A conversation by McCann chief creative directors, José Ignacio Solari of McCann Santiago and Diana Triana of McCann Bogotá.
The world is in a very complex mood. A dissatisfied mood. Troubled, frightened. Corrupt, angry. This means that when brand communications can be sailing in stormy seas.
The chief creative officers of McCann Bogotá and Santiago talk about how they have faced the complex situation that Colombia and Chile are going through. On October 18 last year, for example, civil protests erupted violently in Santiago. Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets. Police responded with water cannons and tear gas. Eighteen people were killed. There are insights in the discussion for everyone.
What was your first reaction to protect your brands?
José Ignacio Solari-McCann Santiago (JIS): McCann network is always active and it´s always data source, information or inspiration. After 18 October, we naturally resourced a lot of studies of regional or global crises but we were also very aware of the need to analyse this social unrest as a unique and particular event that we are living in Chile, from there build the way to find solutions for our clients.
Diana Triana-McCann Bogotá (DT): In the creative department we focus on analysing the care, responses and changes that we should make in the messages that we were sending to people. That´s why we decided to develop (through Weber Shandwick) a crisis protocol for the most sensitive clients to this situation, which included listening to the conversations that were getting in the media, an analysis of those considerations and some recommendations to implement.
Which were the key points that allowed you to create new messages? Which was the major mistake that you tried to avoid?
DT: It´s key to keep yourself informed. Sometimes in the typical rush of the agency we forget about keeping ourselves informed about what´s happening outside. This can´t happen, not when you are in an important moment in the country and especially when the communication of this country is your responsibility too.
JIS: The major mistake is treading the fine line between what´s opportune and what´s opportunistic. We believe that the only way of being in the right place is being tremendously empathetic, listening to the people much more and being responsible for each thing said or done.
Which is the main lesson that you have learned so far?
JIS: Empathy should always be invited to our conversations.
DT: My lesson is that as an agency we always have to be alert and close to our team and clients, trying to helping them by speaking with truth, but a truth well told, which shows all the points of views, without fanaticism and without attacking the ones who think differently. Well, that’s what we’re here for. To help the world to communicate better.
Does this set the tone for 2020 or the rest of the decade? Why?
JIS: It will completely mark a before and an after and we are already living it. 78% of the Chilean people think a better country is coming and we are connected with that, with that sense of hope and optimism for what lies ahead.
DT: This reinforces what we were already learning in the last years, and it surely will be shown during all 2020: today society takes the floor more than ever and will not be silenced or stand quiet. For this reason, our responsibility as agencies and advertisers is increasing, because society is pushing us to be every day more honest, relevant and powerful with our messages.
Do you feel more challenged? Why?
JIS: I feel that the challenge is intrinsic for those who work in advertising. What is happening these days is inviting us to be more united and with an even clearer horizon where we have to move towards all together.
DT: Yes, it´s just what I said before. Because I feel (I say this with great enthusiasm) that our responsibility as communicators grows with each crisis. And that it’s in the middle of that crisis where better creativity comes from Latin American people.