Closing the gaps at IMMAP Open Mic Night


THE PHILIPPINES, NOVEMBER 11, 2011: The first IMMAP Open Mic Night proved that digital is a social, personal and even physical experience. Over 300 attendees from various fields and interests packed the floor of Craft Pub & Grill at the Fort Strip in Taguig City on November 10 for a night of talks, drinks and networking.  

Open Mic Night grew out of the unconference, an informal speaker program open to all. Powered by the Pecha Kucha format, talks were presented in 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each. Speakers were nominated and chosen through online voting. 

Being an event of the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines, digital was inevitably a major focus of the night's talks, but marketing was not the only topic tackled by the 16 speakers, who each downed a shot before their respective talks. “Digital is everyone,” said Pao Peña, chief digital officer of Leo Burnett and one of the organizers of Open Mic Night. “Our cross-section of speakers proved that.”

Purposeful participation

The first set of speakers took a dive into purpose-driven sharing through social media. Tech blogger Jayvee Fernandez and writer-environmentalist Anna Oposa spoke of their passion for rich Philippine marine life. Through underwater photographs and videos, Fernandez showed examples of the unique biodiversity in the country and best moment of his life: a whale shark encounter. 

"Boys are replaceable but these marine resources are not," said Oposa, whose quips earned her the most likes for the night. Oposa narrated her involvement in the cause to save the reefs. "We can plant the world with hope,” she concluded. “Stop global whining."

Equally nautical was Jay Jaboneta, who harnessed the power of social media to raise funds to build boats. These yellow boats of hope ferry Tausug kids to school in Zamboanga.

Naughty is the best description for photographer Niccolo Cosme's slogan for his red whistle campaign: “Blow me.” Struck by AIDS-related deaths in the gay community, Cosme started wearing the whistle to encourage conversations about AIDS.

  Andre Yap of Ripple100 enumerated lessons in participative storytelling, which led to the success of movements such as the Obama campaign.

The artists' way

Celeste Prize-winning contemporary artist Nasser Lubay showed off his work, inspirations and influences in a six-minute visual feast. His travels and interactions, online and offline, helped him come up with interesting artworks. 

Design guru Brian Tenorio spoke of the seduction strategy and how this is applied in the construction of desire. Quoting from The Laws of Simplicity, Tenorio displayed images of beautiful objects that exemplify the principles shrink, hide and embody. 

Original Pilipino Music hero and artist Jim Paredes outlined the history of Filipino music from the 1960s to the present and argued that Filipinos need not copy from America. Paredes made the case for local talent and how we can draw from our own culture to create work that is world-class.

Screen lives

TV5 Head of New Media Carlo Ople deviated from the rest and told his love story through images. Well-known in digital marketing and gaming circles, Ople insisted that he wants his grandchildren to remember him, but not for his work. "My love for my wife is my legacy," he said.

Love, said Wunderman's Chay Saputil, is one of the reasons why we do what we do, aside from fear and fun. Saputil talked about her learnings from the music and tech festival SXSW.

Relationships gone cold may be one way to describe the theory of Ideas x Machina's Third Domingo on how we use social media. Using a one-to-many medium such as Facebook, we are still broadcasting to one person in particular, commonly exes. Domingo also tested the theory "lunchtime is the new primetime" with his (possibly unsuspecting) staff. 

"Interaction feeds me," said Globe's Coy Caballes as he looked at his unwanted tagged photos on Facebook. The photos marked milestones of his life and social media career—mementos that spark reactions, however negative. "Screw viral,” said Caballes. Do your content well first. It should evoke emotions. It's all about the people."

 Selling digital

Nestle's Ricky Baizas introduced digital as the Michael Jackson of marketing, “the neglected son who became a superstar”. Baizas reminded the audience of once big names such as Tower Records, Blockbuster and Borders. “If you do not go digital, you will go out of business," warned Ricky Baizas, who once encouraged Nestle Philippines CEO John Miller to join Facebook.

Groupon Philippines CEO Patrick Cuartero talked about his company, as well as his business, by defining the word “compelling”. Showing off group buying basics, as well as his yoyo skills, Cuartero engaged the crowd after his sales talk. 

Returning to a liquid theme, ABS-CBN Publishing's Ernie Lopez showed surfing photos and related this interest to his business. "Running ABS-CBN Publishing is like surfing - it's all about the timing," he said. According to Lopez, digital is the second wave of publishing, after print. He echoes the advice of his surfing instructor: “Catch the second wave. It's bigger.”

Streaming from Singapore, Google's Aileen Apolo appeared onscreen for only a few seconds before bowing out due to connection issues.

Nevermind that the Foursquare Swarm badge didn't materialize. TBWA\Santiago Mangada Puno's Backslash Challenge at the Disruption Bar made attendees sqarm for a photo after drinking five colorful shots. Breaks between the three sets and the open bar that followed the talks allowed guests to mingle while enjoying the free food and drinks.

The Open Mic Night seems to have discovered the formula to bring together techies, marketers and everyone in between. As admission is free, it has the makings of an inclusive event that can drive interest to IMMAP and its objectives. “We're going to be doing more unconventional, innovative, unconferences in the future,” promised Peña, who is IMMAP VP for 2012. Now that's something to look forward to in the year ahead.


Nasser Lubay