Inside the Mind of Hugo Rodrigues, CEO at Publicis Brasil

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What does it take to be the founder of the next best tech company? Or a director at a top agency? Well, an appetite for learning helps, so ‘Inside the Mind’ is a new series of interviews helping you get in the heads of the leaders and entrepreneurs who are breaking new ground in the creative industries.

Over the Christmas break, we caught up with Hugo Rodrigues, CEO at Publicis Brasil. Named as one of the most influential advertising executives in Brazil by GQ Magazine, Hugo has over 15 years experience in the industry which has amounted to many awards including D&AD and Cannes Lions trophies. We’re very excited to have Hugo joining us on Creativepool’s Annual 2017 judging panel this year as well, where he'll be keeping an eye on our Integrated category, here’s an insight into how to get his attention and what he’ll be looking out for.

Hi Hugo! You've developed award-winning campaigns for some of the world's most globally recognised brands. What do emerging agencies need to do to achieve the same success?

More than ever, the industry needs to generate content that makes a difference to people’s lives. No one wants to see ‘just’ advertising anymore, people want entertainment, information and a cause to believe in. In the midst of the huge amounts of information we receive everyday, we are becoming much more intolerant of anything we deem ‘disposable’ and our selective process for determining this is becoming much quicker and more accurate.

To this end, brand communication will only impact the consumer through one of two channels, the rational one: does the price of this product make a difference to me? Or the emotional one: does this brand translate what I want to say?

'Truths' by Publicis Brasil

What direction do you think the industry is headed in then?

The industry needs to offer invaluable services, to highlight causes and to entertain as we move into the future. Our society increasingly values social responsibility and companies need to reflect that in their communication.

Agencies are increasingly having to create job roles that didn't exist in the past - Chief People Officer, Director of Innovation, Culture Editor etc. Do you think the traditional agency setup is obsolete?

The advertising agency must evolve with the world, we can’t sell innovation and remain in the past. The agency is a living organism undergoing continuous transformation and I think we’re at the point where we need to break internal walls so all the different areas can work together more fluidly.

At Publicis Brasil, for example, the CCO is our innovation professional, our community managers answer to the Planning VP and our technology department to the Media VP.

What major changes have you seen the advertising industry adopt in the last ten years?

Well we saw the huge rise of several new platforms and devices so all communications took on a real-time ingredient and became much more transparent, direct and interactive.

Social networks added an enormous value in this context, they act as an arena where products and brands are recommended (or not) and discussed by people whose recommendations are the most important to you: your friends. The advertising industry is trying to go along with or to lead these changes at the moment, sometimes with agility, sometimes not!

'The Power of Touch' Publicis Brasil

Yep, we live in very socially-savvy times. What do advertisers need to do, to keep winning across Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram etc?

First of all it’s worth saying that although it’s important to be active on the social networks, you should do so respecting the brand’s DNA. There are a lot of relevant questions you can ask yourself to determine this, for example: If your target is not ‘plugged’, do you really need to be present on Snapchat?

Meanwhile, advertisers need to pay attention to the position a brand has on social mediums. In Brazil, a negative discussion on Facebook is capable of ruining a brand’s reputation. When working on brand communication, advertisers need to think about how it will be received on the social networks where judgment is imminent.

In this age of 'big data’ and 'effectiveness'. How do you think the way campaign success is be measured will change?

The internet offers ever more accurate metrics and answers which allows us to react and redirect campaigns very quickly. But the impact of a retail campaign, for example, will always be best measurable through sales. In much the same way, a brand’s long term success will be distinguished best through its awareness in the eye of the consumer.

'What's the best gift in the world?' Publicis Brasil

We’re very happy to have you on the judging panel in the Integrated category for the Annual 2017. What are you expecting to see?

Way more than digital or mobile, integrated will be 2017’s ‘buzz’ word throughout the communication industry. We went through a stage where different medias seemed to compete with each other, but the knowledge now is that all platforms should work together and complement each other in order to spread a good idea.

In this category I’m looking out for specific solutions thought out deliberately for a specific platform, but these solutions need to speak to each other cohesively and naturally.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in an advertising career now?

Persist, work hard and keep track of what is most important - the consumer’s needs.


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