2019 Attendees

Reuben James Fermin

Art Director
Blackpencil Manila / Leo Burnett Group Manila
Makati City
, Philippines


One of the speakers at the Creative LIAisons 2019 told us that “this experience will change your life (as a creative)”, and I guess he’s right. It’s been more than a month since I sat in an oasis of young creatives in Las Vegas, but the learnings and stories I have accumulated from that experience are unforgettable.
Overcoming my jet lag with excitement, I woke up early to prepare for the first day of the program. The earlier talks are mostly about the piercing power of sound and music in ads. The program started off with a bang by Ralph Van Dijk, Founder of Eardrum, who talked about the significance of a brand’s sonic identity. From proper media approaches to radical casting of voice talents, Ralph gave us piece by piece advice as we listened to some sample audio ads. The other speaker who complemented this topic is Diederik Van Middelkoop, the Creative Director & Partner at Amp.Amsterdam. He shared with us his Golden Rules of Sound Design. The core of his talk is about music being the shortcut to the emotional recollection of the listeners. He had an incredible talk and it still resonates with me up until now.
After a few more talks, Great Guns conducted a workshop that made the whole room shuffle to create diverse teams. After which, a brief was given to create a 6-second ad for a toothpaste brand. It was a fun and exciting exercise. I was able to meet other young creatives and had a unique chance to exercise my creativity by creating a space suit and other props out of tin foil and other unusual materials. I even became an astronaut for a while for our shoot.
My favorite talk turned out to be on the second day of the program. Matt MacDonald, the Chief Creative Officer of Omnicom for AT&T, spoke about how to present your work and yourself. He shared with us some of his tricks on persuading people using the power of emotion. For me, the best part of his talk are his “Unicorning Tips”. He told us that we, creatives, are like unicorns. We have to be part account, part strategy, part therapist, and all creative. After Matt’s inspiring talk is Emad Tahtouh. He spoke about how technology can be used to create a powerful and life-changing ad. I was blown away by his works that he presented to us. It was a long day of creativity and I wrapped it up by watching something full of love and inspiration: The Beatles LOVE, a Cirque Du Soleil’s show.
The third day of the program was dedicated to learning beyond advertising. The talks are about individuality, diversity, and inclusion. One of the highlights of that day is Lara Logan’s talk. She shared loads of personal stories with very compelling content, an eye-opener for what is happening to the world right now. The other part of that day were workshops conducted by RARE and the Sweetshop Team.
On the fourth day, we were given an opportunity to witness a LIA Statue Discussion. Young creatives were divided into different rooms with different categories and luckily, I was in the room with Mark Tutssel. He was the person I was most looking forward to seeing, and that was the first time I’ve seen him speak live. We witnessed how passionate the jury deliberated each work. Also that day, I brought with me Blackpencil’s only copy of the Humankind book, and was fortunate enough to have it signed by its brilliant author, Mark Tutssel himself. We ended that day with a Cocktail Party with the Juries at the Encore Beach Club.
The last day of the program kicked off with speakers from InnervationLab and was followed by an inspirational talk from Daymond John. But my other favorite, and also the last speaker of the program, is Malcolm Poynton, Global CCO of Cheil Worldwide. He talked about how ads and brands can give a truly positive impact to the world.
Being part of the Creative LIAisons 2019 is a once in a lifetime experience. My colleagues told me to make the most out of this program and I believe I did. I gained brilliant, creative friends from other parts of the globe and also from fellow Asian countries, the latter dubbing ourselves as the Creative LiaASIANS. I would like to thank the London International Awards and adobo magazine for this opportunity. And to my Blackpencil Family and Leo Burnett Manila, thank you for supporting me.
To young creatives out there… I was in your place and truthfully, I still am. Prior to winning, LIA seemed like such a big thing to achieve. And I couldn’t even imagine being there, learning from the best, and meeting so many other brilliant people. Take it from someone who used to doubt himself and what he could do: believe in yourself, believe in your ideas, and one day your time will come.
1.    Prior to being chosen to participate in this program, what did you know or hear about the LIA Creative LIAisons program?
Honestly, I only knew about the program after winning the Adobo LIA Young Creative Competition. It opened up an opportunity for me to discover this wonderful program.  
2.    What do you expect to get out of Creative LIAisons? What do you want to get out of Creative LIAisons?
As a young Art Director, I want to know the stories behind the amazing works that I am about to discover in the Creative LIAsons. I want to know what fuels the creativity of the inspiring industry leaders that I am about to meet. Also, I want to learn new things from my fellow young creatives who will soon be my friends.  
3.    Who from the LIA Juries would you most like to meet/speak with? (https://www.liaawards.com/juries/jury/)
I want to meet Mark Tutssel, the author of the Humankind book.
4.    If you could choose any juror to interview for two minutes, who would it be and why?
If given a chance to interview a juror for two minutes, I would still choose Mark Tutssel because for me, it’s like meeting the Pope of Leo Burnett Worldwide. Maybe, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I don’t want to miss that moment.