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DAVID’s Pancho Cassis on the Fresh, Resourceful and Non-traditional Spanish Thinking That Can Influence Pop Culture

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The agency’s global chief creative officer tells LBB why he thinks great talent is returning to the Spanish scene, and the magic of working with smaller teams and agencies

DAVID’s Pancho Cassis on the Fresh, Resourceful and Non-traditional Spanish Thinking That Can Influence Pop Culture

Nouri Films, the Barcelona-based production and service company, has partnered with Little Black Book to sponsor the site’s Spanish Edition. As part of that, over the upcoming months we will be spending time with some of the most exciting creative talent the country has to offer.

Today, we speak with DAVID’s  global chief creative officer, Pacho Cassis who joined the company from LOLA MullenLowe in 2019.  In this conversation, Pancho tells LBB how his hunger early on helped set him up to win a gold at Cannes Lions when he was just 22, and why he thinks great talent is returning to the “resourceful” Spanish advertising scene.


LBB> How would you describe the Spanish advertising scene? 

Pancho Cassis> I think it’s really coming back. It was super strong in the beginning of the 2000s, and then it’s been kind of on and off. We had three consecutive crises, which didn’t help as the economy was hit and most of the talent started going abroad. 

I think another thing is that the Spanish advertising scene was super close to the market. There were not so many agencies exporting ideas, so I think that the work I did, with LOLA before and DAVID now, is helping other agencies realise that they can sell their products from here to clients. 

In three words I’d say it's fresh, resourceful, and non-traditional. 


LBB> Right now, you’re based in Madrid with DAVID which has offices in the US. Have you noticed a difference in the way that the US approaches creativity to how Spain does?

Pancho> I actually haven’t - I think that  good ideas work the same wherever you are. What I see as differences is really the scale, the size of it all. In Spain, we’ve had to do more or less everything ourselves. Whereas in the US, there are lots of possibilities with endless production companies, editors, photographers and so on. Because of the size of the market, you can tap into those talents because it’s bigger. So it kind of works a bit differently in that sense. 


LBB> Let’s talk about your own relationship with Spain. What has your journey been?

Pancho> I’m from Chile, and when I was a student I won the Young Gun in Australia. The prize was paid training at any agency in the world, and I chose Spain. That year, the competition was sponsored by Leo Burnett, and I didn’t want to go to Chicago because I knew there were going to be at least 1500 people and I could go unnoticed. Their other two agencies doing really well were in Oslo and Madrid, and I thought, you know what: I know the language, I’m a huge football fan, so let’s go there. 

And when you come to Spain, you realise there’s no better place in the world. So I stayed. 


LBB> Do you think it’s important then for early career creatives to be in smaller teams or smaller agencies to stand out? 

Pancho> I’ve been in bigger agencies, and smaller ones too, and honestly, I feel more comfortable with the small ones. I think that’s in math, right? The amount of influence you can have in a team of 200 is not the same you can have in a team of 30. For me, the perfect size is when you know everyone by their name, and that for example, one guy had a problem with his girlfriend, or another is moving in with a new roommate, and so on. 

I think there's a magic in knowing people and working close to them, and that’s what I’m finding at DAVID. 


LBB> We’ve spoken a little about awards, and you’ve won 79 Cannes Lions among other awards. What impact does this have on your work? Does it have any influence? 

Pancho> No, actually.  With  awards, when you take them the right way, they need to be the consequences of something . They're not the goal. And I think that in your career, they play different roles. At the beginning, they help you get noticed, get the reprise, get a salary raise and everything. But then I honestly think they're a great new business tool, because clients realise more and more that festivals like Cannes are the place where they can go shopping and find out which agencies are doing what type of work.

In that sense, it’s interesting. And I’ve been super lucky. I won my first Gold Cannes Lions at 22 as a trainee. And so when I moved to Spain, and in my first three years, I won three consecutive golds working alone as I didn’t have a partner then. In the beginning it was great, but also a responsibility. 

I’d started winning a lot of awards so then wanted to keep winning, but also wanted to focus on tough work. So I did a lot of day-to-day work, I wanted to prove I could do the more traditional, perhaps boring, work while keeping up with the creative stuff. 

I feel super lucky because I've always had great teammates and great teams that were as hungry as me to do good work. And I'm always just trying to make their lives easier by selling the ideas, making them happy, getting the money and getting the busy director sitting with me. 


LBB> Your work with Burger King on their 'Moldy Whopper' campaign hit the headlines last year. How do you come up with an idea like that?

Pancho> With Burger King, there’s not too much convincing to do. They’re a client that really understands the power of an idea and creativity. About how the world works and how you need to create stuff that turns into pop culture. 

It wasn’t a hard sell as we didn’t want to show something appetising; we wanted to make a point. That point is that the Whopper is now 100% free of anything artificial. 

One of the keys things with it was spending a couple of months getting the mould right so we could make the point - it’s disgusting, but it’s also beautiful. The pictures are amazing: the combination of colours, textures... you can see the beauty in that. 

We were tempted to do a side by side with another brand’s offering, but then we decided to let it speak for itself. And people’s minds will immediately draw comparisons, or think to the scene in 'Supersize Me,' and other pop culture moments. 


LBB> It’s not been an easy 18 months. I’d like to ask what your time has been like so far at DAVID since joining in 2019, what are some things you’ve particularly enjoyed?

Pancho>I’ve enjoyed everything. When I decided to leave LOLA we were the ninth top agency in the world, we were doing really well. But I wanted to try something smaller where I could have more influence. 

I opened up my own shop, and then a couple of months later Fernando Mosa, who is my partner at DAVID now, reached out and told me what he wanted to do with this new face of DAVID. It felt super natural for us to join forces. 

I thought it could be a huge challenge for me, because these guys had done such stunning work in the last seven years - I knew we’d need to keep that up, and thank god we did. A big surprise when I got there was that the culture was super similar to LOLA: ideas first. We don’t do new business, we do great work that will bring new business and we don’t worry about that money. Because if you do great work, the moment will come. 


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Nouri Films, Thu, 23 Sep 2021 15:54:41 GMT