Staff Reporters
Nov 18, 2020

40 Under 40 2020: Herbert Hernandez, Gigil

Guitarist, songwriter and concert promoter might be enough of a CV for some. Herbert Hernanadez has also built a thriving, award-winning independent agency and made a habit of helping his industry peers.

40 Under 40 2020: Herbert Hernandez, Gigil
Top-tier talent transforming APAC media and marcomms 

Herbert Hernandez

Founding partner

Described as "a deadly combination of both strategic thinking and meticulous craftsmanship", Herbert Hernandez is not only something of an ad-industry rock star in the Philippines but also an actual rock star.

While playing guitar in two bands, Moonstar88 and 6cyclemind (and penning a hit that has more than 70 million listens on Spotify), Hernandez found time to pursue a career in advertising, including stints with JWT Manila, DM9JaymeSyfu and Y&R.

He co-founded Gigil in 2017. Months later, the agency won a bronze Spike, then followed that up with more awards at the Clios and Adfest. In 2019, Gigil was a David among Goliaths in the Southeast Asia Campaign Agency of the Year Awards, as a finalist for Philippines Creative Agency of the Year.

This year, the agency added to its awards shelf with a win in the London International Awards and a gold at the APAC Effies, where Gigil also placed third in the APAC-wide independent agency of the year category. More importantly, Gigil did well in business terms despite the year's difficulties; it increased its headcount by 21% to respond to client needs and managed to deliver healthy salary increases amid growth in billings, new business and net income.

While running a successful business that protected its employees during the pandemic is laudable in and of itself, Hernandez also looked beyond Gigil in 2020. With scores of agency people being retrenched, he started The Indierectory—a listing that helps match up clients and freelance creatives. He also hosted a webinar to help the 700 people who have signed up understand the ins and outs of freelancing and he orchestrated a meet-and-greet session between clients and freelancers. 

Somehow, Hernandez also found time to mount 12 'Rockovery' concerts to raise funds for seriously ill members of the industry who needed help with medical bills. In that effort, Hernandez built on 10 years of experience organising 'Lakihan Mo Logo', a concert series featuring bands made up of agency talent. Launched with the simple objective of giving ad people a break, the effort has mounted 58 concerts over the years, and even helped some bands become actual recording artists.

Top-tier talent transforming APAC media and marcomms 


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