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Luis González: “Advertising Is Cooler Than Ever… Someone Needs to Scream About It”


McCann Mexico’s CCO on co-leading the region’s Creative Leadership Council, repeating 2022’s awards success and fostering young talent, writes LBB’s Ben Conway

Luis González: “Advertising Is Cooler Than Ever… Someone Needs to Scream About It”

After seven years at the company, where he has been VP at Commonwealth//McCann and helped to lead the data and innovation-focused unit, MRM, Luis ‘Tim’ González recently became chief creative officer at McCann Worldgroup Mexico. In 2022, he managed the Mexican agency to reach its best awards season ever, achieving 27 awards from nine festivals both domestically and internationally.

In October, Luis also became co-president for the LATAM region of McCann’s Creative Leadership Council, where his focus has been on promoting integration across the networks Latin American agencies, alongside McCann Colombia’s CCO, Diana Triana. Throughout his career, he has collaborated with major global, regional, and local brands, including Coca-Cola, Unilever, Nestlé, P&G, IKEA and General Motors. To this, he adds honours at Cannes Lions, The Creative Circle and the Clio, Effie, and Gerety awards, among other festivals like The One Show and Ojo de Iberoamérica, where he has also been a jury member.

Speaking to LBB’s Ben Conway, he discusses how he is navigating his new regional creative leadership role, how he plans on adding to McCann Mexico’s groundbreaking 2022 success this year, and how the industry has changed the way it approaches young creatives now that other industries are having their moments in the spotlight.

LBB> How was 2022 for you personally, and for McCann Worldgroup Mexico? 

Luis> The agency did great during 2022. All of our business units exceeded expectations and we had the most successful year regarding recognitions and creative awards - we won at the Effies for the seventh time in a row. We also won and retained business, and invited new talent that has been making amazing work. We also won our first awards for IKEA at MRM, won at ASPID, the most important pharma festival with Sanofi, and did great with Chevrolet in several festivals with three different campaigns.

Personally, it was interesting voting at El Ojo de Iberoamérica and EFFIE LATAM. Two very different festivals, but with huge recognition. I was also named co-president of our most important creative engine in the network, our ‘Creative Leadership Council’ for the LATAM region. [It’s] a great honour and a huge responsibility that I happily share with Diana Triana, McCann Colombia’s creative lead.

LBB> You’ve been in that role as co-president of the Creative Leadership Council for McCann Worldgroup Latin America for a few months now – how has it been?

Luis> It's been a great challenge, but fun as well. Our meeting in Buenos Aires with all the creative leads from LATAM a couple of months ago was amazing. We have true [awards] winner contenders from at least 10 markets. We do no less than eight calls a week with all our senior colleagues from LATAM to make sure progress is being made in the ideas, and we’re always trying to help in any way the network can to make things happen. Diana and I complement each other really well and the support we get from amazing people like Josafat Solis, our planning leader, as well as from our Hispanic America managing director, Luis Machorro, is incomparable. It shows the network’s true intention of believing in creativity as its main source of growth.

LBB> Last year was the company’s best year for creative awards – gaining 27 recognitions internationally. What does this mean to you? And how will you be looking to improve on that again this year?

Luis> We won't focus on awards. We love them and we cherish them, but they need to come as a consequence of a great response to our brand’s needs. We'll face each brief we get in the most strategic, serious and creative way we can and if that turns into an award, we'll be extra happy. Real work always, no matter what. We are not interested in lying to ourselves. We don’t need to.

LBB> You’ve said that you want to generate “greater mysticism and personality” in the company – how will you achieve this? 

Luis> For a long time, the agency was divided in two. That worked and gave us a lot of satisfaction but it also softened the chemistry and a sense of belonging within the group. Now, there is an opportunity for 70 great creatives in the agency to join forces towards the same goals. To feel part of something big and important.

LBB> What does the Mexican industry look like right now? What are some of the trends – socially, economically or otherwise – that are affecting life in the country and the business in the industry? 

Luis> It is still a very polarised country regarding politics. Nevertheless, Mexico is in better shape economically than in past years. Brand confidence is recovering and they are investing. I believe this year we’ll see a greater emphasis on personal and interactive content. Influencer marketing keeps growing out of control, like it or not, and we need to capitalise on it and truly embrace this reality. Mexico is also still shy regarding AI – we need to turn it into a great opportunity for our brands.

LBB> In 2021, you spoke to us and said: “Our job is to make advertisement sexier for young talent.”  Is this still an issue? How have you seen the effects of the talent crunch? 

Luis> It's a tough job, and we all know it. Advertisement is no longer the coolest job in the world. Everyone used to be fans of advertising but we can no longer ask young talent during an interview what their favourite ad campaign is. They will laugh at you! We usually approach them through their real interests and their true abilities, and make it the other way around – telling them about great ideas within Twitch or the Metaverse, sharing with them campaigns that used big data or deepfake technology. Or taking them through sustainable and ethical campaigns and making them aware of what their talent can bring to the table to amplify diversity and inclusion. 

Advertisement is more fun, diverse, unique, and cooler than ever… someone needs to make a great campaign to scream about it. McCann Mexico will start working on it tomorrow morning LOL.

LBB> Outside of work, what do you do to decompress or stay fresh? What is it that drives and motivates you in work and in your life?

Luis> Although TikTok has become its biggest opponent, I still enjoy reading a lot. It is still one of the few things that allow you to imagine – to truly ‘see’ things with your own mind. Can you believe that?

I loved being able to go back to the movie theatres after covid; a dark room and a big screen. It's been basically the same concept for over a hundred years. And I'm picking up my tennis racquet after a long time too. Even though I'm rusty as hell, tennis is a sport I enjoy a lot - watching it and practising it. I'm also a big fan of several podcasts and I have been thinking about doing one with a friend, but our first rehearsal was a disaster. Like everything that’s beautiful, it is never as easy as it seems. 

Mexico City nowadays has become an amazing cultural and diverse city. There is always something cool or different to appreciate, see or take part in. Come to the city, I promise that you'll have a great time!

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McCann LATAM, Tue, 28 Feb 2023 15:39:00 GMT