As part of an ongoing series highlighting young talent in the industry, Branding in Asia brings you “One Under 30” – a special feature that focuses on up-and-coming talent in the ad world, one person at a time.
This week we highlight Neena Felizzi Gatdula, Partner Creative Concept and Art from Happiness Saigon.
When discussing her favorite aspects of her career Neena brought up her passion for creativity, saying her job is “the closest thing to making art and not being broke.”
Name: Neena Felizzi Gatdula, but people call me Nichi
Agency: Happiness Saigon
Position: Partner, Creative Concept and Art
Hometown: Oriental Mindoro, Philippines
Current Location: Saigon, Vietnam
Education: University of Santo Tomas, Bachelor of Fine Arts major in Advertising
How did you get your first break in the industry?
As a fresh grad, I did everything to get noticed by the big names. Cold calls. “Gimmicky” CVs. Freestyle rapping in interviews. Name it. I probably did it.
When I finally got into my dream agency in Manila, which was Ace Saatchi and Saatchi, I was ecstatic! I would enter the Saatchi House wide-eyed with a huge smile on my face like a kid in a candy shop. It was a great place to learn and train in my formative years in advertising.
What is your personal mantra?
Show, don’t tell.
It’s a technique used in writing but I believe it can be applied in different ways. With work, I’m definitely leaning more towards the visual aspect of it because I am art-based. More often than not, we don’t have the luxury of time to say a lot of words so your visual needs to work hard.
With values, I try to “show” rather than “telling” what I want to do. I have a slight belief in jinxing things before they happen so I try to keep it quiet until I have something to show for it.
From what person, place or thing have you drawn your greatest creative inspiration?
I think I have a perpetual goal to impress my mom, who is the most creative person I know. She taught me to create with my hands which I now realize was very useful.
What do you love about the job?
It’s the closest thing to making art and not being broke. Also, I get to meet cool, inspiring people.
What about your job are you not so crazy about?
Timesheets. They might just be the seventh circle of hell.
What is some work you’ve done that you’re most proud of?
My bias is my women empowerment-themed works.
In 2018, I won a young creatives competition with a brief to tackle the lack of representation of women in media.
When I got to Vietnam, we also created a small campaign to fight women trafficking.
And most recently, the work we did late last year for UNICEF to fight littering in VN:
When it’s something that you’re passionate about, the nuances in the work can be felt and seen.
If you had to choose another career what would it be?
Experimental / Documentary Film director.