The Hidden Burden of Leadership

The baby steps on ‘being a leader’ I’m now taking have been interesting to say the least. With just under four years of formal leadership positions under my belt, I’m barely scratching the surface. But in the past few months, a hidden burden revealed itself to me. Continue reading “The Hidden Burden of Leadership”

Never be the Smartest Person in the Room – Even in Your Head

“Never be the smartest person in the room.” It’s a common saying, and a favourite piece of advice to those in positions of leadership. But is saying it enough? What if we are guilty of thinking it? Will it matter? Continue reading “Never be the Smartest Person in the Room – Even in Your Head”

To Break the Internet, Light a Powder Keg of a Truth

2017 is off with a bang, as far as branded videos go. Jollibee’s three-part series caused not only a “national heartbreak”, but some ridiculous statistics as well. Several industry blog posts, news features, hundreds of observer opinions, and millions of affected people later, the magic of Jollibee’s content finally surface.

A powder keg of a truth.

Like all great stories that scale and spread, Jollibee’s “Kwentong Jollibee” (or “Jollibee Stories”) answers a powerful ‘why’: Why would people care about yet another Valentine’s Day story? Or put another way, why would people care about Jollibee’s definitions of love?

Three videos, twenty-four hours, and a nation in emotional tatters later, we know the answer.

Jollibee made us care about how it defines love by unlocking and telling a powerful, human, and universal truth. And the truth is that love, in all its glory and pain, in all its iterations and spectrum of emotions, deserves to be celebrated.

The storytelling absolutely matters.

None of the love stories in the “Kwentong Jollibee” series were new, in the strictest sense of the word. An unrequited love in “Vow”. A love that never gave up in “Crush”. A tragic, painful, but unending love in “Date”. Three expressions of love we have all felt; powerful, human, and universal.

There is no monopoly in identifying what stories to tell. The only thing that comes close to that is how a story is told. Jollibee set all three Valentine’s Day stories in backdrops that were immediately relevant and relatable to virtually every Filipino viewer.

Familiar situations? Check. Culturally-accurate? Check. Relatable experiences? Check. The power of the videos – why we ended up caring about all three stories – isn’t in what it was telling us (that there are many types of love) but in why we celebrate love in the first place and how to make as many people as possible relate to each story.

There is no mathematical secret to the success of “Kwentong Jollibee”. There is no ‘playbook’ or template. There is no formula where a script could be plugged in and played. There is, however, a secret sauce: a powerful truth told very, very well.

And with “Date” alone breaking the million views threshold in its first sixty minutes, it’s safe to say that Jollibee well and truly broke the Internet with its truth well told.

Hack Sheet:

  • Find a powerful, human, and universal truth; and
  • Tell it well.


  • Jollibee is a Filipino quick-service restaurant (QSR) that has branches all around the world.
  • The videos, in order of appearances, were: “Vow”, “Crush”, and “Date”.
  • All three videos can be watched at Jollibee’s official Facebook Page.
  • Disclaimer: Jollibee is a client of McCann Worldgroup Philippines, the agency I work with.

You Can Go Home Late – And it’s Not a Bad Thing

I was browsing my Facebook feed last night and saw four different people (from three different industries) share the same graphic: the one titled “Always Leave the Office on Time.” Let’s get it out of the way: I have a huge issue with the statements on that picture. Continue reading “You Can Go Home Late – And it’s Not a Bad Thing”

Are Niche Brands Asking the Right Questions?

I spent the past couple of weeks working on “niche brands”, and it had me thinking: why do some niche players do well (i.e. growth and profit) and why do some end up dead in the water? The more I thought about it, the more a hiking outfitter I am a patron of came to my mind. Continue reading “Are Niche Brands Asking the Right Questions?”

Three Questions Every Young Leader Needs to Answer Today

It’s quite the workforce we’re in now, my generation. Billionaires under the age of 30 seem to pop up every few months or so. Tech moguls look barely out of grad school. And for many of us average guys, in leadership positions – managing people – by the time we hit our mid-twenties. Continue reading “Three Questions Every Young Leader Needs to Answer Today”

Three Reasons a Man Should Have a Hero Item

I love RPGs. Great stories, long game plays, immersive worlds; you name it, role-playing games usually have it. For this article, I want to focus on a key feature many of these games have: the Hero Item(s) for, well, your hero. Continue reading “Three Reasons a Man Should Have a Hero Item”

Can Confidence be Trained?

Let me start this with a trivia: I’m introverted. Anyone who has known me for the past few years will beg to disagree, and I expect no less of them. The truth is, the confidence I’m grateful to have now is a never-ending journey – all by design.

Continue reading “Can Confidence be Trained?”