And the sun has come out for brighter tomorrow

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In Photo: Pinoy pride. Team Resorts World Manila wore the colors of the Philippine Flag to the live defense of their #BrighterTomorrow campaign, which was shortlisted in the social media strategy category at the Asia Pacific Communications Awards held in Singapore.

2016 has brought a bumper crop of wins, from Pia Wurztbach taking the Miss Universe Crown, Kylie Versoza being crowned as Miss International, Hidilyn Diaz taking home a silver medal from Rio Olympics, and Manny Pacquaio winning the WBO welter weight belt, among others.

Adding to this harvest of wins is Resorts World Manila’s #BrighterTomorrow video, which won the top prize for Social Media Strategy Category in the recent Asia Pacific Communications Awards.

Winning Idea. Chief Integrated Marketing Officer Martin Paz, receiving the award for best social media strategy category in the region, got the opportunity to explain the idea behind the company’s winning #BrighterTomorrow campaign before the audience at the Asia Pacific Communications Awards in Singapore.
Winning Idea. Chief Integrated Marketing Officer Martin Paz, receiving the award for best social media strategy category in the region, got the opportunity to explain the idea behind the company’s winning #BrighterTomorrow campaign before the audience at the Asia Pacific Communications Awards in Singapore.

Facebook users wouldn’t surely miss one of this year’s most viewed, liked and shared video (and counting!) — the kids of the musical Annie singing the iconic song ‘Tomorrow.’ Using the hashtag #BrighterTomorrow as handle, the video opened with a quote from the song: ‘We’re only a day away,’ and closed with a message: Wishing our country a brighter tomorrow.

Giving deeper meaning to the song’s lyrics, it was posted on June 29, one day before the inauguration of President Rodrigo Duterte, thus turning it into a message of hope for our country as we undergo a historic change. The video garnered a reach of over 10 million, over 1 million views, over 28, 000 reactions and comments and over 7,000 shares within the first 24 hours.

As of this writing, data from RWM shows it already has over 2.3 million views, over 13 million total reach, over 54,000 reactions and comments and over 14,000 shares. The RWM management is elated that the social media activity has translated to a significant increase in traffic to the Annie webpage and helped turn the musical into RWM’s most profitable production in its seven-year history.

A win for the Philippines. Head Copywriter Jeff Daroy, Director for Marketing Communications Gerald Magtoto, Chief Integrated Marketing Officer Martin Paz and Assistant Director for PR Archie Nicasio of Resorts World Manila pose with the trophy for social media strategy category won by the company's #BrighterTomorrow campaign.
A win for the Philippines. Head Copywriter Jeff Daroy, Director for Marketing Communications Gerald Magtoto, Chief Integrated Marketing Officer Martin Paz and Assistant Director for PR Archie Nicasio of Resorts World Manila pose with the trophy for social media strategy category won by the company’s #BrighterTomorrow campaign.

But more than the financial gain, RWM is proud to have contributed to the winning streak of the country this year – by winning the Social Media Strategy prize at the 2nd Asia-Pacific Communications Awards (APCA) during the 2016 Asia-Pacific Communications Summit held in October in Singapore.

“#BrighterTomorrow is RWM’s in-house production, and we’re very happy that it has added to our country’s top recognitions this year,” said Martin Paz, Chief Integrated Marketing Officer for Resorts World Manila (RWM).

“We are beyond happy to get this award. It is not just a win for our team, but also a win for the Philippines. The message of Annie and #BrighterTomorrow is as relevant today as it was back in June and will be relevant for all tomorrows to come. Hope keeps humanity going, after all,” Paz continued.

What makes the victory the sweetest is the fact that RWM’s campaign was notified by the award-giving body to be among the only three entries short listed in the Social Media strategy category according to Paz. But unlike other industry awards recognizing achievement in advertising and business communications, the APCA required the shortlisted participants to defend their work in a live presentation before a panel of jurors.

The international summit is one of the most prestigious gatherings of communications experts and professionals in the Asia Pacific region. An annual event, it is held for industry leaders to share best practices, discuss the latest trends and developments in communications. The summit hosts the APCA to recognize outstanding achievements, rewards innovative communication strategies and  exemplary works.

