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


Issue 36: Creative Leadership

DDB Latina President & CEO, Creative Chairman DDB Americas 

Juan Carlos Ortiz was the first Latin American to become president of an advertising agency in the United States when he was named to that position at Leo Burnett USA. In January 2008, he moved to DDB Worldwide where he organized DDB Latina, connecting the Latin culture, its creativity, passion and work across borders to achieve one unified vision: the Latin Influence. Winner of the first Film Gold Lion at the Cannes Festival for Colombia, Ortiz’s work has been recognized at awards competitions around the world. An inductee of AAF’s Advertising Hall of Achievement, the World Economic Forum announced Ortiz as a Young Global Leader for his professional accomplishments, commitment to society and potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world. He was recently named Creative Chairman of DDB Americas, merging the North American and Latina Creative Councils. He is also the author of “Shorts”, a creative biography written from his mobile phone on a plane during his many business trips.


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.

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It is insight into human nature that is the key to the communicator’s skill. For whereas the writer is concerned with what he puts into his writings, the communicator is concerned with what the reader gets out of it.

Bill Bernbach