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Dream Teams: GUT Miami’s ACDs Behind Google’s Super Bowl Spot



Miguel Cedeño and Ricardo Chuecos, GUT Miami’s associate creative directors discuss their creative partnership and recent award-winning work, writes LBB’s Ben Conway

Dream Teams: GUT Miami’s ACDs Behind Google’s Super Bowl Spot

Miguel Cedeño and Ricardo Chuecos, associate creative directors at GUT Miami were first paired together by the agency’s NA ECDs and global partners, Ricardo Casal and Juan Javier Peña Plaza. Seeing something in their personalities that would make them a good match, the leaders chose to form a partnership between the two newly hired creatives - and have been proven right, as the duo has “worked well ever since.”

Ricardo’s first impression of Miguel was that of a wild man - a mountain-climbing adventurer, but balanced out by his chill, “down-to-earth and approachable” side. “My first impression of him was pretty spot on,” says Ricardo. “I still think he’s kind of wild, but in his own good way.” On the other side, Miguel was initially impressed by their significant height difference - “I could be his keychain,” he jokes - but soon realised his new creative partner was “well-organised”, “passionate for his ideas” and someone “who does not procrastinate.”

“We’re similar but different in many ways,” says Ricardo. “And somehow we always balance each other out. Miguel tends to be calmer than me, which is good because I can get very passionate when it comes to ideas, so it’s a dynamic that helps our work a lot.” The pair don’t shy away from their differences, using disagreements and their contrasting work styles to challenge each other and solve problems together. Ricardo continues, “It all comes down to communication; we understand that each of us wants the best for the work, and we respect each other’s opinions.”

Miguel believes that the work can only get better when you brainstorm with a creative partner and apply alternative points of view, claiming that their collaborative success is, in part, due to their differences in hobbies and interests. “This allows us to approach each problem differently and helps us produce an exciting range of ideas for our clients,” he says. Although, the duo also have plenty of common ground and do enjoy spending time together outside of work - either grabbing a drink, working out or even cooking for each other. “It’s still to be decided who’s the best cook amongst us.”

Recently, the ACDs have received recognition and praise for their ‘Real Tone’ project for Google, featuring Lizzo, and several campaigns for chicken restaurant chain Popeyes. The brand mission of ‘Real Tone’ was to make Google’s camera products more functionally equitable - achieving greater ‘image equity’ by developing and promoting camera technology that is informed by and adapted to darker skin tones. “We love that we could work on a campaign that is all about celebrating individuality, helping people express their true selves and to be seen for who they are,” says Ricardo. “The icing on the cake was being able to communicate this important message to the country during the Super Bowl.” 

Miguel continues, “It was a very collaborative and rewarding process, especially being fans of the Google Pixel 6 and its Real Tone technology already. It was important for us to get everyone to realise why lacking image equity is such a challenge, and therefore, we needed to create awareness and spark conversation around the importance of image equity - an important goal for all of us.”

The ‘Real Tone’ campaign was the pair’s first Super Bowl spot and was internationally lauded, winning a D&AD Black Pencil and a Grand Prix at Cannes Lions - both of which being firsts for GUT Miami. “That campaign, among many others across the GUT Network, also helped us become the number two ‘Independent Network of the Year’ at Cannes,” says Ricardo. “We couldn’t have imagined in our wildest dreams that we would be part of all the projects we’ve done in our first year at GUT, so we’re ecstatic. As always, our priority when it comes to creating the work is to create stuff that can impact culture. Anything on top of that is icing on the cake.”

The ACDs also took on an exciting challenge for Popeye’s chicken nuggets launch, driving awareness of the new product and capitalising on the ‘chicken sandwich wars’ that had previously broken out between fast food chains. Miguel says, “‘Popeyes' nuggets are made with the same chicken they use for their chicken sandwich. And since the chicken sandwich had started the ‘Chicken Wars’, our nuggets were sure to end them because: ‘They Come in Piece. 8-Piece.’ Once we all aligned on that, the different executions started flowing. We included a song about peace, created a few TV spots and online videos, print ads, OOH, and a stunt. It turned out to be a really fun campaign, which was also honoured as ‘Best Product Launch of the Year’ in this year’s A-List awards, so we’re really proud of that.”

Another of their successful Popeyes campaigns came after a brainstorming session, where they challenged themselves to do something new and unique which would show off Popeyes’ craft. So, the ‘12-hour Marination’ campaign was born. Working with Daniel Jaramillo, “a really talented art director” also at GUT, the campaign used long exposure photography to show the lengthy process behind preparing Popeyes’ iconic chicken. Ricardo says, “When it came to executing it, this project was especially tough because we had to solve many technical issues in order to stay true to long-exposure photography, and we had many meetings with our photographer and clients, trying to figure out the best way to take the pictures without disrupting the daily activities of the Popeyes kitchen. In the end, it was all worth it because the pictures ended up looking beautiful, and we were able to create a truly unique campaign for Popeyes and its 12-hour marination process.”

Miguel adds, “Even once we found the right photographer, we still had to overcome many other obstacles… We had to pick the right day so that we didn’t add extra pressure to those working in the kitchen. Lighting also had to be carefully thought out because it impacts the final result when using long-exposure photography, so we went through many locations until we found the right one. The project taught us so much, and we're very proud of how the whole team worked together to make it happen. It takes a village to produce good work, you know?”

When looking for inspiration, the pair say that they absorb “everything and anything”, staying up to date with pop culture and taking in all that they read and see during the day. Ricardo says they also take on board the creativity of their “incredibly talented” colleagues and keep their eyes and ears open at all times because “you never really know when you'll be exposed to something that will inspire you to look at a brief differently.”

But there’s an ever-present source of inspiration for both Ricardo and Miguel that they can rely on for ingenuity and motivation at a moment's notice - and that’s each other. Whether working on the next project or spending some recreational time together after a busy week, the ACDs can turn to their partner and be reassured that they’re working alongside an equally driven and aspirational creative. The biggest lesson that they’ve shared together? To always stay hungry.

Miguel says, “We’re both immigrants and understand what it means to be working at GUT, so we’re constantly reminding each other not to take it for granted and to keep pushing to be the best we can be - all while having fun.”

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GUT, Wed, 14 Sep 2022 17:43:00 GMT