Wake The Town
Gear Seven/Arc Studios/Shift
Contemplative Reptile
  • International Edition
  • USA Edition
  • UK Edition
  • Australian Edition
  • Canadian Edition
  • Irish Edition
  • German Edition
  • French Edition
  • Singapore Edition
  • Spanish edition
  • Polish edition
  • Indian Edition
  • Middle East edition
  • South African Edition

The Work That Made Me: Jose Miguel Sokoloff


The global president of MullenLowe Group Creative Council on the work he’s proudest of, the campaign that sparked his interest in advertising, and “the perfect night-stand book”

The Work That Made Me: Jose Miguel Sokoloff
Jose Miguel Sokoloff is one of the most internationally awarded and respected advertising creatives and peace proponents in the world.

Native to Colombia, Jose Miguel’s most recognised work for the Colombian Ministry of Defense has propelled him from advertising creative to cultural figure, having spoken and appeared across a variety of widely recognised platforms with mass audiences such as TED Global, NPR’s This American Life and WIRED, in addition to the ad industry’s most renowned forums such as the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

In his role as global president, MullenLowe Group Creative Council, Jose Miguel leads the network’s top creative talent to continued success for client’s brands in addition to enhancing network integration, collaboration and growth. Under Sokoloff’s creative leadership, MullenLowe Group has been named a Cannes Top 10 Network, the 2018 Ad Age Agency A-List and in 2019, ranked top ten ‘Top Agency Networks for Creativity’ in the WARC Creative 100. Most recently, his input as chief creative officer led MullenLowe Group UK to be named Agency of The Year at the Campaigns for Good Awards 2019.

We tapped Jose Miguel for the work that made and shaped him.

The ad/music video from my childhood that stays with me…

‘The Wall’ directed by Alan Parker is something I always come back to. 

However, I always like to be looking forward so when I go back to something, it’s to relax and disconnect, not get inspiration from. Rothko’s rooms at the TATE are the perfect example of this, as somewhere that lets my mind rest. Even the Star Wars films are something that give me comfort – something I know and understand – and are great when I want to let someone else take control while I follow on and enjoy. 

The thing that made me want to get into the industry…

When I was growing up, in one of the main avenues of Bogota, there was a big old house that had been converted into the Leo Burnett offices. Whichever direction you were walking, there was no way you could miss this building. 

Rather than using this space commercially, Leo Burnett used this for self promotion. They always had interesting messages which were always some sort of commentary about something that was happening in Bogota. Whenever the murals changed, everyone in the city was talking about it, which made me think advertising would be a fun industry to work in. 

The irony is that when I started working at Leo’s, they had moved offices so I never got the chance to put something on the wall… 

The creative work that I keep revisiting…

Hundred Years of Solutude by Gabriel García Márquez. 

It’s incredibly creative in every way and is full of twists, turns, wisdom and fun. It never ceases to amaze me. 

It’s the perfect night-stand book – every time I pick it up, I get something new out of it. 

My first professional project…

My first ever professional project was for Ever Ready batteries. It was the first time that batteries came packaged in Colombia – previously when you bought them they came with these little testers which you had to use to make sure they were charged. Ever Ready batteries came in plastic so they couldn’t be tested anymore, which meant people didn’t really trust that they would work. 

My solution was a very elementary demonstration to show that batteries in plastic wouldn’t lose their charge. We put the batteries on the chargers people used to test old batteries and demonstrate that in the plastic, they wouldn’t charge, but if you took the plastic off they were fine. 

The piece of work that made me so angry that I vowed to never make anything like *that*…

Everyday I see work that I would’ve loved to have done, and work that I’m glad I had nothing to do with. 

I don’t want to name any particular campaigns, but I think the most painful things are those that are completely tone deaf, that try to do something clever but completely miss the mark. It’s very clear that these brands or agencies haven’t kept their ear close to the ground or understood the culture they’re trying to reach or what people are feeling. I think we’ve all come across a few of those in our time… 

The piece of work that still makes me jealous…

There’s so much work that makes me jealous. Sometimes it feels like everywhere I look there's work that makes me incredibly angry that we didn’t do it. That’s what keeps me going. 

The creative project that changed my career…

Starting my agency. That was a creative project that changed my career by completely changing the direction my career was going. I was successful doing what I was doing, but going out on my own and being able to choose my own clients gave me a completely different outlook on life and the industry. 

The work that I’m proudest of…

It’s got to be my work demobilizing the FARC Guerillas. 

In 2012, MullenLowe SSP3 was given the brief to encourage FARC members – the oldest and largest left-wing guerrilla group operating in Colombia – to give up their arms, leave the jungle and return to their families. To do this, we planned a military operation in which friends and relatives sent messages, letters and gifts to guerrillas in airtight capsules, illuminating the rivers nearest to their camps. It was called ‘Rivers of Light’, and even the president of Colombia and the Colombian people joined the campaign. We were able to gather 6,823 messages, inviting guerrilla’s to reflect on their situation, and to light their way back home.

The campaign achieved the rate of one guerrilla demobilising and meeting their family, every six hours.

I was involved in this and it makes me cringe…

Work that makes me cringe isn’t the worst work, because at least we tried. It’s the average/invisible work that just blends into the rest that makes me cringe because it’s the sign of a missed opportunity. 

The recent project I was involved in that excited me the most…

The AXE/LYNX relaunch. Led by a global IPG-level team and leveraging the best talent across the network, we’re relaunching AXE in a big way. The team has moved AXE to a new place that’s relevant for young people today, while still keeping the AXE irreverent humour and tone of voice.    

It’s a major relaunch of a global brand and it’s been very exciting to see how we made that happen in such a short amount of time, and also during this particular year. 

view more - The Work That Made Me
Sign up to our newsletters and stay up to date with the best work and breaking ad news from around the world.
MullenLowe Global, Thu, 15 Apr 2021 15:19:41 GMT