A quick interview with AdFest 2010 Grand Jury President Washington Olivetto from W/Brazil

Washington Camiseta da W_sml.jpgWashington Olivetto is famous in Brazil for creating some of the country's most popular and memorable advertising campaigns, and he's traveling to Asia next year as Grand Jury President at ADFEST 2010. In this interview, Olivetto tells us what he thinks of advertising in Asia:
Why did you agree to be Grand Jury President at ADFEST 2010?
Washington Olivetto: Accepting this invitation allows me to analyze and review Asian advertising. Many of the really new and inspiring things in global advertising have sprung up in Asia in the last few years. It is advertising that always surprises us - and very favorably.
Why has W/Brazil created so many award-winning campaigns?
Washington: W/Brasil's strength is making campaigns with strong ties to Brazilian pop culture. Our agency is the title theme of a song by the world-famous singer-composer-songwriter Jorge Ben Jor. He composed the song "W/Brasil" in homage to our agency in 1990 - it has already sold millions of copies and is still being sung by all Brazilians.
When did you realize you have a talent for advertising?
Washington: It was in my adolescence. My father was a salesman, and I greatly admired his work. I learned how to read and write when I was five years old. Due to these two factors, in my adolescence I dreamed of becoming either a writer or a salesman, like my father. One day, I realized that the activity that joined the act of writing to the art of selling was creative advertising. Thus, as I reached 18 years of age I entered the world of advertising as a trainee in a small agency.
What is the proudest achievement of your career?
Washington: More than the Golden Lions I won at Cannes or the Clio Grand Prix awarded to me, my greatest professional pride is the fact that I create many advertising campaigns that, in addition to selling products and building brands, have accomplished one of my noblest ambitions: become a part of the popular culture of my country.
I also prize myself that, owing to that work, I have become one of the best-known and most respected persons in Brazil, with a status very similar to that of a pop hero.
Which person has played the biggest influence on your career?
Washington: The large majority of Brazilian admen were tremendously influenced by the excellent American advertising of the '60s (the DDB generation) and the fantastic British advertising of the '70s. Those influences, added to the inbred features of the Brazilian people (a result mostly of the phenomenon of miscegenation), have generated the peculiar personality of Brazilian advertising.
If I were to cite the name of only one American and one Englishman that influenced me, I would cite Ed McCabe and John Webster.
In 2001, you were famously kidnapped for two months. What did you learn from the experience?
Washington: It was a very difficult experience that I decided to overcome as soon as it ended. What changed in my daily life from then on was that I began to live with a security system that was totally new to my life. It is not nice, but it has become something necessary. This experience taught me that I had hidden somewhere deep inside of me a capacity to overcome hardships that I myself ignored I had.
When do you come up with your best ideas?
Washington: I get my ideas from life itself. I transform them into advertising and I return them to the mainstream.
In Brazil, are you considered a celebrity?
Washington: Brazilian people are very sensitive, sensual, musical and well humored. Thanks to all these characteristics, Brazilian people are quite receptive to good advertising and, consequently, admen are widely acknowledged and acclaimed by all.
I cannot deny that I am a celebrity in Brazil, and that is because this exposure of admen to public notice was set off by me many years ago, and since I am still very much in activity, my own visibility and celebrity have grown with time.
What is the biggest challenge facing W/Brasil in 2010?
Washington: Your question is very interesting because it is foretelling. You do not know, but I am preparing a big and lovely surprise for W/Brasil in 2010. However, I cannot tell anything about it until the beginning of next year.
How would you define 'success'?
Washington: The best thing about success is that it gives you the opportunity to be friends with your idols.
Washington Olivetto is President and Creative Director of W/ Brazil. He will be Grand Jury President at ADFEST 2010, which takes place in Thailand on 18-20 March. Adfest is the only Asian-based award show that accepts entries from Australia and New Zealand. www.adfest.com


New York said:

Washington is a legend in his own opinion. And mine. Go to their site. Good stuff.

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