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Day in the Life of... Alex Okada

Associations, Award Shows and Festivals
London, UK
Next up in a new series from the Creative Circle, Alex Okada gives us a glimpse into his role as Global Creative Director for Omo/Persil/Breeze Unilever at MullenLowe
Day in the Life of… is a new series from the Creative Circle, celebrating and championing the diversity of talent across Britain’s creative community. Encompassing creatives from all areas of the advertising and creative spectrum, each edition will focus on an individual and their role within our exciting community.   

Next up is Alex Okada, who gives us a glimpse into his role as 
Global Creative Director for Omo/Persil/Breeze Unilever at MullenLowe
 and reveals why he needs to keep ‘The Crazy Monkey’ happy…

My role…

I’m a Global Creative Director for OMO, Persil, Breeze and all Unilever's brands that are part of the ‘Dirt is Good’ platform at MullenLowe London. Basically, I’m responsible for all creative decisions about those brands and most recently I’m advising our clients in other areas beyond the most ‘traditional’ advertising.
How I got here…

I started in Brazil, my home country. I have a bachelor's degree in Communication and Advertising and did internships in FCB and DM9/DDB. My first job was in Y&R and after that I moved to Leo Burnett where I did my first big campaign. It was for Fiat – ‘Time to change your concepts’ and it made the brand number one in that market. After working in Brazil for some years, I accepted a role as ECD in Leo Burnett Lisbon. We became one of the best offices in the network, which opened up an opportunity for me go to Miami as Regional Creative Director for Latin America. After that, I returned to Brazil to be ECD in McCann. From there, I went to Spain as ECD in Publicis, just before moving to London to join Lowe.
My typical day…

First thing in my day is to deal with the other side of the world. We have a hub in Singapore and due to time differences my priority is to check things with them first, even before I reach our office. My typical day involves lots of meetings, both internally and with clients. Another part of my time goes to managing projects from other markets, like Brazil. But I always have time reserved to think and work as a creative with the teams. For me, it’s fundamental to be really close to the work and with the people. I’m very much hands on and recently we are working for a follow up to our ‘Free the Kids’ campaign.

Hardest part of my job…

The hardest part of my job is the length of time of our projects. Big projects for big brands take lots of time, sometimes too much. The time and energy spent with research is especially painful. I respect a lot of people from research but I¹m the first to stand up to say that our industry is becoming research addicted. The solution is keeping a good mood. So I nicknamed the research as “The Crazy Monkey”. I tell my team and my clients that sometimes we need to sacrifice some virgin ideas to please The Crazy Monkey.
What I enjoy the most about my work…

Everything. Especially what’s coming next.
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