From arguing about paella, to working on AI technology together, the Serviceplan España senior art director and senior copywriter speak to LBB’s Zoe Antonov about their creative duo’s shenanigans
Carlos Alcácer, senior art director and Pablo Tesio, senior copywriter at Serviceplan España met six years ago at the agency’s Valencia office, where they didn’t have much crossover, due to the fact that they were in different teams. While Carlos only remembers thinking that Pablo was the first Argentine he had met in his life, Pablo’s first impressions were a bit different. “When I met Carlos I immediately knew he was a gadget-head,” says Pablo about his creative partner. “At the time he was working in Madrid and had just come to the Valencia office, where I was based. He was showing off a small new drone that he was controlling with his phone. Just a few seconds after it took off, he smashed it against the wall and broke it.”
Because of this, Pablo instantly thought Carlos was quite funny, and he claims his colleague has absorbed his sense of humour, albeit a darker version as the days have gone by.
Carlos also has fond memories of his first impressions: “Pablo had ideas and a way of presenting them that was very different from what I was used to. A new and very captivating way of working. Besides this, he is an advertising-history library.” And when it comes to complementing each other, they both know they’re quite similar, but with interests that fit together like puzzle pieces - while Pablo writes, but has a strong affinity for the fine arts, Carlos designs, but also writes comedy on the side. “We joke about exchanging partners,” says Carlos. Pablo points out another way the duo complement each other perfectly: “Carlos drinks more mate than me, and I eat more rice than him.”
In a personal sense their biggest disagreement seems to be over paella being a good or bad choice for dinner (with Pablo defending the former). In a professional setting, however, they seem to mostly agree. “We argue like all teams about the best way to approach our ideas, which is where we can have some differences, but it always ultimately makes the idea bigger and better,” explains Carlos. “We tend to discuss everything until one of us gives up,” adds Pablo.
All of the differences and similarities are what make Pablo and Carlos friends before they are colleagues. “Pablo comes home to eat paella with Marina and Florencia, and I go to eat empanadas at their house. In that we are not original at all,” says Carlos.
The first project the duo worked on together was for Amstel Radler, called ‘It’s Motivated.’ At the beginning of the project, Carlos and Pablo travelled together to Barcelona for a multi-day workshop where they collaborated with other people from the international network. Carlos shares that he still sometimes worries about how much rest Pablo got during those days - “I snore quite a bit.” In fact, when they arrived in the room they were meant to share during the workshop days, Carlos gave Pablo a pair of earplugs. “I think I snored louder,” says Pablo.
“The process was insane, though,” he continues, “We went through four different creative directors, three cities and a long list of ideas that ended in the trash. At the end there was no CD, so we took on the role and finalised the project. It turned out to be one of the best campaigns we ever did.”
And when it comes to the collaboration they’re most proud of, Pablo believes that is every single one of them. “Even the things that don’t see the light of day,” he says. “I think it’s because we try to have fun while thinking and working on things, especially if it’s a very serious project.” On the flip side, Carlos points to their latest campaign for The Region of Valencia Tourism ‘Whoever has lived it knows well.’ Carlos explains that during the projects, they were told what characterises the Valencian Community by creating an AI that collected all the reviews about Valencia, classifying and filtering them so that Arkano, a famous Spanish rapper, could create the soundtrack of the project. “It was a simple idea, but very complex to put together,” adds Pablo. From figuring out how to create the working algorithm, to collecting all existing reviews of the region and then using the AI to select the most repeated words. “We had to oversee 21 days of shooting, voice recordings, prints and have the case study ready in record time for festivals. It was fun,” says Pablo. Although, Carlos points out that the one project that they might be most proud of is the one piled on their desk right now (which will have to remain a secret).
Looking at their idea development process, Pablo knows that usually that is a very personal matter. But, having someone you trust “with your dumbest ideas,” is liberating. “We can openly say to each other ‘bro, that’s shit’ without feeling bad.” Carlos agrees and adds that when you’re in a creative duo, every day in the industry is different. “In every idea you must force yourself to learn something more about the world around you and your creative partner. About technology, social habits, etc. You never stop learning,”
Their inspiration comes not only from the daily challenges posed by the ever-changing industry, but also from popular culture, both past and present. Carlos says, “The music, the tech, the talent that you find in social media are all incredible.”
From family picnics, dinners and parties, to spending their working life together, Pablo and Carlos have learned a bunch from each other. “What Pablo has taught me most,” says Carlos, “is that there are many ways to present the same idea. For me, he is a pathfinder. Being able to have such a broad vision is the best thing we have in our duo.” And Pablo on the other hand learns that details do matter to his creative partner. “That, and that if you are convinced that something will improve the idea you should fight for it, no matter what. I still need to learn how to make a proper paella though.”