Juan Carlos Ortiz on DDB Latina’s Quest for Creative Success

DDB Latina President & CEO shared how consistency, care and craft have underpinned the system that led to DDB Latina’s D&AD and Cannes success this year with Little Black Book’s Laura Swinton.

“I found a quote in a book from Bill Bernbach saying that you can never put an idea into numbers because emotions cannot be numbers. And it was brilliant. I realised that I could not do a scale from one to ten. That’s why we build this idea, this emotional concept of a simple idea that exists on three levels: ‘Bye, Bye Baby’, ‘Maybe Baby’, and ‘Bullseye’,” explains Juan Carlos. “It’s simple, emotional, human and it’s open for debate.”

According to this schema, ‘Bye, Bye Babies’ are ideas that don’t have the quality or potential to be different or breakthrough projects and so not worth expending regional resources on. ‘Maybe, Babies’ have potential but are in need of development – the idea needs to be twisted and pushed harder, production and execution needs more flair and craft. Comments and suggestions are taken back to the team on the ground. And then there are the ‘Bullseyes’. “That’s when we see an idea that is going to win. That’s an idea that’s going to bring us reputation and be super successful for our client,” explains Juan Carlos.

Every year, each office’s CEO and CCO commit to reaching a certain number of ‘Bullseyes’, and it’s built into their targets and bonus systems. With ten years’ of data gathered under this system, Juan Carlos can confidently say that with campaigns that have unanimously been declared a ‘Bullseye’, there’s a 95% chance it will take at least a silver or gold at Cannes.

So what does it take to push a ‘Maybe, Baby’ to a ‘Bullseye’? “It takes consistency. Persistence. Go, rework, rethink and try to find different angles on the idea. Find new ways to produce it. It’s always 50% idea, 50% production,” says Juan Carlos.

It also takes a certain mentality. Confidence is key to creativity, but arrogance can shut you off to improvement. All of the leaders that Juan Carlos has gathered around the region also buy into this collective push – there’s no space for politics in the ‘Bullseye’ system. But it this took time to put in place.

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