Joanna Monteiro, chief creative officer of FCB Brasil, speaks to Latin Spots about the agency and women in advertising.
Joanna Monteiro: Less Titles, More Work
In 2014, she appeared at the top of the ranking of the most creative women in the world, compiled by the American publication Business Insider. “It’s not about titles, it is love of the profession,” she says. Through delivery and love of advertising Joanna helped win the war of what it means to be a successful woman in the closed circle of creative executives. Talent and brilliance was already noticed in her eyes when she embarked on a mission commissioned by Nizan Guanaes to make the newly founded agency produce hits. “My bosses in Africa had the intelligence to protect all the concessions needed. They were sensitive enough to know that my daughter would grow and would continue with them,” she recalls. FCB found Joanna in 2012 and she joined as a creative talent and woman capable of withstanding the pressures to become even heavier in this capacity as mother. Today as the agency grows, CCO Joanna has a clear vision of what has worked and what you want to keep learning. In November she served as President of the Jury of El Ojo Interactive, her first experience in that category. LatinSpots interviewed Joanna Monteiro, who spoke about the latest changes at FCB, the new generations and the problems of creative women in advertising.
FCB Brazil launched in 2013, had the significant participation of professionals like Max Geraldo and Pedro Gravena, which are no longer at the agency. How do you continue to maintain the creative level in a scenario of constant changes in the leaderships of the agencies?
It’s funny how people forget that advertising agencies are like living organisms and changing. Change is good. The great thing about working in advertising is that you work with people, and I really like the people. Keep in touch with all the guys that went through my professional life because, in addition to admiring their work, I love them all. I usually compare creative with children. Everyone wants well behaved children, but to be creative; they are proving all, but they do not hurt or talk all the time, but they have an opinion. The most creative types are fickle, and it is good that it be so.When I entered this project, I brought Max Geraldo, current SVP executive creative director of FCB Chicago, he is very different from me. I could have brought in a lower position, but decided that we should share the same position with different characteristics. Just now we brought Fábio Simões, as executive creative director, who is not in the same hierarchy as mine because I discovered that to put in the same hierarchy is good, but it’s hard to make it work fully in the way I call work.
How is Fábio to work with?
Fábio completes my other side. He is a very good designer, a super prize, which has much more of digital skills that I have and I ever had here. Pedro Gravena, former FCB-er and current Head of Innovation + Digital Y & R Brazil is a kind of innovator and Marcio Bueno who is Head of Digital Production, a kind of curator of innovation, with an incredible job, strategic thinking. The truth is, if I could I would bring them all back.
What responses have you had from customers?
The Customer profile has changed, we made a big change before bringing Fábio in. For example, we cater to some accounts that have a digital profile and serve customers who, in fact, are integrated and not just digital. This separation is rare. The good thing is to have everything integrated as possible, and that changes the team also. We need to have a closeness with the client to make this account integrated. I appreciate the horizontality, which is to cut the legs of autonomy without anyone. Diversity while giving work to an account remains. We also had the goal of bringing a little more art direction to the agency. Art direction today, when we talk about design, is gaining a tremendous space. The ways of connecting are increasingly visual and design, in many cases, is the product itself. We brought a large team of creative directors in who are fairly new and are very happy. The client needs to understand that at least part of all his creative intelligence, positioning and strategy should be a single agency because you need to have your hand on the pulse of all the different platforms, which are we increasingly doing.
And marketing managers understand?
There several customers who want it today, that seems more profitable often and smarter because there is more control. What not to put all eggs in one basket is beginning, slowly, to change. Obviously in companies that are much larger it is more difficult because they often are departmentalized even internally. Today we have two new accounts that are already fully integrated, which are Brastemp and Consul. We are at a very interesting time we change not only the creation, but other areas as well. We had, unfortunately, the death of our VP of Auditors, Mauro Silveira, who was a super partner of mine since I arrived. Now we divide the Directorate of Accounts between two professionals, Cristiane Pereira and Elton Longhi. We also did a renovation in the planning department with Marcia Neri replacing Raphael Barreto. We put together a very good team, in a difficult year, we did not lose any account, with many people nipping table to survive.
More creative women
At the last Festival of Creation Club, you talked about the need to analyze the problem of lack of creative women looking to universities. Do you think the problem is in the training?
While I have been trying to draw attention to understanding within each group why, in fact, we are so few. The problem starts long before the agencies and is not a virtuous circle. Communication in schools is more or less the same amount of men and women, but when it came time to choose between creation or any other area there is a loss of creation. In the Miami Ad School, for example, we are talking about only 30% of women. To them they are not encouraged to go to the creation, which I find appalling.
Who are those who do not incentivize?
The problem is reflected, for example, the number of teachers and referents of men. One of the most difficult characteristics of creation are the schedules. Nobody wants to work 12 or 14 hours a day. That has to be rethought in the future so that we have more women in creation. You have to define strategies for home office, will have to be much more technical in what is asked and delivery, and less in relation to fixed schedules. It must be, and is being more and more about work. That is the best way for us to be respected and differentiated, really. The woman, unlike man, is a little used and that is one of the biggest complaints I hear from all the girls, since very girls, with the history of coffee with milk. The guy who listens to you, but turns to order a coffee or talk about another topic.
Isn’t you feel that, somehow, is breaking that barrier imposed on women in creation?
Yes, creation is also changing through men, because men did not want those heavy routines schedules. And depending on how the environment for men is created, it is provided or the presence of women in creating difficult. If they are allowed to guys who are working on creating, they have the weekend with their wives, go to the doctor with your kids or dinner with their girlfriends, all that help more women.
In Journalism times are also very strict, however the lack of women is not seen in the profession …
My sister is a journalist, and is different. Freedom of the journalist is much larger than the advertiser.
In what sense?
The Journalists, often working until dawn, it is true, but are allowed to reach the writing after noon, have at least one free morning. There is another detail: in journalism created something that should be a learning experience for our industry, which is independence in relation to charges. One moment you’re as editorial director, later, as a reporter, then write a book and nothing decreases, are only activities, moments of the profession. Professional advertising, however, clings to this nonsense of charge. Because it really should be working, how much charging and what is my project, what is what I will do, what is the challenge. It should be about it, always. Because the journalist out there, going to write a book.Professional advertising after exiting any other project, for whatever reason, when he returns and finds no more work because it did not pursue a career. What nonsense is that of having to follow a career? Should be able to freely leave and do something else, then come back. At the time a huge number of directors was created, but that number was reduced to the crisis. And what about those directors? Or they feel diminished and will charge much less working as editors, which should not happen, or are out of work, and fall. They are ascending, ascending, rising and falling in an hour, and no longer have to go. It is a waste of talented professionals who do not return because the profession is nested publicist.