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The Work That Made Me: Pablo Maldonado



From Argentina to the United Arab Emirates, Wunderman Thompson’s Dubai ECD looks back on the creative work that has propelled his career

The Work That Made Me: Pablo Maldonado
When it comes to creative work that drives Pablo Maldonado, you’ll find two distinct trends: car commercials and the Rocky movies. The Wunderman Thompson Dubai ECD looks back on the ads and videos and films that built his career – from the work that inspired him to pursue a life in advertising to the body of brilliant creative that he has dreamed up along the way. His background in Argentina looms large – Pablo’s a great admirer of his fellow countryman Juan Cabral – and since he moved to the United Arab Emirates in 2019 his recent projects encapsulates the dynamism and disruption in the market and of these Covid times.

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

In the 90s, there were great videos running all day, but I remember many from Metallica and Guns N' Roses. I probably watched November Rain about 3000 times, but I went crazy the first time I saw Estranged - and I still do. The dolphin at the end... glorious!

Growing up in Argentina, I adored so many ads that were very local and reflected our fun and atypical culture.

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

My gateway into advertising was definitely this one: .

Okay, and maybe this one too: 

Yes, I've always loved car commercials. Okay, one last one: 

Then, I think the incredible Guinness ads made at the end of the 90s and early 2000s, were crucial for me. Also, the iconic CP+B and their crazy inventions made me fall in love.

The creative work that I keep revisiting…

It always depends on the project I’m working on in a specific moment. However, I can spend hours on Nowness and I love to check from time to time how the great minds used to think back in the day by digging into the D&AD Copy Book. Now, if you want to feel a slap in the face, this is the one, 2 Kilos of Kessels Kramer (it’s sold out).

When it comes to films, I’m revisited the Rocky movies so many times I’ve lost count; I feel that life, and all its ups and downs, are well reflected in them. 

My first professional project…
I couldn't even find a link to the work, but it was for Heineken in 2005. It was a print and billboard campaign that was everywhere in Buenos Aires, so I was able to say to my mum 'Look, I did that!'. The visual was the bottle passing under a staircase and the copy said, ‘Ask yourself why not’. There were five more pieces, each of them highlighting the bold attitude and fresh mindset of those who drink Heineken.

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

There have been many for sure, but to be fair I’ve always believed that in order to do a good piece of work, we needn’t feel anger for the bad ones; if we see beyond that and try to understand the reasoning, we can avoid making the same mistake.

The piece of work that still makes me jealous…

All of Juan Cabral’s work basically, but particularly Balls for Sony Bravia or Beds for IKEA. Everything he does is so fresh, distinctive, and personal. As a creative or director, he always plays in a league of his own.

The creative project that changed my career…

As I said before, car brands and I have always had a special relationship, so this 2012 idea for Volkswagen was a milestone in my career and a project that I love beyond any award: 

VW Crafter QR Load case study from Pablo Maldonado on Vimeo.

The work that I’m proudest of…

It’s impossible to mention only one—that would be like choosing a favourite child—but given the world’s context in 2020 (and still now, in 2021), with everyone in isolation at home, an unpredictable future, and anxiety over our family and our own health and safety, I think this ad for Bose represents our current context beautifully. I’m definitely proud of the final twist: 

I was involved in this and it makes me cringe…

Everyone who has worked with me or is currently working with me knows that I usually say what I think and what I believe in. I'm very respectful, of course, but at the same time I'm totally transparent with partners and ideas, because I think both deserve as much clarity and dedication as possible. So, in saying that, so far I don’t have a project that makes me cringe… and I’m going to do my best to keep it that way.

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

We said goodbye to 2020 with an idea that incorporated an interesting twist to an extremely relevant and current problem in this new pandemic/post-pandemic context, but we reframed the “problem” in a thoughtful, relatable and useful way: 


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Genres: Storytelling, Comedy

Wunderman Thompson Dubai, Mon, 11 Jan 2021 15:40:42 GMT