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Dream Teams: The Creative (and Romantic) Partnership of Hector Pereiro and Isabel Albarran



The hybrid creative duo at Iris speaks to LBB’s Zoe Antonov about how their proactive attitude led them from Spain to England, their relationship outside of work and the flexibility of having a work partner

Dream Teams: The Creative (and Romantic) Partnership of Hector Pereiro and Isabel Albarran

Isabel Rodriguez Albarran, a 26-year-old creative, pixel artist and bag designer from the south of Spain and Hector Ojea Pereiro, from the north of Spain, Galicia, are a duo of hybrid creative partners at Iris. “We are also partner partners,” adds Hector. 

With their first meeting at university, eight years ago, where they studied Advertising in Seville, they started working together with a couple of their friends on submitting work to every possible student awards show they could get their hands on. “We both felt like uni wasn’t enough for us,” says Isabel. “We knew we wanted to become creatives and to make stuff. So we started participating in competitions for young creatives, attending advertising festivals as volunteers, cracking different projects.” 

The duo’s proactivity in their university years, where they actually ended up winning a few of those competitions that they applied to, eventually led them to London. At the time, neither of them was aware that the industry almost exclusively works with teams, but soon after they started receiving the question ‘Do you have a partner?’ after every book crit, they got the memo. “So that’s how we decided to team up and it has worked really well for the past three and a half years,” says Hector. 

Upon their first meeting at university, Isabel admits she was intrigued by Hector’s constant displays of curiosity in class. “I thought ‘Who’s that guy?!’ To me at the time he was the guy with a weird accent who was always asking questions and starting debates in class.” Hector, on the other hand, believes that the foundations they laid at the beginning of their friendship are invaluable to their working style today. “We knew each other really well before starting to work together, and I feel it’s very important having a creative partner that you know well and can be friends with. I can't imagine working full time with someone I don’t like,” he explains.

During the time when Hector and Isabel were vigorously applying for volunteering jobs and award shows, they made their first project together for The Club de Creativos Tour. This was a student award in Spain that “gave you the chance to tour around different agencies in Madrid and work on a brief with each one of them,” explains Hector. At the time, to reach the six agencies in Madrid, the duo had to travel around six and a half hours on the night bus every Tuesday, spending a couple of days in Madrid presenting ideas and then returning to Seville on another night. “Every week. For three months. That’s a lot,” says Isabel. Although an undoubtedly strenuous three months, the experience was worthwhile in the end. Not only did it show both of them each other’s seriousness and dedication, but it also won them two briefs at FCB - one for Nivea and one for UNHCR - both of which the duo completely rewrote, while sitting at a cafe in Madrid one early morning after their night journey. 

From those early days at university, to today at Iris, the creative duo still manages to balance the scale on both ends through their semi-contrasting personalities. For Hector, what works well is that they both have different interests and things they fill their free time with, but it all comes together with their overlapping taste for creativity. “There’s a middle ground between us, but we’re also able to each bring a different perspective to the work.” Isabel agrees - “I’d say our personalities complement each other pretty well. Hector is really chill. Like in a good way. He barely gets stressed or nervous about anything, which is great for me because I tend to overthink everything.” Inevitably, there are also things they find frustrating in each other, as it happens in every partnership, but Hector feels on that front they have a bit of an advantage. “We got past most of the things that could frustrate us about each other as a couple and had an easier road as a creative team.”

This parallel between being a creative duo and also duo outside of work gives a new taste to the dream team dynamic, especially when it comes to creative disagreement. When it comes to resolving them, Hector explains that there is no ‘one fits all’ method, but respect always has to be involved. “We put a lot of emotion in everything we do,” adds Isabel. “That includes disagreement, of course. But we know each other very well and that allows us to say how we really feel about something, without fear of hurting each other’s feelings. It’s easier to find a middle ground when you can talk to each other without a filter.”

When it comes to the upsides of being part of a creative duo, they are, as always, endless. “The best thing is the flexibility it gives you,” starts Hector. “If one of us is not feeling good or needs to do something, the other can take care of it. When we talk about the work, it’s always great to have different perspectives on ideas. Creativity is so subjective, so having two opinions on an idea can make it bulletproof. And it really helps unearth ideas at the start of a brief.” One of the best things for Isabel is knowing that she will never be alone - “It’s quite cool having that unspoken understanding with someone who’s going through the same as you and that you know you can rely on them.”

Their most recent projects where all of those benefits of being in a duo came into play to resolve creative challenges were the latest Nectar brand campaign, ‘Nectar Doppleganger’ and their Straight 8 film, ‘Commercial Break’, which picked up Silver at the Cannes Straight 8 premiere. “Both of these projects had the shoot day less than one week apart from each other and both were really hands-on with crazy timings,” explains Hector. “So, on that week of shootings we had to split our efforts and each of us took care of one of the projects. We still checked in with each other to make sure the other one was happy, but it still required trust to the max and it worked out really well.” Having to divide and conquer between two projects proved to be a challenge only a creative duo of Hector and Isabel’s calibre can take on, but this is just a fraction of the creative power radiating from these two.

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Iris, Wed, 24 Aug 2022 10:55:05 GMT