensure that traditional arts and skills are preserved and are able to continue to enrich our changing world. We are delighted to partner with The British Council, the Enrique Zobel Foundation, and Philippine Women’s University on this new cultural exchange and collaborative design project to support historic weaving communities in the Philippines,” says Dr. Khaled Azzam, director of The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts.

‘Weaving Futures ’ responds to findings of a British Council study, “ Crafting futures — sustaining handloom weaving in the Philippines.” The report described craft as a ‘sunset industry’ despite its contributions to women empowerment, cultural expression, and sustainable development.

‘The industry’s potential may still be unlocked; and for that we need to develop a nuanced understanding of the challenges faced by artisans, mostly women and mothers, and how they are impacted by global crises like climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic,’ says Pilar Aramayo-Prudencio, country director of the British Council in the Philippines. ‘I am delighted that, through this project, we are able to support meaningful collaborations that celebrate culture and innovation. This is the essence of our mission as a cultural relations organisation.’

 ‘ Weaving Futures’ is also supported by partners on the ground who will ensure that participating groups in rural areas can easily access and partake in the project.

Green Park Content (GPC), the rapidly growing, SEO-driven global brand publishing expert has helped Unilever Beauty and Personal Care launch the BeautyHub.PH content hub to champion a new age of inclusive beauty and body diversity. BeautyHub.PH is Unilever Philippines’ contribution to Unilever’s global commitment to positive beauty.

BeautyHub.PH is a new online publication that aims to become a one-stop destination for all beauty advice and inspiration for people of all colours, shapes, and sizes.

Unilever's latest content hub champions inclusivity and equal representation, encouraging everyone to become proud of their own identity and ‘be their own beautiful’. The online destination seeks to redefine beauty standards and celebrate body diversity by shining light on every skin tone, age group, hair needs, and body types. From embracing stretch marks to caring for brown skin, BeautyHub.PH provides informative content that is relatable, uplifting, and speaks to all concerns.

“We’re proud to have this incredible opportunity to produce Unilever Philippines’ brand-new content platform,” said GPC Asia managing director Marcelo Bittencourt. “BeautyHub.PH will bridge between Unilever’s products and its audiences through insightful storytelling that delivers value and promotes inclusivity and diversity.”

The digital platform aims to inspire confidence and improve people’s perspectives about their skin, hair, and bodies to challenge stereotypes and beauty standards. BeautyHub.PH is led by a dedicated editorial team that is managed by GPC and hosts wide-ranging content curated and written by in-house editors, celebrities, and beauty experts. These contents meet the diverse beauty needs and search queries of Filipinas and range from practical tips, how-to guides, beauty trends, interviews, to wellness and lifestyle articles.

The BeautyHub.PH experience celebrates the beauty in everyone, and showcases 18 Unilever Beauty and Personal Care brands (AXE, Black & White, Clear, Closeup, Dove, Dove Men, Baby Dove, Eskinol, Lifebuoy, Love Beauty Planet, Master, Ponds, Ponds Men, Rexona, Sunsilk, TRESemme, Vaseline and Vitakeratin). 

Francis Almirante, digital transformation manager, Unilever Philippines (Beauty and Personal Care) said: "GPC is a thought leader in SEO and content - they have a keen understanding of how search intent can dictate strategic paths for our brands to influence consumer behaviour.

Creative & brand strategy director for GPC APAC, Fe Husaint, who was also recently shortlisted for Women Leading Change of the Year by Campaign Asia, said “GPC is privileged to help Unilever deliver this purposeful project to shape a world that champions inclusivity & diversity. So we are proud to work on the brand identity and communication strategy for BeautyHub.PH.”

In line with its brand purpose, which is to deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity to drive change and create value for all, Accenture has launched a new campaign that underscores its unwavering commitment to the professional development and personal well-being of the people in the Philippines. Called the “Stories of Accenture”, this campaign features a collection of short films of poignant and inspiring stories that showcase community culture and dynamic work environment in Accenture in the Philippines.

“As a people-focused company, we remain committed to be the most inclusive and diverse employer in the information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) industry. The people stories in this campaign demonstrate how an inclusive and diverse environment can empower employees to thrive, succeed, and make a difference in their lives and their communities,” said Lito Tayag, country managing director of Accenture in the Philippines. “By sharing their unique stories, we hope to instill pride in our people, in belonging to the community in the Philippines and the broader Accenture global family.”

The Stories of Accenture Philippines campaign was developed with creative agency, Gigil, and will showcase a total of five short videos in a virtual film festival that will run from May to September 2021. Each of the approximately 3-minute films will feature individual Accenture people stories and various themes such as mental wellness, learning, corporate social responsibility, diversity, and personal passions.

