Gian Carlo Lanfranco and his creative partner Rolando Cordova have been working around the globe for the last seven years. Born and Raised in Peru, they were the first ever Cannes Future Lions winners. They spoke to Archive about working abroad and the Peruvian passion that got them there.
Image: Rolando Cordova, Art Director and Gian Carlo Lanfranco, Copywriter at BSUR, Amsterdam.
After their first win at Cannes, Gian Carlo and Rolando were hired by Saatchi & Saatchi, Singapore before moving on to Wieden + Kennedy, Amsterdam to work on the global Coca-Cola account, developing digital work like the “Magic Coke Bottle iPhone App”. Gian Carlo’s journey even inspired Rei Inamoto’s (Chief Creative Officer, AKQA) “Great Stories” film for Cannes Lions 2012. Now at BSUR in Amsterdam, the pair are currently creating award-winning work for Mini’s global account and working as teachers in the Dutch office of the Miami Ad School.
When we spoke, you mentioned Peru is not so well known for advertising. Why do you think that is the case?
G.C: Peruvian people have an enormous amount of creativity; we make our own opportunities and solve problems daily. I guess this hasn’t been translating that well to the advertising world where clients mainly want to sell in the short term without really developing their brands. But this has been changing in the last few years. A growing economy has given Peruvian advertising an opportunity to do great work and that’s what we are seeing now.
R.C: The Peruvian economy was not great and that’s why clients and agencies were a little bit conservative years ago. Nowadays, the Peruvian economy is growing and you will see how each year there are more Peruvian campaigns selected at international advertising festivals and media publications. I think it’s a matter of time.
How has being from Peru and your experiences of the country influenced your ad work?
G.C: The idea of solving problems fast is a key benefit of being Peruvian, as well as having an optimistic view of life. In South America things don’t really come that easy so you have to make your own opportunities, if one pops up you don’t let it get away. We apply that same philosophy in our work on a daily basis.
Has being Peruvian helped your ad careers in any way?
G.C: As an advantage there’s certain mysticism if you come from a country unknown for advertising like Peru. Normally in advertising you meet South Americans mainly from Brazil or Argentina, but definitely not many Peruvians. You turn into some kind of Peruvian ambassador in the advertising business and that’s really special. Of course with this there’s some extra pressure. In our time at Saatchi & Saatchi Singapore we were the only Peruvians there, the same at Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam and now at BSUR Amsterdam.
R.C: Peru is not a simple country; it’s actually a lot of countries mixed into one. So coming from there you are exposed to different contexts and creative inputs. That’s gives you the ability to change, to adapt to new things and to expect the unexpected somehow.
What’s some of the best ad work you’ve seen to come out of Peru?
G.C: A few months ago I saw a really interesting campaign for the brand “San Fernando Poultry”. They changed their whole brand identity to honour Peruvian families that consume their products on a daily basis. That’s really exciting to see especially for a conservative brand like that one.
How did winning the first AKQA Future Lions change your lives?
G.C: It was a great opportunity to showcase our talent and the trampoline we needed to explore new and fascinating markets in Asia and Europe.
R.C: I think this contest really opened the door for us. It helped us to get in touch with the global creative world and some people we didn’t expect to meet. Sometimes when you are really far from this entire advertising world you tend to see things as too far away when actually, they are as close as you want them to be.
How did it feel to be mentioned in the “Great Stories” campaign in the build-up to Cannes Lions 2012?
G.C: I was really surprised. It’s definitely motivating that a professional like Rei Inamoto, used our story as an example.
What was the transition like going to work for the likes of Saatchi in Singapore, Wieden+Kennedy, Amsterdam and now BSUR?
G.C: It’s a complete change of life. Firstly, moving from Peru to a place like Singapore which is on the other side of the world - I remember we needed to fly 26 hours to get there. When you move that far you grow as professional and as a person. You have to adapt quickly. Singapore has a particular way of delivering advertising; everything is really simple and visual. Working over there for few years gave us the skills to work on global brands, as we are currently doing now in Amsterdam.
R.C: Saatchi Singapore is in the other side of the world literally. So was a huge change for us because it’s not every day you get an opportunity to go abroad, especially if you are Peruvian. We knew the great creative reputation of this Saatchi office and we took the challenge. I think the best reward was to work whilst being surrounded by really talented people and creating great work that then opened the doors for us to move to Amsterdam.
What do you feel has been your greatest achievement so far?
G.C: Being able to spend the last eight years working in different countries such as Peru, Singapore and Netherlands. Making really good friends along the way and working in brands like Mini, Coca-Cola and Guinness.
R.C: Traveling and working in different places; getting experiences from different agencies and different talented people.
What or who do you take inspiration from?
G.C: From my family and friends in Peru, they always remain positive and push themselves.
R.C: Basically, from movies and especially from Woody Allen’s films. I think his movies are really inspiring to create conversation and make you think about interesting facts of life. You need to laugh first to be able to make ideas.
How has it been working on the global Mini account?
G.C: We’ve been working on Mini for the last three years and it is definitely challenging. Mini is a great brand to work on; it’s an icon so it demands good work. On the other hand, there are always limitations when you work on a global car brand so the creative space is a bit more constrained. But that makes the creative process more exciting.
R.C: It’s fun and challenging at the same time. Car advertising has a lot of regulations in terms of executions. For example in the US you can showcase a car driving really fast but in Europe you can’t really show it speeding. These regulations and a few more turn into a creative challenge, because you need ideas to work on both sides.
Will you return to work in Peru?
G.C: Sure, I guess it’s a matter of time. I’ll love to open my own shop there and share all these great experiences.
R.C: Probably, but I don’t know when. At the moment, I’d like to keep exploring and work for different international brands that are hard to reach from Peru.
Mini Countryman "Flow" by BSUR, Amsterdam. The award-winning commercial also featured in Lürzer's Archive Vol. 6/2010.
"Mini vs. Monster" features 15.52m of Mini and an awe-inspiring monster truck jumping over the cars get this audience composed of white trash going wild. Lürzer's Archive Vol. 2/2011.