Gustavo Nardini, Foundry Berlin: "You Better Be Doing Something You Like"

Gustavo Nardini
Creative Director Jung Von Matt/Havel

Gustavo Nardini’s career has taken him around the world from São Paulo to Paris and Berlin. His career began in 2005 working at agencies including Talent Marcel, F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi and Africa. In 2016, he moved to Europe for the second time, joining Ogilvy & Mather Paris, Leo's Thjnk Tank in Munich and Leo Burnett Frankfurt.

Last year, he joined Foundry in Berlin – a new creative boutique with offices in Berlin, Zurich and New York.


Can you tell us a little about Foundry Berlin: how is it different to other agencies you have worked at? What are you enjoying most about your role there?

I've been fortunate enough to work in a lot of different agencies: small, big, networks, and independent ones. And yet, Foundry is its own special kind of place. Our clients are mostly startup brands, so we are involved in way more than just creating an ad campaign for them. It's a lot more work and brand building, but it's also rewarding to be able to participate in all levels of brand development.


You’re originally from Brazil, so how does living Berlin inspire you?

Living outside of your home country turns you into an "alien", you look at day-to-day things as if they were new because they are… at least to you. Since you don't always have the cultural background natives have, you need to rely on creating more human/universal messages, that in the end, might work better than being too niche.

You have also lived in Munich, Paris,
São Paulo: how has living in new cities all over the world influenced your ideas as a creative?

It helped me realize how things are always different, but yet kind of the same. People everywhere, deep down, are just people. What changes is having to learn again the path to get to that reaction you want. Because what works for one culture might really suck for others. I love the feeling of learning new things every day, and nothing beats the feeling of landing in a new, unexplored place.

Have you made any interesting discoveries over the past year? 

I think like most people, I had to face the obvious truth of how frail life is. So you better be doing something you like, don't try to play safe because there's not such a thing, and this game can end at any moment. 

Do you have a creative process: is there a certain way that you approach a brief? 

I always start from the premise of: Why the hell should "normal" people care about this brand/product? People are vaccinated against typical advertising nowadays and are very sceptical of brands. So, I try to be as critical and hard on the brand messaging as the people that will see it afterwards. I mean, the goal of advertising nowadays shouldn't be sending busy branded messages in between the news, it should be being part of the news in a meaningful way. So that's what I strive for.

What kind of kid were you: were you always ‘creative’, curious and breaking rules?

Kind of. I learned how to draw by watching my grandpa and also tried playing instruments because of him (but I suck at it). But I was always curious and usually, one of the other kids would ask to do their arts/crafts assignments. So sometimes I would do their stuff, and they would help me with the hard stuff, such as math. I then turned to computer sciences as a teen, and fell for advertising almost as a mistake. I got into an advertising class some friends were enrolled in, and it all seemed super intuitive and "easy" when compared to programming and the stuff I was into. Things just clicked. I could do that, and it seemed fun and creative. I was back into my younger self and loved it.

This is not the first time you have joined the Preliminary Jury at AD STARS. What do you enjoy most about judging this festival?

I love judging AD STARS because it gives me the perfect "excuse" to stay hours looking at other creatives’ work, especially the local/Asian stuff. As I mentioned, I love the feeling of being an alien while working abroad and judging AD STARS gives me a glimpse into what the Asian market produces early. I love being surprised by crazy, unexpected, and cool stuff, and you guys keep delivering! :)


The AD STARS 2021 Preliminary Jury consists of over 240 of the world’s top creative professionals. Enter the AD STARS 2021 Awards before 31st May via