Ayala Malls Christmas Billboard
Ayala Malls Christmas Tarpaulins
Ayala Malls Christmas Tree Poster
Ayala Malls Simbang Gabi Poster
Ayala Malls Christmas Sale Poster
Ayala Malls Christmas Bazaar Poster
Ayala Malls Christmas Events Poster
Ayala Malls Christmas Exhibit and Lights Show Poster

Looking back at the last “normal” Christmas, 2019 was the last time where the festivities were celebrated at their best, as if it was the “age of innocence,” unaware that it was the last of what used to be.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ Love in the Time of Cholera is perhaps the perfect allusion to the situation: how can our passions be quenched when a greater force meets us eye to eye?

Seeing the year come to an end without a clear sight of the end of the pandemic, Ayala Malls chose to embrace the simpler things in life, those that only loved ones can give, which was the theme of the previous campaign: The Gift of Happy. The doubt of having a joyous Christmas has been eradicated. Christmas is, after all, not cancellable.

For 2021, they called on Design for Tomorrow to come up with Ayala Malls’ Christmas branding, with a clear, resonating message that is celebratory whilst sensitive to the mood of the times.

To craft a message that captures the essence of the moment, the question must be asked: How can we carry on with our lives, all the while experiencing love and unity, with a widespread virus in our midst? We reminisce about the good old days, reflect on how it affects the future, and coalesce on molding our future. Therefore, we must opt to “Prepare Faithfully.”

Ayala Malls Christmas Billboard
Ayala Malls Christmas Tarpaulin Hanging In Mall

Bright and hopeful is the vision for 2021. The news about vaccine supplies coming in and establishments being allowed to increase capacity send light. But it is now not a matter of forgetting the past nor being confident of the future, but of being mindful of all that transpired and asking how we approach the way we live our lives going forward.

The inspiration of the 2021 Ayala Malls’ Christmas branding and theme takes its first step with David Whyte’s literary take on the pandemic that “Now is the time for preparation.” Getting ready to be ready for our future plans. The act of isolation is not merely a halt in our daily life, but an anticipation of greater adventures once it ends. 

Paolo Coelho banks on this more by acknowledging that we are “unknowingly depositing goodwill” in this selfless act, in a “Favor Bank” we will harbor on as we go. We are encouraged to pay it forward, sparking compassion in our hearts without being overbearing.

In this long feat, however, it is important to only give what is essential. As Elizabeth Gilbert puts it, “We have to pace ourselves because the journey is still a long way.” Compassion might be innate in Filipinos, but our supply is but a scarce resource, especially in this situation.

It is necessary to let our audiences pause and reflect on their current reality to redefine their motivations. That is how Ayala Malls addressed their people with heartfelt initiatives.

Apart from the joyous holiday spirit that the “ber-months” brings, the desire to connect with the Creator is strong in this Catholic country. It is both a personal and communal experience, and Ayala Malls have made considerable strides to incorporate it in their malls. Prayer walls during the Lenten season are built in the heart of the shopping centers, offering up the visitors’ prayers to God and for others as encouragement. 

Seeing how Ayala Malls made their community at the forefront of their message, they now formulated a question that begs to be answered this year: “What do we want everyone to

prepare for because it’s still going to be a long journey? What’s the reservoir we want to build? And for whom do we desire to offer it?”


Christmas in the time of Covid. Our second Christmas in a row.

September marks the beginning of the longest Christmas celebrations in the world, the Philippine Christmas or ‘Pasko.’ Ordinarily, campaign messaging is easy enough to wield, done simply through different iterations of merrymaking.

Not this time! After 18+ months in lockdown, and economic recovery too far in the horizon, one of the hardest hit sectors, commercial & retail, reels from daily business losses incurred during the pandemic. A great proportion of the population is both economically & emotionally run-down.

The most prominent player, Ayala Malls, with its nearly 45 Ayala Centers across the country shares the same fate as all others in the category. At a time when many companies could opt to communicate a ‘Shop till you drop’ kind of messaging to recoup from losses, DFT together with the Ayala Malls senior client team, chose to respond in a way that only a brand like Ayala would: with thought and taste.


The solution lay in the art of asking the right question: What’s that one message that doesn’t downplay the Filipinos’ difficulty yet doesn’t overplay festiveness & overpromise hope? There had to be a delicate midpoint, thoughtfully articulated, and clearly expressed through distinctive design.

A secondary set of questions became important to ask: Instead of festive celebrations, can we view this Christmas as a time to prepare?

