What's cooking in advertising? Adobo!
IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE - Rod Nepomuceno () - October 10, 2011 - 12:00am

A lot of people have asked me how I made the big switch from being a lawyer to becoming an advertising man. My standard answer is: “The whole concept of lawyering and advertising is the same — lawyers and ad men are hired to do one thing: to try to convince people.” And that answer normally gets the job done.

A more interesting question, however, is why I made the switch. That question is a little bit harder to answer, because it goes deep into who I am as a person. But a quick answer to the question is this: I find advertising more exciting than law. I prefer watching Mad Men over Law & Order. And I prefer reading Adobo magazine over the monthly Law Journal.

For those who don’t know, Adobo is the only advertising, marketing and communications trade magazine in the country. If you want to know what’s cooking in advertising in the country, get Adobo. As an ad man, I make sure I get my regular serving of Adobo. After all, they know the pulse of the industry. They know exactly what’s going on. And I want to be part of that pulse.

I recently got a chance to sit down and chat with Adobo’s founder and president, Angel Guerrero, and her new partner, Janelle Barretto-Squires, who is the magazine’s new COO and VP. Here’s the gist of our conversation:

How did Adobo come about? How did it all begin?

ANGEL GUERRERO: I launched Adobo in 2006 with the goal of setting up the first and only publication dedicated to the advertising, creative and communication industries in the country. I felt the industry needed a trade magazine.

I totally agree with you. What were the challenges that you had to face in building up the magazine?

In the beginning, we didn’t have huge resources, or an extensive publishing network to leverage on, or the deep pockets of an established family. But we were determined. I hired a small team, but every member of the team was dedicated and passionate about the magazine’s vision. Even with limited budgets, I challenged my team to look for ways to innovate in order to derive deeper interest and engagement from the readership.   To this day I continue to challenge the team, and they have delivered.

How’d you come up with the name Adobo and why?

I just combined the first letters of the words “advertising” and “branding” — “Ad” and “B” — and turned into a word that everyone knows and is familiar with. I also wanted our global readers to know that the magazine is published out of the Philippines. So I named it after our national dish. And it works that is has “ad” in it.

Janelle, you weren’t originally from the ad industry, right? Can you tell us a bit about your background?

JANELLE BARRETTO-SQUIRES: I started in the hotel industry, working for one of top hotel chains in the world. Thus, it’s always been my philosophy to only work with the best, to represent the best — because it just makes the job easier. Selling becomes second nature. And it’s no different with Adobo.

Your partnering with Angel and joining Adobo — how did that come about?

A mutual friend who knew us both knew that Angel had been searching for a partner for over a year. In the meantime, I was cruising with my latest business endeavor in the optical industry. I was content, but not entirely happy. We were introduced and we hit it off immediately. I saw the vision for the magazine, and knew instantly that I wanted to be part of it. It was a perfect fit.

What were your initial thoughts during your first few weeks in the advertising and publishing industry?

It’s quite awe-inspiring to be among creative people and experience first-hand how brilliant minds think. There’s a lot of hard work and challenges to face but I am enjoying the ride.

What is your vision for Adobo?

AG: Part of the vision has been achieved — we’re a major player in the advertising industry already. We would like to drive deeper engagement with Adobo’s existing readership, while finding and attracting new audiences by extending Adobo’s presence into innovative forms of content distribution. We want to join the ranks of the top trade publications in the region, and the world. And we want to embrace growth in the digital era.

Any plans to expand the market and go abroad, just like Adoi and Marketing magazines?  Perhaps make Adobo a regional player?

AG: Adobo has actually developed a keen following, not only in the Philippines, but also across Asia-Pacific. We have a regional partner distributing us across the region. We have over 400 subscribers in the region and we want to expand that further. Adobo magazine is available in Basheer Bookstores in the region. And we’ve partnered with regional and international advertising awards shows like Cannes, Spikes, Adfest, New York Festival and more. Miles Young, worldwide CEO of Ogilvy and Mather, is an avid reader of Adobo magazine and remarked that it is “one of the best advertising magazines in the region.”

Last year, you had this interesting event, the Adobo Run After Dark.  Can you tell us about this project and why you decided to do it again this year?

JS: Adobo Run After Dark was conceptualized to get the movers and shakers of the advertising, marketing, and media industries together in a unique and fun event. We needed to take into account the distinct profile of the industry: a hardworking, fun-loving, highly creative and perhaps slightly eccentric community of people who like to think out of the box. Therefore when we mount an event, expectations are high, and we don’t want to disappoint. 

However, the run is not just for industry players. It’s open to everyone!

What’s in store for the participants of the Adobo Run?

JS: Well, to quote our tagline for this year’s run, expect “Intense running, extreme partying...” and lots of beer! We’ll have live music, fireworks, spectacular entertainment, a sideline bazaar, and because it’s a Halloween-themed event, we’ll have costumed runners adding to the spectacle … they all make for an extraordinary experience not soon to be forgotten!

* * *

Thanks for your letters, folks! You may e-mail me at rodhnepo@yahoo.com.

If you wish to register for the Adobo Run After Dark II, check out www.adobomagazine.com/adoborun.   Registration is at RUNNR TriNoma, Toby’s Shangri-La Plaza Mall, and ROX Bonifacio High Street.

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