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Social media at the heart of 17th PANAnaw Students’ Competition on IMC

Winners of the 17th PANAnaw Awards
Winners of the 17th PANAnaw Awards

Digital is just so prevalent today; it’s a seamless sync with almost all details of daily life.  With digital technology come a number of privileges that previous generations were bereft of.  Today’s youth have at their fingertips access to massive technologies that bring with it much delight—and with some despair, of course.  It’s the proverbial right versus wrong.  In this case, it might as well be rights versus responsibilities

The Philippine Association of National Advertisers (PANA) holds the annual PANAnaw Student Competition on IMC.  This is the 17th PANAnaw, and like its predecessors, each year puts forth a case study that stands on socio-cultural stories.  Students from universities and colleges vie for a finalist berth every year, bringing with them months of earnest hard work for the opportunity of presenting to the best marketing and creative communication practitioners in the country.

PANAnaw’s theme this year is Responsible Use of Social Media.  Remember the digital context at the intro?   You see, The Philippines is one of the biggest consumers of social media. Compared to citizens of other countries, we Filipinos spend the most time on social media—that’s an average of 3.7 hours a day.  That’s almost equal the amount of time spent stuck on bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Social media is fantastic!  It builds connections, creates awareness on all sides of the debate. But, how exactly do we use it?   Is it as a right of free expression, come what may? Or, do we have a sense of responsibility of every click?

The 17th PANAnaw seeks to extract the best campaign in support of behavior change over the improper use of social media.  One that encourages users to be more careful and discerning about social media use, and the habits we have as users.  Moreover, the campaign drives consciousness among Filipinos to be responsible, and further harness the power of social media as an instrument of positive change.

Competition was extremely stiff this year with only five (5) schools making the finals. These five finalists are all winners, regardless of place, having rightfully earned a stage spot. Emerging tough, coming from 31 entries from 29 schools, and only 10 shortlisted, they are all champions.

Speaking on behalf of his students, Professor Gregorio T. Borja III proudly narrated how his San Beda team bagged the 4th Runner-up spot.   “It took us over two months.  It has been quite a journey for us.  We learned a lot from the case.  It’s always a good experience when you do advocacies.  We did our own research.  Our students did our own surveys on the target audiences, and then returned to the board to just see everything, and get that meat—that insight that propelled us to create the ‘Rock On’ campaign.

“We’re thankful that PANAnaw Awards recognized us.   The school has constantly been entered in the finals, so we’re thankful for that,” Borja added.

Lifting the 3rd Runner-up trophy was De La Salle-Dasmariñas, whose team was led by Rhodel Marlon Realica.  “We spent more than 3 months preparing for the campaign. We juggled through different concepts, and different big ideas, recounted Realica.  “Our original idea was Add Heart project, but we figured that the word pusuan is something more millennials can relate to.  It’s timely, and represents the heart across the platforms.  The word movement for us is also very strong.  We want people to advocate being responsible social media users,” he added.

Said Realica, “There was also, the power of the finger because we hold smartphones, and digital devices.  It shows how digital we are.  But what we chose is very Filipino, very millennial, and very timely, and that worked very well for us. We’re very proud to have come this far.  Thank you to PANA!”

Consistently a finalist, Miriam College beamed with as 2nd Runner-up.  With CTRL.SHIFT.DEL, Bianca Pabotoy also shared how the team’s journey started from August, before the deadline, and the team was still cramming. “We made it, and we’re here.  We’ve been practicing every single day since then.  We barely had any sleep just to deliver this campaign.  We really believe in it, and society needs it this now,” said the Team Leader.   Against equally good competition, Pabotoy said, “Compared to the others, ours is the only strategy focused on how people access the post, how it is created, and how that leads to what is being posted—not just what is being posted.”

Polytechnic University of the Philippines was victorious as 1st Runner-up with Best Mode On.   Teary-eyed and happy, Charlie James Rose, PUP Team Leader ran down how this team made it to the finals.  “We had so many sacrifices, lots of overnights.  We event went through agencies to clean the campaign, and make the revisions.  We went to two revisions to come up with this campaign.  Worth the wait and effort of the team.  We’re on cloud nine,” said Rose.

After an amazing three-peat run, UP Diliman still made it to the finals the last few years, but first place eluded them of late.  This year however, the tide turned for Unibersidad ng Pilipinas, pocketing the Champion spot with ‘Kada-Like, Kada-Share, KadA-chieve!’

“The trophy is finally back home,” said a jubilant Rianne Geronimo.   “In the past years, we strayed away from our core competency that is knowing what we’re doing, what our strategy is, and tying everything back. This year, the issue is close to our hearts as well.  There were a lot of things happening in social media, we as scholars ng bayan didn’t agree with,” Geronimo added.

Her teammate Marco Del Valle shared, “Lots of Insights, we ditched.  We’ve lost count with four months worth of insights.  We’ve learned to go by what we know of our consumers.  We need to do something that means a lot to them.  What we’ve also learned is how to work as a team.  This group has really become a barkada.”

“We wanted to do it right this time.  What is inside (with hand over her heart) that we applied in our campaign would actually affect us as well.  That is what happened, and God heard, and we offer this to every Filipino citizen who has helped subsidize our tuition,” said Geronimo.

For Bobby Simborio, his first PANAnaw Competition as the new Executive Director of PANA is momentous.  “It’s exciting.  Ibang klase talaga if millennials,” Simborio gushed.  “It’s nice to bond with these students in this continuous learning.  We learn from them, they learn from us.  I am impressed by how these young people interpreted the theme with their presentations and how they answered the questions. The questions are tough, I would have sunk where I stood if I had been in their place.”

Chief Marketing Officer of GMA Network Inc. Lizelle Maralag thanked the students and schools that entered.  “Coming from a media standpoint, I’m very proud of all of you.   Advise for the future is to focus on the strategy, that’s one of the things that we look for. Don’t concern yourself with smoke and mirror. It’s about substance more than anything else.  It’s not about a laundry list of all touchpoints. Get your big idea gets translated into your choice of media platforms.”

Blen Fernando, PANA Foundation Chair, and Vice-president for Marketing of Alaska Milk Corporation advised the young students,  “As a marketing practitioner, you have to be always focused.  The focus must be on the strategy.  It’s not quantity, but quality.  A few big bold choices will be better to execute in the long run.  Think which of these things are actually implementable.  Look at content and substance.   Substance versus form, focus versus many things.”

“May all of you be future marketing practitioners of the industry,” Fernando encouraged the youth.

Gigi Tibi, RadManila Chief Executive Officer, and PANAnaw Chair, expressed how seeing the PANAnaw competition, and how it’s about education and values.  “Since 1999, the leaders of the marketing and advertising industry via PANA and PANA Foundation have been doing its share in helping instill values among the future leaders of this country.  We are happy to see each one of you here, students and teachers because we see you not as contestants to a competition but potential advocates of the responsible use of social media,” said Tibi.

“We over emphasize intelligence at the expense of values.  These two should go hand-in-hand.  No matter how intelligent you are, without values, it will not be intact.  It is my hope that via PANAnaw today, we have influenced your thinking about the importance of the theme.  I encourage you to allow what you have learned to go from your mind to your heart so that you will not just talk about it but, more importantly, live it and Influence others to do the same.  Let not our theme remain just a mental concept that we will conveniently forget after today. Please allow the energy we have created here to ripple out and positively affect our country.”

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