“We are inspired and delighted to share this campaign, which is all about our people and their stories. By providing a differentiated work culture, our people are enabled and empowered to hone their talent, skills and creativity, which are at the heart of our brand purpose at Accenture,” said Regie Gavino, Accenture’s marketing and communications lead in the Philippines.

The Stories of Accenture campaign, with Gravity as the premiere film, was launched simultaneously across all of Accenture’s internal and social media platforms in the country.


Snacks company Mondelez Philippines has welcomed a new marketing head to support its purpose to empower people to snack right. Toby Gatchalian joins the company, which makes beloved snack products Eden Cheese, Cheez Whiz, Tang, Oreo, Toblerone, Cadbury and Tiger .  

In his new role, Gatchalian will lead a team of more than 15 individuals across all the company’s product categories: biscuits, chocolate, gum, candy, powdered beverages and cheese. The Philippines is one of parent company Mondelēz International’s biggest business in Southeast Asia and is a major growth driver for the business unit. He will report to Southeast Asia senior director for marketing, Nikhil Rao.

Gatchalian comes with 21 years of marketing and sales background in FMCG and banking. He has also taken a turn as an entrepreneur to run his own wellness products business. A graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University, Gatchalian has vast experience working in different countries, having held roles in Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, and the USA.  His leadership promises to strengthen its brands and corporate marketing excellence. 


Globe is set to unpack new offerings to strengthen its leadership in the mobile sector and regain business momentum despite mobility restrictions, as it continues to gear up for increased competition. The company is determined to reinvent its products and services while embarking on a sustained network upgrade and expansion.

As the industry pioneer and leader in 5G technology in the Philippines, Globe has recently launched its 5G roaming services in 16 countries across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Currently in partnership with 17 international telecommunications companies, Globe is set to continue its goal to own the widest 5G coverage worldwide with more upcoming launches in Europe and North America. The 5G roaming service is available to Filipinos traveling internationally, as well as subscribers of select foreign telcos visiting the Philippines.

In a virtual interview with Media Partners Asia Executive Director Vivek Couto during the recent APOS media conference, Globe President and CEO Ernest L. Cu said the telco would roll out new offers for its over 80 million subscribers to address changing consumer behaviors that arose from the pandemic.

“Globe is stepping up its efforts so you will start to see more aggressive offers that will give the people basically more value for their money,” Cu said.

Another first of its kind in the market, the new GPlan with GCash offers maximum flexibility for customers by giving them GCash which they can spend for anything they want and need -- whether it’s gadgets, content subscriptions, shopping vouchers, or even home appliances like robot vacuums. Mobile and life essentials are combined in any GPlan type. Aside from generous data allocations, customers receive unlimited all-net calls & texts, free GoWiFi when in transit, unlimited teleconsultation via KonsultaMD & 3 months insurance coverage via GInsure from Singlife with plan offers like GPlan with Device, GPlan Sim-only, and GPlan with GCash.

London-based Fitch Ratings, meanwhile, said the entry of DITO Telecommunity would further intensify competition in the local landscape. Cu noted, however, that the third player has not yet made a dent on the country’s telco industry.

“Certainly at this point, we don't see that (effect) yet given the very wide disparity in coverage between them (DITO) and the two incumbents,” said Cu. DITO only runs on 4G and 5G networks that cater mostly to data services and not voice calls and SMS.

Globe is further pushing its network rollout which includes site upgrades to 4G/LTE, 5G mobile expansion, and rollout of more Fiber-to-the-Home capabilities. The telco continues to deploy its mobile and broadband services regardless of community quarantine status to address the demand for connectivity which is vital especially during these times of crisis.

Globe At Home has been upgrading its subscribers to higher technology for better connectivity experience. Its latest fiber plan called UNLI FIBER UP provides customers with fast and reliable internet for the whole family’s needs, plus health essential and entertainment freebies. Apart from 3 months' worth of FREE GInsure medical coverage for COVID 19 and dengue of up to Php 140,500, Globe At Home customers may also get 3 months access to 24/7 online and hotline doctor consultation through KonsultaMD as well as 3 months entertainment access to streaming services like Viu Premium, HBO Go, and Amazon Prime Video.

The company has earmarked an unprecedented P70 billion capital expenditure program this year as it aims to deliver first-world internet connectivity for the Filipinos. The budget will be used to build and upgrade more sites and install 1 million fiber-to-the-home lines.


In March of last year when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country, it instantaneously put a halt to live events, brand launches, and other on-ground activities and mass gatherings.

It was the global event industry’s biggest and totally unexpected challenge , and the Philippines was no different. Many businesses related to events had no choice but to pivot, shift, and find a solution, to survive.

Not all faced a blank wall, though. Some decided to innovate and face the challenge head on.

