Ecuadorian Digital Creative Director talks changing career paths, his favourite LATAM projects and why ultimately ideas are more important than formats
As a teen, Marco Tapia and his parents thought he’d become a computer engineer. As it turned out, the path he found himself on as a computing graduate left him feeling unfulfilled. He wanted work with more meaning. His search for something greater took him to Argentina where he started a course in advertising and where his adventure in adland began.
Marco is now a Digital Creative Director at Commonwealth McCann Ecuador, a position he’s had for nearly two years. At the 2017 Condor De Oreo Awards, Commonwealth McCann Ecuador won nine awards, and his creative direction for their Chevrolet campaigns must have played a pivotal role in making them the second most highly awarded agency at the event. He’s learned a lot on his journey so far and he’s got the award metals to prove it.
LBB’s Jason chatted with Marco to find out what inspires him creatively and why geeking out about great agencies is like enthusing about his favourite bands.
LBB> Tell us about growing up in Ecuador?
Marco Tapia> I was born in a very small city in Ecuador, called Guaranda. Many say that there is not much to do there but I believe that with a good amount of imagination and the right people, incredible things can happen there.
When I was 17 years old, my parents sent me to the Universidad San Francisco de Quito to study computer systems engineering. Years later I travelled to Buenos Aires to study advertising. After my studies were done, I came back to Ecuador and, to this day, I have been on a seemingly never-ending journey in the ad industry.
LBB> What are the main challenges in your current role?
MT> Help the brands that I work with to provoke conversations with people. Focus the work that we create on ideas and not on formats.
LBB> What’s been your favorite project to work on?
MT> One of my favorite projects was ‘Choose Forward’, a campaign that we did recently in Ecuador. Chevrolet asked us for a retail campaign, but the country was facing an economic crisis, so we decided to listen to what people needed to buy a new car. Many people agreed that it was difficult to sell their used car, so the solution was simple: we help people sell their used cars within our advertising on TV, press, radio, billboards, social networks and web.
This made the brand sell more cars and people started to talk more about Chevrolet. We were shortlisted in Cannes and we won several metals at other festivals, including a direct marketing award at the 2017 Condor De Oro Awards all as a result of the work we had done. What more could we ask for?
LBB> What advertising/brands or ad makers inspire you to create?
MT> Several people and brands inspire me, but what excites me more than brands is the work of the agencies: Mercado McCann, Forsman & Bodenfors, Droga 5, David, Almap BBDO. I think I could go on and on, because for me this is like talking about bands. There are many agencies doing incredible things everywhere, but I also believe that there are many people, who are not part of advertising, doing even more incredible things.
LBB> Any Latin American campaigns that you'd like to mention?
MT> ManBoobs from the agency DAVID and prod co Landia is, for me, an idea that generated a lot of conversation at all levels and ultimately I think that is what we have to look for as generators of ideas.
MT> Being a normal person! I am addicted to TV series, movies and documentaries. I also like to discover new places, I love to travel, I love football, and I always try to learn something new from any subject.
LBB> Do you have any advice for younger, budding ad professionals, who'd like to be a creative director one day?
MT> It may be true that advertising can take a lot of time in your life, but it's worth it. I can say it because that’s the question I asked myself every day when I started in this profession: is it worth it? Now, after all the trips, the ideas that have become real and the people I've met, I can say it's worth it.