Thus the RWM team presented their campaign to a jury of top communications experts from the region on October 26 in Singapore. “It was a tough defense all for 10 minutes. We were given two minutes to setup—that was once you enter the defense room of four people you meet for the first time. Then we presented for 10 minutes followed by five minutes of question and answer,” Paz fondly reminisced.

The experience felt like college days once again defending a thesis according to Paz. It was a teamwork with himself as main presenter. Together with his team, Marketing Communications Director Gerald Magtoto, Public Relations Assistant Director Archie Nicasio, and Head Copy Writer Jeff Daroy, Paz relentlessly practiced his presentation in the Philippines and a day before the judgement day in Singapore.

“Instead of going out and enjoying Singapore, we stayed in our room the whole day revising and fitting in the speech for 10 minutes. I kept on rehearsing while my team listened, critiqued, and punched in their ideas until we came up with the best presentation. I think it paid off, practice makes perfect after all,” he said.

“Somehow we felt that we already scored some victory when the jury lightened up to our comment that we are not a boy band with our uniform of Philippine flag-looking polo-shirt on during the defense. We wanted to stand out, we wanted
to be different so we thought of wearing something to recognize us as Filipinos,” Paz recounted.

On the second day for the gala and awarding ceremony night, the group stood out in among the crowd wearing the Philippine barong. “The funny thing was, the servers at Novotel Clarke Quay were wearing their uniform of camisa de chino-looking polos which resembled the color of our barongs! Nevertheless, we are proud of our Philippine-made barongs.

At the end of the night, the #BrighterTomorrow campaign was announced as the winner in its category. “When we accepted the award, we were challenged by the audience if we really can sing. We accepted the challenge, and we sang the chorus of ‘Tomorrow,’ and that brought the house down.”

Several factors during the two-day summit may have contributed for RWM’s win but for Paz it’s mainly because of the spirit of optimism which was vividly captured through #BrighterTomorrow.

“We wanted to share our message of hope and positivity through the children of Annie as the country looks forward to a brighter tomorrow with the new administration. We wanted to come up with something to counter act the noise of the highly divisive political activity. Initially, we toyed on an idea of having kids from the country’s major regions and strategic places singing ‘Tomorrow’ simultaneously a day before the inaugural of the new president. We wanted to tie up with a telco for broadband use on this. It was a great idea but we didn’t have enough time to do it. So instead we came up with a video of the kids of Annie singing the iconic song and in the process turning it into a unifying video for all Filipinos wishing for hope for the new leadership,” Paz stressed.

What was the team’s important learnings from their Singapore foray? “Come up with the best idea and campaign. Be prepared for your defense through practice and more practice. Give your all—and your best—leave no room for reservations. And be prepared to give some bonus or freebies to your defense like making use of your talents such as singing just like what we did,” Paz said.

Paz has joined RWM in 2011 bringing with him 18 years of extensive experience in advertising as well as digital, events, and public relations in a wide range of industries. Prior to joining Travellers International Hotel Group, Inc., owner and operator of RWM, he also previously worked in advertising agency giants which past accounts have given him valuable insight in quick service restaurant operations, food and beverage, and telecommunications among others making him well prepared for his current RWM post.

Based on the popular comic strip Little Orphan Annie by Harold Gray, Annie opened as a musical in 1977 and ran for a record-setting six years at the former Alvin Theater in midtown Manhattan, New York. Its popular musical numbers, aside from ‘Tomorrow’, also include ‘Maybe’ and ‘Hard Knock Life.’ The musical came to Manila in 1980 with now internationally acclaimed performer lea Salonga in the title role. More than 30 years later, with two girls—Isabeli Araneta Elizalde and Krystal Brimner—alternately donning Annie’s iconic red dress, ‘Tomorrow’ still reverberates the same message of hope and positivism in this time of the country’s divisiveness caused by politics and personal affiliations and preferences, among others.

Catch Annie until December 10 and 11 at RWM’s Newport Performing Arts Theater.