While others shifted to Zoom webinars and Facebook live streams, Sharon Yu Ong, co-founder and CEO of Waveplay Interactive, Inc., opted for something different.

Although there were available virtual event platforms abroad, their clients were not satisfied with “templated” solutions. Brands and organizers didn’t  want their virtual events to end up looking similar to others. They aspired for their virtual events to closely mimic or replicate the “look and feel” of their on-ground events, from the activities, and experience, to the actual event environment. And this can’t be achieved through cookie cutter solutions.

“Over the past 10 years, Waveplay has been tailoring innovations to create one-of-a-kind experiences for on-ground events, and we were determined to do the same even for virtual events.” Yu Ong says,  as she  brings their interactive experience expertise to the new normal of events by introducing Webplay, the Philippines’ first fully customizable virtual / hybrid events platform, in May 2020. Webplay gives brands and agencies the power to create events with a wide range of interactive features and fun elements not found in other platforms.

“Webplay also allows for tailored immersive environments and journeys, so no two virtual event venues are the same. And, it works from high-end laptops to basic smartphones, even with regular internet connection,” Yu Ong says.

With uniqueness as their battlecry, Yu Ong shares that in a span of 8 months since Webplay’s launch, they were able to successfully produce over 60 unique virtual venues, powered over 300 event days, accommodated more than 700,000 attendees, and created more than 250 custom side activities.

The baptism of fire, so to speak

During the lockdown’s early stages, agencies and brands wanted to stand out with something new and not done before, making them open to suggestions. Yu Ong says, “We shared Webplay to select clients and they liked what they heard—a fully customizable, interactive, Instagrammable, gamified, immersive platform that runs well even on a data plan, is gadget-neutral, and can launch your very own venue in a few weeks. It sounded too good to be true.”

However, Yu Ong believes they couldn’t have captured clients’ attention that easily. They had to share a link to a fully functional virtual event microsite with all their promised features and let them experience it on their own—unguided. To their amazement, clients liked what they saw and booked Webplay for their major events.

With a number of successful case studies shortly after Webplay’s launch, other brands came in. New clients likewise signed up based on their experience as actual attendees of virtual event spaces that Waveplay produced.

Challenges came to the fore

Yu Ong knows that going from “live” to “virtual” events has its share of challenges.

When it comes to virtual or hybrid events, downtimes, no matter how short, can cause “palpitations,” as Yu Ong succinctly describes it, to any organizer. This is where having expert back-end and cloud engineers are crucial to ensure that the infrastructure is excellently stable, she explained.

Waveplay’s on-ground team wasn’t exempted from the virtual transformation, too. They were upskilled to become eagle-eyed testers, live help desk representatives, and livestream troubleshooters. “We also created multiple permutations of the virtual event realm to ensure that everything is cascaded well across different gadgets and browsers; all things considered, clients’ short lead times never changed.”

During their first presentation of Webplay, Yu Ong did not anticipate booking 2,500 attendees  for a virtual venue project that is 12 days away. It took a while for them  to receive the final artwork and directions.

Then came another “good problem” when they were awarded another project with different features, but happening just 10 days after the first one. Waveplay worked on both projects in parallel. “We understood that our agency partners were doing this for the first time as well, so we did a lot of handholding from brainstorming, database and materials checking, to operations on the live day.”

Both events turned out successful, the brands received rave reviews, “and we continue to work with them on their lineup of events this year.”

Raising the game

With the first events going smoothly, Yu Ong looked at how they can raise their level of expertise even further to impress more clients and for better efficiency of their production processes. Soon, they could brew up to six ultra-custom venues simultaneously.  She says, “We are still in the pursuit of improvement and innovation via new interactive features with the aim to continue surprising our partners and event attendees.”

Most of their events are usually for FMCG brands, telecommunications companies, medical, and non-government organizations. “We have been able to successfully replicate various types of events from product launches, expos, selling events, medical conferences, tech conventions, student caravans, and activations. We have done seasonal events as well.”

Post-Covid events industry

Yu Ong expects that once it’s completely safe to go out, live events will come back as fast as they were halted. However, she also points out that the advent of virtual platforms has opened the eyes of clients to the potential of scaling events exponentially. It enables access from anywhere in the world, increases attendee capacity, extends availability of the event on demand for those who missed the live dates, and provides comprehensive data of guest activities. The next frontier event agencies will look at is how to go hybrid, so guests can choose to attend from the comforts of their couch or inside the physical venue.

With physical gatherings imminent, Waveplay is already working on new on-ground interactive ideas, including contactless options. Considering the ongoing pandemic, they have been tapped to do mall activations and smaller corporate events centered on touchless interactions.

Yu Ong says, “Our drive for continuous innovation has allowed us to continue providing clients limitless possibilities in the events and activations landscape. And it will only get better.”

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