DDB’s Juan Carlos Ortiz reflects on what it means to live up to the legacy of Bill Bernbach



by Juan Carlos Ortiz

At its core, DDB is one of the most creative agencies of all time. Living up to the legacy of Bill Bernbach is a big responsibility for all of us in the company. Creativity is and will always be our reason to be and it is our job to live this value throughout all the different aspects of our business.

In life and during my career, I’ve always believed that the simplest things can also be the most meaningful. If you stop for a moment and think about it, Bernbach’s insights have lived on and are just as meaningful today. Everything is about human nature, human insights. You just need to keep your eyes open and be able to recognize them. If your insights don’t come from something real, don’t follow that idea. In the end, it will fall apart because it will have no essence.

I have always thought that, with creativity, you can do everything in life. It applies to all the different stages of life – and in both your personal and your professional life. And I’ve made it my mission to inspire the same foundation around creativity within our regional teams through Bullseye, our product review program. Since we began instituting the program in the Latina region, we jumped from 12 Cannes Lions in 2012 to 24 in 2014. And, most importantly, we’ve achieved great business results, demonstrating that if you can inspire and canalize what is already in you DNA, you can achieve bigger things.

When I first arrived to DDB and learned about its culture, I saw a great opportunity to evolve the mindset within the Latin region. We started by consolidating around a culture concept. We changed what used to be DDB Latin America and created “DDB Latina” – a concept that broke geographic boarders and created one region united by Latin culture – adding the US Hispanic and Spanish markets to it. As a result, we saw a more identifiable and integrated team, always ready to support each other as a real network. This simple human insight became such as strength for new business, as clients started to understand that by being part of DDB Latina, they were part of a whole network with +1,800 members. One that not only understands the Latin culture, but could also work connected as a team for their brands across the entire region.

As part of the change, we also understood that digital wasn’t just a channel. It needed to be integrated as an important part of our thinking process. And so, we turned from traditional ‘douplas’ or creative pairs, to trios, which connects digital techs, creatives and planners into one creative power. This solution brought us quickly a step ahead from our competitors. As a result, we created the Social Media Lab, a unit with planners and specialists that listen, analyze and interpret real user conversations to genuinely understand their needs and behaviors and apply these human insights into strategies. As our business evolves, it is key to provide the right message to the right people in the right moment. And this is why DDB Latina has also developed the Right Room Project. It is a space that allows data to truly inspire creativity, because data without interpretation isn’t enough.

At DDB, we believe in people, people who lead courageously with creativity and humanity. This is why we trust that our next innovative model – joining North America and Latina into one Americas creative council – will help us become the new creative powerhouse for the continent. It’s very exciting to think about merging minds from different cultures such as Brazil, New York, Argentina and Vancouver, to nurture each other with the purpose of inspiring each other and achieving better results for our clients and for DDB.