Bruno Nakano’s first love as a kid wasn’t advertising. It was music. It’s a shame, then, that he wasn’t quite Johnny Ramone on the guitar. The Leo Burnett Sydney art director and designer was kicked out of a grunge punk band in his youth and ran a ‘terrible’ music website. But, despite its flaws, the website made him a few bucks in ad revenue – and there was also a contract with a local shop that saw him paid in rock t-shirts. And from there his love of adland was born. Just as well, too, because he’s freakin’ awesome at it. His ‘Explain it to him with football’ campaign for Líbero magazine, which he created when still at Lola Madrid, is an LBB favourite of the past year. He’s also just finished up his first big job in Sydney - the huge, integrated Samsung S-Drive project that encourages and rewards safe driving. LBB’s Addison Capper talked music, design, mom’s cooking, and more with Bruno.
LBB> You grew up in both Mexico and Brazil, and have since worked in Spain and Australia. What benefits do you feel your global perspective brings to your role at Leo Burnett?
BN> I love the feeling of being in a totally unfamiliar place and to stay as far away as possible from my comfort zone. The best way to develop new perspectives, attitudes, and skills is by living abroad. But more than that, when we have a global-mindedness we start realising that no matter where we are, people have a similar sense of humour, dreams and fears. And that avoids creating a plain message in advertising.
LBB> How long have you been at the agency and what is your role?
BN> It´s been a year since I first started at Leo's and I’m trying everyday to make something beautiful with an awesome insight.
LBB> How did you end up in advertising?
BN> When I was a teenager I had a website about music. The website was terrible but I was lucky enough to have made a few bucks with advertising and a media contract with a local rock t-shirt shop. They paid me in t-shirts and that, to me, was amazing. One thing led to another and here I am.
LBB> ‘Explain it to him with football’ for Líbero magazine is one of our favourite campaigns of the past year - it’s funny, but scarily real at the same time! What were the insights that drove that idea and is comedy a genre you enjoy exploring?
BN> The insight came from the magazine itself. When Nico [Gómez Cal, copywriter] and I started thinking about Líbero, we realised that the magazine is not a typical Neanderthal football magazine, but the only one that talks about different stuff like fashion and culture. The best way to catch people's attention is through a smile, and that's what I try to do through my work - Líbero included.
LBB> A lot of your work seems to be focused around music (Monkey Week Indie Music Fest, Rolling Stones and some bands). What kind of role does music play in your life generally and creatively?
BN> When I was a teenager I was kicked out of a grunge punk rock band and since then I’ve felt really jealous of all the talented people who can play any instrument. Making some advertising/design work for bands and music festivals is my payback. Also, I do have to thank my former creative director Francisco Cassis, who always encouraged my creative eccentricities.
LBB> Looking at your print work and things like the Monkey Week beer project, design also appears be a process you enjoy and see as important. Why so?
BN> Chacho Puebla [Lola/Lowe & Partners ECD] once said in one of his talks at the agency, “the best way to do great work is to enjoy what you are doing”. And I do agree with that.
LBB> Which other pieces of work that you’ve been involved in recently have you particularly enjoyed and why?
BN> Recently I was involved with the design of the S-Drive project for Samsung. S-Drive was an enormous integrated campaign that encouraged young drivers to drive safe. It was a great learning experience and my first big job at Leo Sydney.
LBB> If you weren't in advertising, what would you be doing?
BN> I think I would be an architect like my father.
LBB> What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
BN> Sleep. I’m really good at it.
LBB> What does the rest of 2014 hold for you?
BN> I’m looking forward to going on vacation. I can’t wait to see my mom and eat some Brazilian dishes!