MANILA  TBWA\SMP welcomed back the Kidlat Awards in grand fashion last Friday when it claimed top honors as the Agency of the Year, with 8 Golds, 4 Silvers, and 8 Bronzes. Simulcast on Facebook and TV5, the event was doubly significant, as TBWA\SMP Chief Creative Officer Melvin Mangada was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. 

It was a night of (virtual) reunions and (socially-distant) celebrations, as the advertising community gathered online to honor the best work of the past two years. In his acceptance speech, Mangada acknowledged how much the industry had evolved over the last 18 months, stating, “Every day reveals something new to solve or discover, and how well we do our jobs depends on how well we adapt to the changes…I find it endlessly exciting that it falls to us to keep creativity at the core of this new order.  

Reflective of the so-called “new normal”, the Agency’s wins were led by digital-first executions, including the “Baybayan” branding project for the Cultural Center of the Philippines, which took home four Golds and two Silvers, and Saferkids “Toys” for client UNICEF, which nabbed two Golds and a Silver for their efforts to combat child pornography. The Agency also scored big with two Golds and four Bronzes for the “Tubbataha Coral RIP” conservation initiative for Tubbataha Reefs.  

As Kidlat paid tribute to those who steered Philippine advertising through the pandemic amidst multiple lockdowns, surges, and community quarantines, Mangada took time to reflect on the significance of the evening for everyone in attendance: “I don’t think anyone will disagree with me when I say that the past two years have seemed like a lifetime.” 

“All of us have lost friends, family, and colleagues to the pandemic. Being here with you right now feels like an achievement all by itself, which makes this award even more precious and meaningful. Thank you to everyone who made this award possible.” 

A highlight of the evening was a series of video testimonials from Mangada’s clients, colleagues, and family, who likened his creative persona to everything, from a power bank and alarm clock, to a box of chocolates. 

In her testimonial, said Dentsu International APAC COO Merlee Jayme said, “He wakes us up to do great work, and to perfect our craft. Anything less than that is unacceptable.”  

In addition to the Kidlat Awards, TBWA\SMP holds the record of Philippine Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies’ Agency of the Year wins, with an unprecedented nine AOY nods.