Either you adapt to what is coming or you are out.
For this issue of the magazine, we asked Diego Livachoff, CCO of JWT Lima, to select his favorite Digital works of the moment.
Until his appointment as creative vice president to the Peru office two years ago, Diego was located in Buenos Aires as CD of the regional hub of McCann Latam, a position he took up in 2013. He began his professional career in 1995 and went on to work at agencies such as Y & R, Grey, J. Walter Thompson, McCann Erickson, and Publicis. In the interview that follows, Michael Weinzettl tried to find out more about the top Latin creative, who afterwards joked that this had been the most extensive interrogation he has ever had to undergo.
Hello Diego, many thanks for selecting the Digital works for this issue. First of all, can you tell us a bit about yourself, where you come from, what your education was, etc. Your family name suggests that you have Eastern European roots …
Ja! Yes, a little bit of Russian and Polish. Like many Argentinians, children of immigrants. Anyway, I also migrated and came to Peru to manage JWT. Now I realize that it might be hereditary! When I first came to Lima, I thought about the challenge of doing a little of what I had already done in Argentina, trying to spread something of our culture, which is quite cosmopolitan. For now, we are doing well. But, for these kind of cultural things, you need time. I’ve been here for only two years. A great two years!
What about the role of JWT in Peru or Latin America in general? And what are the main challenges facing you as JWT’s Chief Creative Officer?
Today, I believe that the challenge of a creative is to learn. There are too many ways to reach the consumer, and what you learn today is already old come tomorrow. Now is a great time to be creative because you have to be real. You have no choice. The format, the way of thinking has changed, you are no longer facing the blank page just trying to create a concept or a copy. Work has turned into collaborative learning; you have to be willing to listen to others because there are a lot of things that you don’t know. Then you find that a 20-year-old guy can give you the answer that you were looking for.
Peruvian advertising has really made quite a splash internationally in recent years. What are some of the reasons for this? What triggered it?
It’s something that happened to Peru and many other countries in Latin America. Cannes achieved something great and controversial at the same time. On the one hand, they democratized advertising. In the past, it was a privilege of countries like the USA, the UK, Holland, Spain, Australia, Brazil, and Argentina. But not anymore. The way in which Cannes opened up the game has allowed countries from around the world to be on the crest of the wave. But, at the same time, they have standardized creativity. They began to award the same concepts (with some exceptions, of course). They set a parameter of what to do to “win at Cannes” and what “not to do.” I think that this concept distorted the world of ideas. It has standardized them.
Would you say that Flavio Pantigoso played a major part in putting Peruvian advertising on the international creative map?
No. I think there are many who have done it well too. In Peru, there are a lot of creatives who do a very great job. Ricardo Chadwick, Juan Carlos Gómez de la Torre, Javi Graña, Fernando Iyo, Humberto Polar, and Pantigoso as well. They have also won a lot of prizes. But I have to make the same point once again: the prizes do not make the creatives. It’s a nice part of the job, yes, but we can´t measure the ability of a creative just in terms of the prizes they have won.
As for your own agency’s output, can you tell us how much of this is digital and how much is still traditional media, i.e. print and film? And do you think that Digital will continue to be such a favorite with creatives?
It is not a matter of favoritism. It is a reality. Either you adapt to what is coming or you are out. Opportunities, learnings, and media change, but talent must be the same. You should know how to tell a story. It doesn´t matter to where or what media it goes. A film is a way in which you can tell people things, be it published on Facebook or the BBC. The skills that an art director has to make things look “beautiful” don’t change because of the media. And so on with everything. One of the ideas of the year I liked the most (obviously, I chose it among the 15 on this list!) is the Old Spice one. It´s a “movie” without being a “movie.” It’s more an extended radio play than anything else. Made me laugh for two hours watching gray TV rain. It does understand how things work today, and how to spin it. I come back to the same point: I do not know whether there is favoritism about something. There are more opportunities for creatives and more learnings.
What are some of the campaigns created under your creative leadership that you’re proudest of?
Two years ago, I came to Lima and fortunately there were good things we could do.
We made a couple of campaigns for Nestlé Ice Cream that I’m proud of. Not only because I like them, but because they were made for one of our most important clients: Nestlé. What does it mean? Jumping over several barriers to reach the final goal with great results. “Ice cream seller” and “Hey ... Mark” make me happy.
At this moment, a very fun idea is coming out for a Laive butter. Our most recognized creativity was an idea for PromPerú about football. We made Peruvian food win a football game! It was delirious and fun to do it. This video went viral. We got more than 4 MM views.
What are some of the international campaigns this year (other, of course, than the work you selected for this issue) that you were most impressed with? Is there anything where you said, “I wish we had done that”?
Sometimes, you say to yourself things like: “Why didn’t I have this idea myself?”
Evan, against violence and gun ownership, is brilliant. The new VW commercial is one of those that I like, honest and courageous. A car brand that doesn´t show its car until the end, and tells you that no kid dreams of having a VW, deserves the recognition of all of us in this industry. The idea is great and the filters they overcame to do it makes it even greater. I love the Pedigree campaign for adoption. It’s very smart. I want this campaign on my portfolio: “The Superhumans of Channel 4.” Would it be possible for the creatives to lend it to me? And for sure I would like some more that, when I see them again, will probably make me say to myself: “Shit, why didn´t we do that?”
Who are some of the people in advertising that have been role models for you?
Beautiful question! The possibility to be grateful to people who marked your path. Either bosses or colleagues. Sebastian Wilhelm, to start with. He is the best creative I ever knew. By far. Up there with the best in the world, without doubt. Alberto Ponte, today at Wieden+Kennedy in charge of global Nike. He is the person from whom I learned the most by working with him. Pure class, pure talent. Sebastian Stagno, Rafael D’Alvia and Matias Corbelle, today at Mother, Buenos Aires, are three other “creative animals.” And I had the pleasure of working with Raposo, Lucero, Striker, Juan Cravero, Carlos Pérez, Kepel ... there are many more. I would like to point out that you can also learn from the people you train. A great deal, in fact.
Can you tell us about some of the criteria you applied when putting together the Digital selection for this issue of Archive?
I chose the things that make me say, “Wow!” (And the ones you let me put in, ha!) For sure, all the things that caught my attention. Surely some were left out. But I tried to choose the most honest work. Things that have a strategy behind them and make you think: “This works!”
What are some of the things you enjoy doing outside advertising. How do you relax?
What? Are there other things? Ha! I watch many series, I play football (at least I try while my legs still work), and family life with my wife and my children. It’s enough, no more left. All lockers occupied until Sunday night.Would you say ours is a good time for students to go into advertising, or what would you advise a young creative starting out?
Unless you have Messi’s talent, it’s always a good time. Today, there are far more alternatives, many of them much better. But don’t get confused. Being a creative is to sit down and engage yourself. To post a funny tweet and get back thousands of retweets is not being creative, nor is it what I consider successful. You will always have to sit down and learn how to use the brain. For everything you do.