5 Minutes with… Joanna Monteiro
Joanna Monteiro has established a bit of a reputation as a creative powerhouse – two years after joining FCB Brasil she (and her fellow Creative VP Max Geraldo) led the agency to 17 Lions at Cannes in 2014, including the Mobile Grand Prix. But, as LBB’s Addison Capper finds, she very nearly ended up channeling her creativity through dance instead of advertising.
LBB> How did you first get into advertising? Was it something you were always interested in or was it a bit accidental?
JM> I’ve always liked watching commercials and when I was 11, I had a teacher at school, Miss Martina, who spent a semester talking to us about media and advertising. And that really got into my mind. I studied visual arts and administration while I considered working in advertising. I have always thought that exploring different fields would provide a richer background to work in advertising. Finally, I went to Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing (ESPM) for a degree in advertising and marketing.
LBB> What kind of child were you? Have you always been creative-minded?
JM> I don’t know if I've always been creative, but my parents certainly do (laughs). By the age of 6, I already made my own clothes, cutting fabrics and sheets, pasting cotton, buying tights and wearing these outfits to school. I’ve always wanted to be a hairdresser, a stewardess, a firefighter, a princess, an acrobat and a vet. After all, what girl didn’t? I danced until I was 10 or 11 – I wanted to be a ballerina – but when I was 16 an injury put me out.
LBB> You joined FCB Brazil in 2012. Just two years later, at Cannes 2014, your team won 17 Lions, including a Mobile Grand Prix. What were your goals for the agency when you joined and how did you go about implementing them?
JM> The project designed by Aurélio Lopes, President, and Pedro Cruz, COO, was made to really integrate the entire agency by bringing A-list talent into each discipline. We have a customer service VP, Mauro Silveira, a media VP, Ugadin, a planning VP, Rapha Baretto, and now two creative VPs, Max Geraldo and myself. We all work in unison with the agency’s employees (over 300 of them) to improve our creative product and carry on being the best creative partner to our clients, as well as developing effective campaigns by being a great place to work. In the age of sharing and dialogue, we want to have an increasingly collaborative culture that grows more powerful every time we succeed at producing more relevant and creative work for our clients.
Since we started all together, we’ve overcome challenges and I have the feeling we’re on the right track with a lot still to achieve. Communication is increasingly commoditized. It is essential to ensure that our work catches people’s eyes way before the jurors’ eyes at the award shows. The good thing is that awards reflect the work that is spoken about, shared, known and respected by the consumer. And, it is essential to keep looking for the best criteria, the best curatorship and the best brand idea. We can never forget that the idea is always the core of everything.
LBB> With things like virtual reality and 3D printing, innovation is hot in adland right now. How do you feel Brazil faring when it comes to creative tech?
JM> That’s how things work around here: first the idea, then we go after technology. The beauty of being part of an increasingly connected world is that you can easily work with China, Silicon Valley, small technology labs and so on.
LBB> How well is the Brazilian ad industry integrating new technology into advertising? What could it do to improve?
JM> In Brazil, TV still dominates the market and you still cannot do without it. However, clients now understand the opportunities social media and technology offer. These can allow clients to strengthen dialogue between the brand and consumers. These conversations bring together the consumer and brand, and offer many new experiences. This creates a stronger relationship with the consumer. Not to mention Big Data, which will also help.
The creative team (André Bittar, Victor Bustani, Raphú Oliveira) are not parents yet, but they certainly were children. Who among us has never been lost from our parents? This insight was strong, so Max and I detected it right away when they presented the idea. From then on it was necessary to put together an entire team, our digital and technology experts, in order to find the best technology to make this idea fly. At first, we decided on the Bluetooth technology that works on mobiles with iOS and Android systems. Then we used a small chip that is built into the magazine ad, so one just needs to detach this water-resistant paper bracelet from the ad and put it on a child’s wrist. The next step was to download NIVEA’s app and sync the bracelet with it. Then, you were good to go.
LBB> Gender bias is still a big issue in advertising and there still aren’t lots of female creative heads. Cannes Lions has just launched the Glass Lion too - I’m really wondering what your thoughts are on that? Is it a step in the right direction?
JM> I think the world has changed and so has our industry. In the old days, in order to be competitive at an agency, you had to work overnight, on weekends; we had no life. I think that belongs in the past. Everyone has become more professional. Handing in good work and managing time better. Nowadays, the men on every team also want to pick up children from school, have dinner at home and enjoy their weekend.
The work model of today has also become more interesting for women. And it needs to be. The market depends on both men and women. I think the Glass Lion will help draw attention to the importance of this balance.
LBB> What still needs to be done to bridge the gender gap?
JM> We can work on bridging the gender gap and achieving full equality between genders by being aware that there is still a long way to go.
LBB> How can we encourage more and more women into creative? Do you worry about this subject when managing your team? If so, what is it?
JM> I think that women have to be recognized as much as men. That doesn’t happen all the time. I’m very happy to mentor women who would like to become creative and enter the advertising industry and to share more of my experience. However, I don’t believe in jobs based on gender; for me, it is most important to have the right team.
LBB> Brazil has just hosted the World Cup and soon is going to host the Olympic games. How big are these opportunities for brands and agencies in Brazil? What has been learned from the World Cup experience that could be used in order to take full advantage of the Olympics?
JM> These events move the market and even those who are not sponsors can benefit from them. I’ve seen several brands with great ideas stand out more than sponsors.
LBB> And Brazil is going through economic hardship and a serious water crisis. How is this affecting life in the country? What can the advertising industry be doing to help?
JM> All great problems could bring great opportunities. Our job is to change behaviors – thinking this way, all the problems in Brazil could become a beautiful brief.
LBB> What do you like to get up to outside of work to keep your creative energy flowing?
JM> Travel, travel and travel.