Tell us a bit about yourself and your current role?
Hi! I’m Camilla and I work as the Strategic Planning Director at LOLA MullenLowe Barcelona. I’m originally from Brazil and have been living in Barcelona since 2019.
I’ve been working in advertising for the last 13 years in agencies such as McCann, DAVID and DPZ&T.
How did you get your start as a strategist? What led you to pursue it as a career?
Actually, I started my career as a copywriter at McCann Brazil. I have been always passionate about reading and writing and I thought that the creative department was my place. But then, getting closer to the planning side I begin to understand that this was my cup of tea. As the nerd I’ve always been, it seemed a privilege to have a job that pushed me to study, to go deeper on thinking, on human emotions, feelings, tensions while still doing creative work. Realizing that the strategic work was also creative, was decisive for my shift. Also, when I made the decision to change, a big influence that I didn’t realize at the time, was that while being a copywriter I felt that the creative departments in Brazil were sexist and with few spaces for women and I needed to find my place. To stand out on the creative team, I would have to be loud, obsessed with awards, and include sexist jokes in my scripts. Fortunately, the industry is slowly changing and is much more welcoming for women right now. But there is still a very long way to go.
What set of skills do you believe it takes for a strategist to thrive in the current advertising landscape?
Originally, the planning department was a derivation from the research department at agencies. And for years, we carried this culture with us. We were more worried about conducting big studies and making long presentations instead of the creative output. Now, we live in a world where any kind of information is instantly available at our hands. So, the value is no longer on the data or the research finding, but on the point of view. The most successful and remarkable campaigns are from brands that have a clear point of view on culture and society and stand for that. We can also say how important it is to think about a communication ecosystem, to work in a more integrated way with other departments, and to be more present in the campaign process from beginning to end – our work is just beginning with the strategic brief presentation, it doesn´t end there. But for me, in a nutshell, what makes a good planner is his/her view on things. Interesting people create interesting things.
What’s the most challenging aspect of the job? What helps keep the work interesting for you?
I think one of the most challenging aspects is to develop relevant campaigns in a world so polluted with messages and where traditional advertising matters less each day. If we think about Tesla, one of the most valued car brands today, they’ve never created a single campaign. Apple is investing more in the store experience and less in traditional advertising. I think we are moving through one of the most challenging times for our industry. But this is also exciting and making the work more interesting. In my 13-year career, I’ve never seen clients as focused on their brand's purpose – and putting their purpose into action – as I see now.
Is there a part of the role that you feel is often misunderstood?
The planning role changes a lot depending on the agency and client. So, of course, this causes a lot of confusion. A CCO that I admire very much told me something interesting about this: if you go to any agency in the world, the creatives are doing pretty much the same thing. The agency can be more or less creative, more or less digital, but you know what to expect in terms of formats and deliverables. This doesn’t happen with the planning work. Each planner delivers the strategy in a different way and format. Along my career, I often found myself involved in parts of the work that I shouldn’t have been and left out in very important moments of the campaign strategy.
Do you have any advice for those looking to work in a similar role?
My advice would be to look beyond the advertising world. It’s very important to have an advertising repertoire, but it's also essential to bring new elements to the table. Good communication looks less like advertising. Another piece of advice is to be useful during the process. There are many ways that a strategist can be useful, and we often focus only on the part of the insight or creative brief. A good strategist should help the client make business decisions, work together with media partners and think about the whole communication ecosystem. Help creatives with good data, references, point of view, and even ideas. Don’t be stuck in your job description.
How do you keep your finger on the pulse of culture? Where do you look for inspiration?
I am kind of old school for this. I love paper books. I usually chose a subject that I want to dig in to and look for authors and references. Right now, as I am pregnant, I’m really into the meaning of motherhood. I recently read a very interesting book called “Motherhood” by Sheila Heti, that talks about the difficult moment that women face when, for biological reasons, they need to decide whether they want to be a mother or not. And how unfortunately we are still seen as the ones responsible for childcare.
I also like to read newsletters every morning. Two of my favorites are "New World, Same Humans" from David Mattin and "No Mercy, No Malice" from Scott Galloway. And as a typical Millennial, of course, I am into podcasts. Here I have to highlight the impressive work Fergus is doing with "On Strategy Showcase", one of the best references for planners right now. I also love "Revisionist History" a podcast that brings a new perspective to big historical facts, and lastly, I want to mention one from a dear and talented friend called “Histórias de Mulheres”, that goes deep on feminine issues through the history of famous and anonymous women (Only in Portuguese for now).