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How Herbert Hernandez Succeeded as a Musician and a Digital Ad Agency Founder

Most of us are lucky to find success with just one career. And the truth is that economic success usually takes precedence over the feelings of enjoyment or fulfillment that can come from work. But thanks to his many talents, Herbert Hernandez is both a nationally recognized rock star and a highly successful advertising executive – and did we mention he loves both of his careers?

In addition to his raw talent, Herbert Hernandez credits his numerous successes to “happy accidents” and traits that he inherited from his family, such as his resilience, drive, and analytical side. Born to a high-achieving insurance sales agent mother and a mechanical engineer father, Hernandez has also been influenced greatly by his older brother Darwin, who taught him how to play guitar and is now the founder of the music and events management and production group, Soupstar Entertainment – and the manager of Herbert’s bands.

Although it’s easy to look at Hernandez’s many successes as inevitable, he has stayed the course and moved up inch-by-inch over many years of hard work. And while pursuing two careers has come naturally to him, it has also meant a lot of long days and juggling commitments as both careers have asked more of him.

Thanks to guidance from his family, mentors, and God, Hernandez has managed to navigate the rough waters of both the music industry and the advertising world.

How did Herbert Hernandez Get Started as a Musician?

Herbert Hernandez enjoyed playing around with music as a child, and in high school, Darwin taught him to play guitar. Knowing that his traditional education was important, Herbert never let music interfere with his studies. Because he knew his priorities, his parents supported this creative pursuit.

Even as Herbert became a talented guitar player, he made room in his life for many interests and hobbies: he was student council president, a member of the dance troupe, the head of the drum and lyre club, played table tennis, won first place in the Math Olympiad Provincial Competition, won the Juan Luna Award, and won the Gerry Roxas Leadership Award.

He moved on to the University of Santo Tomas to earn his degree in Fine Arts, majoring in Advertising, which is also where he founded his first band, Moonstar88. Moonstar88 happens to be one of the biggest bands in the Philippines, and Hernandez still tours with them today. He later joined the established band 6cyclemind and has also toured with them for more than 10 years.

How did Herbert Hernandez Break Into Advertising?

Herbert Hernandez is well-known for his guitar-playing and songwriting, but he is perhaps even more successful in his advertising career. In 2017, after spending more than 14 years climbing the corporate ladder at several big-name advertising agencies, he and his mentor, Badong Abesamis, decided to strike out on their own and start their own firm. GIGIL was born and began to thrive almost instantaneously. They have since received international acclaim for their innovative, creative, and envelope-pushing campaigns that “beg to be talked about.”

But long before GIGIL, Hernandez was a recent graduate struggling to find his way. He began by doing freelance graphic design, creating album covers for several bands. This portfolio was enough to earn him a job at J. Walter Thompson (JWT) Manila as a visualizer/designer, doing brochures and packaging designs.

It wasn’t long before Hernandez’s natural ability for visual work was recognized, and he began to climb the ranks, as well as move to several different agencies and work with a multitude of clients. Years later, he found himself working under Abesamis at Young & Rubicam, and found that his boss’ writing talent was the perfect complement to his visual prowess. After five years at Y&R, the two were ready to go their own way.

How does Herbert Hernandez Balance Careers in Music and Advertising?

Finding that you have an aptitude for two careers is one thing, but maintaining both for almost two decades is entirely another thing. Not only does Herbert Hernandez work full-time in advertising, tour with two bands, and take on pet projects that are meaningful to him, but he also has a family. We all get the same 24 hours in a day, so how does he do it?

“Coffee” is his first answer, but the truth is that sticking to a strict schedule and sacrificing sleep are both a big part of his careful balancing act. Many years ago, he almost gave up music as his advertising career took off, but his boss at the time encouraged him to hold onto music as a creative outlet. Ever since that, he has made time for both. It makes for long days and nights, but Hernandez wouldn’t have it any other way.

Grateful for his many blessings, and the opportunity to pursue two of his greatest passions, Herbert Hernandez is committed to touching as many lives as he can through his work. The fact that he can support his family and love what he does is just the icing on the cake for this multi-talented phenomenon. 

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