Trese's Marketing Campaign Deserves Its Own Award, And We're Not Surprised to Discover that GIGIL Was Behind It
Rarely are consumers aware of the agencies behind viral ads and campaigns. People see the brand, not the people who made it happen. But in the last few years, one agency has been standing out in the minds of netizens and consumers: GIGIL, the same agency responsible for the famous ads of RC Cola and Orocan. So naturally, we weren’t surprised to discover that GIGIL was behind the viral marketing campaign for Netflix’s Trese.
“Maangas” was the brief, and GIGIL delivered. In the days leading up to the show’s premiere, social media was captivated by the “appearance” of mananggals over busy streets, aswangs destroying Trese billboards, and tiyanaks running wild in the metro. Vandalized Trese murals were spotted in NCR, and even ABS-CBN joined the fun by letting GIGIL and Netflix temporarily rename them to “ABC-ZNN.”
For fans, the campaign was almost as enjoyable as the show itself as it was delivered in such an unprecedented and organic manner that left regular folk stunned and Trese fans Googling GIGIL. We at Summit Media got to talk to the team that led the campaign and all the hard work that went behind it.
While the campaign was executed effortlessly, it wasn’t without its challenges. From the get-go, many of GIGIL’s initial ideas were shot down, and one idea that was approved—aswangs were supposed to rappel down and slash the billboards live—was set aside due to safety concerns and a typhoon. But the agency still managed to pull off its biggest and most intricate campaign to date, and it’s certainly something the team is proud of.
“I think this is one of the grandest, or one of the most memorable, at least in 2021,” shared account manager Nova Novido. “We won’t stop here, there will be future campaigns, hopefully, that will be as grand or even grander than Trese. I mean we’re proud of all our works, but the attention that this has called on from the public as well… Sobrang nakakaproud lang that we as a team were able to produce this type of campaign for such a well loved comic series and for such a positive partnership with Netflix.”
The Fans Behind the Campaign
Some of the team members were already hardcore fans of the comics, such as senior artist JR Bumanglag, creative director Apol Sta. Maria, and copywriter Zion Dela Pena.
“Actually this is definitely—unapologetically—my favorite campaign because I've been a fan since 2008,” shared Bumanglag. “I've been following the books. I personally know Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo. Before the campaign even came out, I was already silently auditioning to be part of the team so I made a project of making fan art for Trese, so that at least the bosses here know that ‘I'm ready to be part of the team!’”
As for Zion, “Trese was one of my main sources for my undergraduate thesis.”
GIGIL’s Netflix Trese campaign undoubtedly upped its game and only added to its reputation with consumers, some of whom, especially those in the industry, are fans of the agency as much of the brands it represents. Although that’s never been its intention.
“I think we always need to challenge ourselves not to be formulaic in the campaigns that we do. Campaigns should be unique to the business problem. It should always be solving a problem and not be focused on something GIGIL will be known for,” said Jim Jimenez. “So, we try our best to help the client solve the problem in a unique, refreshing way. We’re very lucky that clients welcome the brave ideas that we offer them.”
The team also credits Netflix for letting them explore brave ideas instead of sticking to a fixed template. Creative director Jeano Cruz also noted how the agency offered Netflix—the regional office is in Singapore—something unique: local insight. The agency’s name itself reveals what they represent: distinctly Filipino solutions. We doubt a foreign ad agency would have ideated aswangs destroying billboards.
“Ang galing ng vision ni Herbert [Hernandez] and Badong [Abesamis, the founders of GIGIL] to create something that’s truly Pinoy. Gigil has no direct English translation. Gigil is Gigil,” stated Jimenez.
And that’s a fact. The agency lives by a high risk, high reward mentality that challenges clients to be brave and daring. Setting aside templates of ads and “making the mundane magical,” GIGIL is definitely redefining Filipino advertising.
Don't forget to subscribe to the Esquire Philippines YouTube channel.
Esquire Philippines is now on Quento.