POR­TRAIT

Meet The World’s Most Awarded Creative Di­rec­tors in this new se­ries called the 6.5 in­ter­view

ArabAd - - CONTENTS - In­ter­view By Nils Adri­aans & Gijs De Swarte

I’M A FIRST IDEA KIND OF PER­SON, I HAVE NO­TICED. THE ONE THAT COMES FROM YOUR GUT, WITH­OUT THINK­ING TOO MUCH, IS THE BEST ONE.

AR­GEN­TINIAN LAURA VISCO, DEPUTY EX­EC­U­TIVE CREATIVE DI­REC­TOR 72ANDSUNNY AM­S­TER­DAM, CRE­ATED THE AS­TON­ISH­ING ‘IS IT OK FOR GUYS?’ CAM­PAIGN ON ‘TOXIC MAS­CULIN­ITY’ FOR AXE GLOBAL AND MADE IT TO ADAGE’S CREATIVE DI­REC­TOR OF THE YEAR FI­NAL­ISTS 2018 (THERE WERE ONLY 6 OF THEM). HERE SHE GOES UN­DER THE RADAR FOR OUR POR­TRAIT SE­RIES THROUGH 6,5 QUES­TIONS.

1 What was your big­gest fear when you just started?

Laura Visco: ‘My big­gest fear was to not be able to come up with ideas every day. Which is, in a way, quite a rea­son­able fear to have. I feel some­times we take for granted and com­pletely nor­mal­ize the “al­ways on” as­pect of be­ing a creative. So my big­gest ques­tion was: Shall I do some­thing that feels more “nor­mal” and that will al­low me to have a more or­di­nary life? But then I thought that, well, nor­mal is bor­ing. Later I found out that you can come up with an idea lit­er­ally any­where, any­time.’

2 De­scribe your key-ca­reer break mo­ment…

‘The Axe work “Is It Ok for Guys?”. Our task was to re­de­fine what it means to be a young guy to­day, and have a dif­fer­ent take on mas­culin­ity. There was a be­fore and af­ter in my ca­reer, and my life, in a way. It was the first time ever that I was able to truly ex­press my­self through the work I was putting out there in the world. Be­ing re­spon­si­ble for the mas­sive shift this brand made, was a dream come true to me. As a fe­male creative I strug­gled a lot with the old ma­cho Axe work.’

3 The les­son learned from your most loved mis­take…

‘I moved to Lon­don a bit too soon. I worked at Fal­lon as a se­nior writer but I wasn’t emo­tion­ally sta­ble enough to han­dle mov­ing abroad. When you move abroad you have to start from scratch, learn how to work in a for­eign lan­guage and also find your way in a coun­try where no­body knows you. It’s tough, emo­tion­ally speak­ing. So my work­ing ex­pe­ri­ence wasn’t great, I re­ally strug­gled to rec­og­nize my­self in the work I pro­duced there. I’ve learnt that you are ready when you are ready. When I moved to Am­s­ter­dam I al­ready knew what was com­ing, and I was a lot more pre­pared for the ex­pe­ri­ence. Also, I didn’t just take the first chance I had, but the one that felt right for me. 72andsunny, com­bined with Am­s­ter­dam, felt like the right agency for me, and the right city, too. Those things are key in an ad­ver­tis­ing ca­reer.’

4 Where do you get your in­spi­ra­tion?

‘I think that changes all the time. In the be­gin­ning, I used to get in­spi­ra­tion from books, films, live ex­pe­ri­ences. Now it’s more like hav­ing a mo­ment for my­self to re­flect. Al­low­ing the penny to drop, to stop and think, with­out any in­ter­rup­tions. We live in a fast-paced world. I have to al­low my­self to slow down. Hav­ing zero in­ter­rup­tions is key for the creative flow to hap­pen. I usu­ally try to go home, or to have a cof­fee some­where. Go through the prob­lem again, have an­other look at the strat­egy and try to lis­ten to my gut feel­ing. I’m a first idea kind of per­son, I have no­ticed. The one that comes from your gut, with­out think­ing too much, is al­most al­ways the best one.’

5 If you want to get ahead in ad­ver­tis­ing th­ese days, please, please do not ever…

‘Think that peo­ple will au­to­mat­i­cally care about what you do. Don’t take peo­ple’s at­ten­tion for granted. Be rel­e­vant. Put your­self in your au­di­ence’s shoes and make work that mat­ters. We ad­ver­tis­ing peo­ple live in our own bub­ble some­times, and we care too much about what hap­pens in our own me­dia out­lets and ad fes­ti­vals. For me it’s a lot more im­por­tant to do some­thing that con­nects with real peo­ple, not ad­ver­tis­ing fes­ti­val del­e­gates.’

6 If I was a mil­len­nial and wanted to start in ad­ver­tis­ing now, I would…

‘Don’t just at­tend ad­ver­tis­ing schools. Be cu­ri­ous, read books, study film, study so­ci­ol­ogy, psy­chol­ogy. Get cu­ri­ous about all as­pects of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Nerd the hell out of it. Do a lot of re­search. I need to deeply un­der­stand the sub­ject be­fore I get to the idea phase.’ Speak­ing of nerdy stuff: the love for ads. What is a re­cent ad you like? ‘I re­ally like Blood Nor­mal. The first cam­paign ever that shows real blood in­stead of blue blood. The aim of this cam­paign is to nor­mal­ize pe­ri­ods. I thought I wasn’t go­ing to be alive to wit­ness see­ing real blood in pad ads. But here we are. It re­ally feels like a mile­stone.’ And what, op­posed to com­mer­cial­ism, is price­less for you and why? ‘Trav­el­ing solo. I’ve been do­ing it since my teenage years and by ex­pos­ing my­self to the un­ex­pected over and over again I’ve gained a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence and wis­dom. It teaches you a lot about the ran­dom­ness of life and how to em­brace that.’

6.5 Also I’d like to state that…

‘As I said be­fore: Nor­mal is bor­ing. What nor­mal is in my hum­ble eyes (laughs)? Nor­mal is be­ing afraid of step­ping out of the norm, and just be what’s was ex­pected from you. I was raised in a cul­ture where be­ing dif­fer­ent was not en­cour­aged. Not choos­ing the nor­mal path as a woman was dif­fi­cult for me at the be­gin­ning of my ca­reer. Nowa­days diver­sity is a lot more cel­e­brated, but that wasn’t the case when I started work­ing in ad­ver­tis­ing, only 19 years old. Don’t be nor­mal. Nor­mal is bor­ing.’

LAURA VISCO, Deputy Ex­ec­u­tive Creative Di­rec­tor 72andsunny Am­s­ter­dam

A vis­ual thought by Laura Visco

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