The powerhouse creative team Ana Paula Riotto Marques and Tomás Azoubel Lima have more than ten years experience working internationally at creative agencies in Berlin, Stockholm, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and most recently London. Both Ana and Tomás are married & hail from Brazil, and have extensive expertise working for some of the world’s biggest global brands including Coca-Cola, Netflix, Apple, Samsung and Johnnie Walker.
ANA> We met at Mutato WPP, in São Paulo, back in 2014. Tomás had just arrived from San Francisco, and I was back from Stockholm. The ECD needed a creative team ready to go for a three-month project in Rio de Janeiro and we fitted the bill.
TOMÁS> There was an agency party going on and Ana had somehow found a bottle of cachaça in a drawer somewhere. She offered me a glass and I said no – I still regret it! The next day, we were put together as a team.
ANA> It was a project at Coca-Cola’s headquarters in Rio de Janeiro. We flew from São Paulo and shared an Airbnb apartment while working away from home for the whole of summer. Back then, reactive social campaigns were the big thing, so we spent 100 days trying to come up with new creative takes on the Share a Coke campaign at a social media war room. It was intense, but left us the happiest memories.
TOMÁS> It was a real trial by fire – we went from not knowing each other to sharing a flat in a new city, working side-by-side inside the client’s office. We still think the agency was trying to set us up! I think we established a lot of our practice back then – quick prototyping, working alongside clients and strategists, and other things that we continued doing.
ANA> Luckily we’re very different. Tomás has a more scattergun approach to the creative process. He has an impressive repertoire and will put out a thousand interesting ideas in a snap. But he also gets bored fast, often before we can make sense of what we’re working on.
TOMÁS> Ana likes spending time looking for the best approach for an insight, shaping and developing it, while I jump into the next thing. She also pushes me to be less obvious as an art director, to look outside of design and photography clichés – her references are great and never obvious.
ANA> We have one big fight per project – so we better get it out of the way fast. There’s always this moment when a lot is still in the air and we feel the weight of deadlines approaching. It usually culminates in an argument. So far, we’ve managed to get past it by putting things under perspective – when we think about it, our work is pretty insignificant under the grand scheme of things.
TOM> Also I think part of the idea of being in a creative team is having conflicting viewpoints. I think understanding that we might not always agree is helpful and part of what makes us a good team. Embracing the disagreement as part of the process instead of trying to have the final word helps.
ANA> I’m still proud of our time working with Coca-Cola, from Share a Coke to the Olympic Games campaign in Rio. We were young(ish), working close to clients, mostly unsupervised, and there was a great deal of production involved. There was a lot that could go wrong, and I’m so glad it didn’t. It was a huge turning point in our lives/careers.
TOMÁS> I’m not sure if it counts as a project, but throughout our career we’ve moved countries and cities a few times. Starting fresh is always hard and I’m proud that we’ve been able to find a place for us without knowing anyone in the industry.
ANA> I find the creative process very stressful. You never know where you’re going, there’s so little you can count on. Collaborating with someone that you trust takes a lot of the pressure off. We don’t understand how teams don’t just get married all the time.
TOMÁS> It’s just good to know someone has your back. Everyone should get to work with a partner. It doesn’t matter if you’re a lawyer or a baker, there should always be someone else there. It’s hard to consistently stay motivated or excited – a good partner will bring you up when you’re down.
ANA> I like to see how people frame their ideas and thoughts – whether it’s on the movies, on podcasts, on Twitter or chatting on the bus. This is not to say we’re not inspired by other creatives – there’s an ever growing list of people we admire and campaigns we keep coming back to.
TOMÁS> Yeah, there are just way too many talented people out there. We love checking what Carly Ayres has been working on – she’s a designer and writer who always has innovative approaches to projects, and is super open about her process. We also always think about Ivan Cash’s projects – he’s an artist and filmmaker with very contemporary themes. There’s a lot of people! We like creatives who are kind and collaborative.
ANA> Other than working and living together, we love eating (out, as we’re both terrible cooks). We like to get to know different neighbourhoods or cities by going from one coffee shop to another, sometimes cycling or running. We have a few good friends in Brazil, and we’ve managed to make a handful in London, so we try to keep them close to the best of our social abilities.
TOMÁS> Yeah, I mean, we’re married. We try to travel as much as we can, we obsess over coffee, wine and food, we run and lift weights together – the only thing I can’t get Ana to do is join my Dungeons & Dragons group.
ANA> I can only speak for myself, but it’s a lot. I wish I had the headspace to take in the great amount of stuff that Tomás shares with everyone, every day – from Greek mythology to TikTok posts, what’s new on TV, or fashion references for my wardrobe. I’m so lucky to have him around.
TOMÁS> So much! I honestly couldn’t do this job without Ana. She taught me how to find an idea you have faith in, find its essence, and keep it somewhat intact through the long process of getting things done in advertising.