Then, what do we want everyone to prepare for because it’s still going to be a long road to recovery? What’s the reservoir we want to build? And to whom do we desire to offer it?


Answer. Christmas 2021 is a time of preparation for better days that will surely come: getting ready for our future. We spun the word ‘Gathering’ (which has become a politically-laden, almost taboo term to use during the pandemic) into ‘Gather’ or the act of collecting something so valuable.

‘We Will Prepare Faithfully’ Christmas Manifesto was born, capturing exactly this message. All Ayala Malls grounds across the Philippines now become living message boards enjoining everyone from all walks of life to reflect on the question, ‘What do you want to gather this Christmas?’. Messages (primarily composed of 2 simple words) are translated into key dialects for even deeper relevance among various sub-cultures.

The essence of the Christmas tree as the ultimate symbol of gathering gifts is refreshed – but this time around, the Christmas tree becomes the vestibule for everything that we have, everything that we hold dear, everything that we wish & pray for whether for ourselves or those we love. It becomes a tree of hope & convergence.

The design manifestation is recognizable & distinctive yet fresh and inclusive. For all Filipinos whoever they are & wherever they may be, the campaign provokes a heartfelt smile & heartfelt hope. With one question. Two words. And a symbolic design.

Ayala Malls Christmas Sign
Ayala Malls Christmas Banner

Hence, the Ayala Malls Christmas 2021 Manifesto:

‘We Will Prepare Faithfully’

It will not always be like this.
It will not always be a time of anxiety, doubt, and lack.
It will not always be a city of sickness nor a place of fear.

One day the shadow of difficulties will fall behind us.
One day our minds & our hearts will kick alive again.
One day we will experience the full joys of Christmas without worries.

Meanwhile, we shall, gather together & gather apart.
We will gather differently.

Like gathering wood to warm our hearts,
Like gathering stones to build our homes,
Like gathering paper to teach our children,
Like gathering candles to light our nights,
Like gathering songs to bridge generations,
Like gathering pens so we can write our tomorrows,
Like gathering humanness in remembrance of our God.

This Christmas, we allow ourselves once more to feel who we are
and what it is we live to offer to ourselves & those we love.

We will all bring what’s necessary for the journey,
whether that one day may be near or far.
We will be gatherers. And so, we say,

Gather Hope.
Gather Beauty.
Gather Kindness.
Gather Friendships.
Gather Joy.
Gather Memories.
Gather Pride.
Gather Generosity.
Gather Prayers.
Gather Surprises.
Gather Health.
Gather Dreams.
Gather Appetite.
Gather Blessings.
Gather Comfort.
Gather Peace.
Gather Grace.
And Gather Love

What do you want to gather this Christmas?
Merry Christmas from Ayala Malls.

Eunice Marie Velasco

“Working and collaborating with Ric and his fantastic team in DFT is such a joy. Since I started working with him for specific projects in Alveo Land, to Ayala Land Premier, and now in Ayala Malls, all the insights and ideas shared undoubtedly level up the team’s output and exceeded our expectations. His sense of taste is impeccable. His team’s attention to detail is impressive. Ric was never short in sharing his thoughts and recommendations to address any concerns and challenges faced, treating our projects, whether they may be big or small in scale, equally. Ric with DFT is one I constantly rely on for my strategic branding, marketing, and creative requirements.”

Christine Yambao

Handpicking Design For Tomorrow as our creative partner for the Ayala Malls 2021 Christmas campaign was an easy decision to make. We are very much aware of how much thought and soul Ric and his team pour into every work they produce, and we definitely wanted (and needed) a meaningful campaign this year— being mindful of the situation and plight of many, while still effectively communicating, with a lot of heart and warmth, what Ayala Malls has to offer to the community.

From the stirring exchanges during brainstorming to the dynamic presentation of their thought-provoking manifesto and refreshing visuals, collaborating with the creative minds of Design For Tomorrow will always be an exciting and inspiring process!

Our work has been graciously featured by DesignRush, a worldwide B2B platform connecting creative agencies, as part of their Best in Holiday Designs feature.

Manifesto Writer Pris Javier
Brand Designer Caya Innocencio
Illustrator Mika Torres
Art Director Rashina Tuazon
Creative Directors Bonappart Galeng & Ric Gindap
Strategists Pris Javier & Ric Gindap
Forward Planner Cess Villones
Manifesto Animation + Film by Thrive Consultancy (Patricia Bay / Tin Lucas)
Date Published December 14, 2021