MANILA  TBWA\SMP’s first in-person gathering in two years took on added significance last Friday, as the Disruption Agency’s celebration of their unprecedented 10th AOY win became the site for a number of major promotions and announcements, including the elevation of CJ De Silva-Ong and John Ed De Vera to Executive Creative Directors, the promotion of Paolo Broma to Managing Director of TBWA\JUICE, and the naming of Portia Catuira as the Agency’s Chief Operating Officer.

According to Chief Creative Officer Melvin Mangada, the timing was right for, “A celebration of the new and rising leadership needed as we move out of a pandemic and face a new and exciting world.” Addressing the nearly 100 creatives, accounts, and staff, Mangada stated that such gatherings were, “not only in recognition of the agency’s hard work, passion, and dedication, nor an award for a handful of people – it is a testament that everyone is a contributor.”

Undoubtedly, the biggest promotion of the night came when Founding Partner Jimmy Santiago himself named Managing Director Portia Catuira as TBWA\SMP Chief Operating Officer (COO), to raucous applause.

“I’ve been with agency almost as long as it has existed,” said Catuira. “While there have been ups and downs, it has been an inspiring 19 years, and I am inspired to continue moving us further in the years to come.”

“I feel grateful,” said De Silva-Ong on her new role as creative lead of the newly-announced Manila arm of TBWA\JUICE. “I see promotion as an opportunity for growth — to take on bigger responsibilities, to collaborate with more people, and to be in a bigger playground to experiment, take risks, and learn new things.”

Joining De Silva-Ong and Broma to build TBWA\JUICE are a who’s who of disruptive talent, including Strategic Director RJ Paculan, and Client Services Director Noelle Segundo. According to De Silva-Ong, their overall approach to JUICE would be one of ‘Freshness’, adding, “We’re now in the Age of Attention -yes, the Information Age is gone- and we want to challenge ourselves in creating meaningful work that not only captures people’s attention, but makes brands a part of pop culture. We’re excited to explore fresh, new, delicious approaches to insight, ideas, craft, and innovation.”

For his part as newly minted-Executive Creative Director for TBWA\BOLT, agency veteran John Ed De Vera expressed similar enthusiasm, sharing, “Amidst the new projects and opportunities, it’s exciting to take on a bigger, more active role as we exit the pandemic.” With years of award-winning experience working alongside BOLT’s content creation and design specialists, he was the natural choice to lead the independent design and print production unit.

Further bolstering TBWA’s creative roster, Art Director Patrick Valiente and Senior Copywriter Kyla Caparas were promoted to Associate Creative Directors, their rise through the ranks having been powered by years of dedication to outstanding work.

Another major announcement came for the Agency’s digital arm, with the introduction of Disruption Lab. Under Head of Technology Eugene Valencia, DLab will provide clients with a slew of new offerings, including Data and Analytics, Innovations, Digital Strategy, Digital Media, UX and UI. Aligned with the expanded Digital mandate, IT Manager Marvin Panganiban was promoted to the post of IT Market Lead for all Omnicom agencies in the Philippines.

“The pandemic has arguably been the most challenging period of our time,” said Mangada, on the promotions. “But, in forcing us to adapt to new ways of working and thinking, it has also brought out the best in us. These promotions, this celebration – these are affirmations of how diverse the business has become, and the need for new ways of thinking. TBWA’s greatest strength has always been its people, and these newly minted leaders are some of our best examples of that.”