Advertising Creative Director & Filipino Rockstar Herbert Hernandez Thanks God for His Gifts

Herbert Hernandez is perhaps best known as a co-founder of the award-winning Filipino ad agency GIGIL, but he has also found personal and professional success as a musician. As the guitarist and songwriter for 6cyclemind and Moonstar88, Hernandez has been able to use music as therapy while also building a fanbase. The fact that so many of his creative endeavors have been embraced by the public is one of the greatest blessings in Hernandez’s life.

While Herbert Hernandez has learned how to channel his creativity and grand ideas into economic success, he didn’t always know how to direct his artistic abilities and inclinations into a full-fledged career. He grew up unfocused and with many interests, including the arts, sports, music, and movies, but showed extreme promise in visual art. This led him to take Fine Arts in college. 

A career in the Fine Arts seemed inevitable until someone introduced Hernandez to advertising. He immediately fell in love. “The randomness of advertising suited me and everything just felt natural,” he says.

Raised by an overachieving, passionate mother and an analytical father, Herbert Hernandez credits them with influencing his development into a resilient, thoughtful man. Hernandez was also taught from a young age to give back when he is in a position to do so and to build a team around you that you can rely on; both of these lessons have resonated with him.

Co-founding GIGIL in 2017 with Badong Abesamis was a huge leap of faith for Hernandez, who had spent the prior 14 years climbing the corporate ladder at several well-known advertising agencies. Having spent almost four years as Executive Creative Director at Young & Rubicam, he was ready to branch out on his own with a partner who compliments his skill set, rather than duplicates it. Together, Hernandez and Abesamis have been able to build a unique brand with projects they are proud of.

Within its first three years, GIGIL was already a massive success story, being declared by Campaign AOY as Philippines Creative Agency of the Year. It has since garnered awards from around the world, including Gold and Bronze in marketing effectiveness in the APAC Effies 2020 and 2021; Top 10 Hottest Agencies in Asia; and Ad Age International Small Agency of the Year.

Even while earning numerous accolades, starting GIGIL brought financial uncertainties and a pay cut for Hernandez early on. During this time, Hernandez was fortunate enough to rely on earnings from his band’s performances in order to support his family in the way that they had become accustomed to. His longtime hobby of music served an important purpose, allowing him to pursue his dream of running his own business.

When asked about future plans, Herbert Hernandez has many: “The next step is to help Filipino brands, talents, and communities succeed globally!” He says, full of excitement. “I am very excited about being able to explore uncharted territories, collaborate with huge world-class Filipino talents, and open multiple offices around the world with each having its own strengths and expertise.”

Thanks to his family and to coffee (which he calls “essential” to each day), Herbert Hernandez shows no signs of slowing down. He is thrilled that he can contribute to the world through both advertising and music.

“I don’t think I can live without one or the other. I feel that I owe it to God to continue these things given all the gifts He has given me. I just want to show that while there are people who are specialized in their fields, there are also people like me who are able to do many things, too.”

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