GIGIL’s Winning Formula: The Story of Herbert Hernandez’s Journey in Advertising

3 Mins read

Herbert Hernandez is a successful entrepreneur and advertising veteran who founded GIGIL in 2017. This Philippine-based advertising agency has made a name for itself in the industry in just a short amount of time, earning numerous awards for its excellent performance in marketing effectiveness, being named one of the top 10 hottest agencies in Asia, and Ad Age International Small Agency of the Year. Hernandez’s experience in the advertising industry spans back to 2003 when he worked as a freelance graphic designer, doing album covers for several bands. In this article, we will delve deeper into Hernandez’s background, how GIGIL came to be, its success, what the future holds, and the lessons we can learn from his story.

Hernandez’s Advertising Career

Herbert Hernandez started his advertising career as a freelance graphic designer, doing album covers for several bands. He then joined JWT Manila, where he was hired as a visualizer/designer, doing brochures and packaging designs. After only a few months, Hernandez became an Art Director and worked on bigger brands such as Ford, Red Horse beer, Nestle, Pfizer, Shell, and Unilever. He spent three years at JWT before moving on to DM9, where he spent another six years climbing from Senior Art Director to Creative Director, before leaving for Young & Rubicam. As one of the youngest Executive Creative Directors at Y&R, Hernandez handled accounts such as Sun Cellular, Inbisco, CDO Foodsphere, and North Face, among others.

The Beginning of GIGIL

Herbert Hernandez and Badong Abesamis met while working at Young & Rubicam, Hernandez as Executive Creative Director and Abesamis as Chief Creative Officer. When another advertising agency approached them, wanting to hire either or both of them, they collectively decided to “just be themselves” and start GIGIL. In the early days of GIGIL, Hernandez remembers taking a significant pay cut and fearing the financial uncertainties that come along with starting his own business. After having previously failed in entrepreneurship with an events agency and a restaurant, on which he spent considerable time, Hernandez is finally finding entrepreneurial success with GIGIL.

GIGIL’s Success

GIGIL has become one of the top-performing advertising agencies in the Philippines in just a few short years. [1] Hernandez attributes this success to the different strengths he and Abesamis have and how they utilize them for GIGIL’s benefit. The culture at GIGIL is one that encourages meaningful contributions from everyone, and mistakes are okay as long as they’re learned from. Hernandez and Abesamis are focused on staying on top of technological advancements, attracting bigger clients, and winning more awards. They have a specific set of requirements for candidates, aside from being qualified for the job, the candidates must be kind.

What’s Next for Herbert Hernandez and GIGIL?

GIGIL’s success is proof that with hard work, perseverance, and the right team, anything is possible. Hernandez’s dedication and passion for advertising have paid off, and GIGIL is in good hands with him at the helm.

Hernandez hopes that retirement is possible within the next 15 years. He emphasizes the importance of enjoying the journey and not comparing yourself to others because everyone’s different. Hernandez brings his energy, creativity, and passion to every client meeting, and coffee helps him stay energized.

Lessons We Can Learn from Herbert Hernandez

Herbert Hernandez’s story teaches us that taking risks and finding the right partners can lead to success. It’s also important to focus on building a culture that encourages everyone’s meaningful contributions.

Success is not easy, and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to achieve. Additionally, it’s essential to stay on top of technological advancements and constantly strive to improve oneself and the business. Hernandez’s emphasis on the importance of being kind to others, both in business and in life, is another valuable lesson that we can learn from his story. Lastly, Hernandez’s experience also reminds us that failure is a part of the journey, and it’s important to learn from our mistakes and keep moving forward.

Let’s mention that GIGIL has been hailed by the Financial Times as the fastest-growing ad agency in Asia-Pacific.


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