Ad Stars Jury 2021: Meet Roman Carlo Olivarez, Mullenlowe Treyna Philippines

I’m curious how the pandemic brought out the creativity in advertising the past year, I’m expecting to be blown away.

Roman Carlo Olivarez
Deputy Executive Creative Director MullenLowe TREYNA

MullenLowe Group
Publicidade/serviço completo/integração
London, Reino Unido
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On 15th June, entries to the AD STARS 2021 Awards will close and the festival’s preliminary jury, which includes Roman Carlo Olivarez of MullenLowe TREYNA in the Philippines, will get to work choosing this year’s shortlist.

Roman Carlo Olivarez, Deputy Executive Creative Director at MullenLowe TREYNA, based in Makati City in the Philippines, is joining the AD STARS Preliminary Jury this year.

“I’m excited and honored to be a part of the AD STARS 2021 Jury. Can’t wait to see the entries this year, get inspired, and even hate myself for not being the one to have executed that award winning idea,” says Olivarez, a Creative Director with a history of award-winning campaigns, who is joining AD STARS’ global panel of 240 preliminary judges this year.

Olivarez has a background as a director, starting out in TV and Film production, where he soon fell in love with advertising.


Can you tell us about your role at MullenLowe TREYNA? You have been with the network for over a decade: what do you love most about your job?

I’m the Deputy Executive Creative Director of MullenLowe TREYNA. Ah yes, I’m actually celebrating my 12th year this July with the agency. What I love most are the relationships I made with my colleagues and clients, who have become collaborators, friends, and family to me.


You began your career as a director. Can you remember the moment you first fell in love with advertising? 

Almost 10 years into my career in filmmaking and TV production, I was offered a job in advertising by one of my mentors. I can still remember that moment, almost a month into the job, that I caught myself in the middle of multiple briefs: one for a milk brand, one personal care, and another for a pharma brand. And at that moment, I knew I wouldn’t be bored in this industry, solving diverse problems at any point in time, creatively. Imagine selling canned milk to mommy micro-entrepreneurs, while fighting dandruff, while solving kids’ malnutrition – you’ll surely won’t run out of creative outlets, while earning a living!


You are based in Makati City: How does the city inspire you?

Working in Metro Manila, a cluster of cities that includes Makati City (where our office is based), is quite interesting. The location sparks inspiration because of the different paradoxes I encounter every day. At one point you’re in the posh financial center, and a few blocks away, you’ll see the rough edges of the neighborhood. You can be in a modern part of the city, and in a few minutes, you’ll be in a historical walled city. These contradictions help me be grounded and inspired.


Do you think the pandemic will change the creative industry in any positive ways in the Philippines?

Definitely. Tech adoption in the country is at an all-time high because of the pandemic. This means new ways of reaching to a wider consumer base or audience, new problems needed to be solved, new realities that need to be processed. This is where creativity comes to play, and I’m looking forward to that.


What kind of kid were you: were you always ‘creative’, curious and breaking rules? Did you always love film?

In 6th grade, I was given a VHS camera by my uncle, so my relationship with storytelling started there. I was that curious kid who always wanted to create and perform, being a Sagittarius, I guess that free-spirited playful soul in me fuelled that desire to create. Film and video-making started out to just be a hobby of mine in high school, and when I got to college, it became this passion that opened doors for me in this industry.


Outside of work, what are your passions?

Aside from being a home cook, photography hobbyist, with side hustles for film production, I have a small startup named Served Manila. It’s an exploration platform that offers online sessions with interactive kits. I partnered with my friends from the advertising and production industry with this venture. Brought about by the pandemic, and being a serial hobbyist (jumping from one hobby to another), we offer sessions like “wine and cheese tasting”, “coffee cupping”, “make-up basics”, and more. These passions keep me busy and most importantly, sane.


You are joining the Preliminary Jury at AD STARS 2021: What are you most looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to the feeling of hating myself. Ha, ha! Ideas and executions that I’d be seeing from the entries that’ll make me say, “I hate myself for not coming up with that great campaign”. Seriously, I’m curious how the pandemic brought out the creativity in advertising the past year, I’m expecting to be blown away.