College of Fine Arts –Award of Excellence for Best Undergraduate Thesis
Adlai is a Southeast Asian grain born to the same family as wheat, corn, and rice. It has been cultivated since ancestral times as a staple crop by the Subanen tribe in Mindanao, Philippines, and contains nearly three times the energy and six times the protein content of its staple counterparts. Despite its superior qualities, the grain still remains unfamiliar to the majority of its host country’s urban population.
The Adlai Agenda is a product and advertising campaign created to examine the relationship between visual communication and business. Through brand development– illustration, packaging design, promotional material, and external collaboration –the project aims to introduce Adlai as a superfood product within Metro Manila. Doing so positions the grain as a gourmet ingredient despite its similar price to household rice, therefore generating income that may be donated directly to the crop’s rural producers. This campaign was proposed as my Bachelor of Fine Arts undergraduate thesis at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. All project research and collaterals (photographs, layouts, and illustrations) are concepts and executions uniquely my own.
Phase One ––
As Adlai previously existed only as a staple food to rural Philippine regions, a concrete brand was developed for the product prior to introducing it to the country’s urban market. Embodying the grain’s provincial origin yet tailored to appeal to a contemporary audience, the campaign’s palette features earthy tones in contrast with bright and saturated backgrounds. The Adlai Agenda logo consists of two elements– a typeface-based insignia and a ring subheader broadcasting the superfood’s selling points.
Inspired by classic botanical illustration, imagery for the Adlai Agenda was executed through pointillism, or the use of multiple points to create tones and shades.
Phase Two ––
Once the campaign’s idenity had been established, the Adlai Agenda was introduced to the public by means of an “Interactive Instagram Table”. Hosting over 700 million monthly active users, the social network consists of both personal and brand accounts interacting directly through curated content.
The brand’s main account, @AdlaiAgenda, hosts the interactive table. It displays a cohesive photo grid featuring dishes created with Adlai as the main ingredient. Each individual post is tagged to link the user to a separate account that displays the specific dish’s recipe and ingrediencts, allowing consumers to further explore the table and discover creative utilisations of the grain. A “frequently asked questions” account (@AdlaiAgendaFAQ) was also created for easy access to information regarding the product and campaign.
Hover over the table to display the Adlai recipe account tags.
Swipe through the slideshow to view the Adlai recipe accounts and posters.
Adlai recipe samples.
Adlai Agenda FAQ account.
Phase Three ––
Having already raised awareness for the brand through online platforms, the campaign now aimed to directly acquaint its target market with the product. The Adlai Agenda partnered with Gallery Vask (among other gourmet food establishments in Metro Manila) in creating an Adlai dish to be served exclusively at their restaurant. Ranked 39th among Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants last 2016, Gallery Vask is set in a constantly evolving art space inspired by people, nature, memories, textures, travel, and history.
The renowned restaurant utilizes the latest culinary and gastronomy techniques to cater to Metro Manila’s elite food community, making it an ideal partner for the campaign. I worked with Gallery Vask’s owner and chef, Chele Gonzales, to develop a Filipino-inspired Adlai dish. Trained in the Michelin-starred restaurants of the Basque country, he created the Adlai Sirloin Tapa recipe solely for the campaign. The dish featured garlic-sautéd Adlai, plated with a 36-hour sous vide sirloin steak and duck egg.
Phase Four ––
The final phase of the Adlai Agenda culminates the campaign by centralising all information regarding the brand through the creation of an Adlai Cookbook. The book features consolidated recipes from partner restaurants and gourmet chefs, allowing Adlai to go beyond the professional culinary industry and into the kitchens of amateur homemakers. The cookbook also aims to inform its consumers about the campaign’s purpose and advocacy– it includes a profile on the Adlai farmers, as well as articles that discuss the crop’s role in reducing agrarian poverty.