Marcello Serpa: Believe in it to sell it

See why veteran Brazilian adman Marcello Serpa believes that using a product is crucial to create effective advertising for it.

"There are many ways to come up with an idea,” says Marcello Serpa, the creative director of one of Brazil’s leading advertising agencies, AlmapBBDO.

At his presentation during the Design Indaba 2014 Conference, Serpa shared his thoughts on the key elements to running a successful ad agency and being an effective creative director. 

Serpa describes his approach to resolving a brief or problem: “It is the role of the creative director to give some direction on what they are looking for, to decide and define space or direction.”

With a career that spans 30 years in the advertising world, he argues: “You have to believe in the product you are advertising,” and relate to it “in a way that you are kind of an ambassador of the product or brand."

Serpa's groundbreaking work for Havaianas capturing the vibrancy of Brazilian culture and his simple but powerful campaigns for Whiskas and Pepsi have made him Brazil's most honoured art director.

I really like to work with someone that I admire, I can learn from, who does something completely different than I do so I can learn and expand, says Serpa.

He is also of the opinion that one should “never work for someone who is not better than you.” But most strikingly, his emphasis on the importance of life-long learning is grounded in his belief that there are “a lot of young guys today aiming to be a creative director before they are ready to do it.”

Although he is “a bit romantic” about it, he reminds us that when it comes to advertising “you have to use it [the product] to understand it.”  

Watch the Talk with Marcello Serpa