Carmela Soares has worked in three continents, in seven agencies, speaking five languages. She was born in Brazil. Soares arrived at Clemenger BBDO Melbourne in November 2017 as executive creative director. She came with National CD Isobar Australia, Digital CD MercerBell Sydney & Havas Sydney, Digital & Direct CD JWT Sydney, Regional CD Ogilvy Brazil, Interactive CD DDB Brazil, Copywriter W/Portugal in her history and a breadth of experience that few adpeople at any level have. Advertising is in her blood. She is the daughter of a creative director and her mum worked as an art director for ten years.
The Stable: What makes digital marketing work worthy of a D&AD Pencil for you?
Carmela Soares: D&AD is a non-for-profit organisation created to support and develop creative disciplines. And this is what it looks for in the work. Unexpected ideas, beautiful craft, work that changes the way we see our jobs and push the whole industry forward.
TS: Digital marketing has a lot of power that can be seen as intrusive. Does it need to rethink what it does?
CS: Using some data for targeting reasons is good, people are ad savvy and know this happens. But let’s not go overboard.
Every time we get new tools to work with, we try to push the boundaries, but sometimes we get it wrong and have to course correct. Remember pop up ads in the early 2000s? People hated them and now they’re gone.
Access to granular, detailed personal data is serious and complex to manage. So unless people specifically request you to use their data to help make a choice or understand a particular issue, don’t use it. Respect their privacy.
TS: There are billions of online videos in the world. How important is online video in effective advertising these days?
CS: Video is, no doubt, the best way to deliver whatever message we need to. Having said that, we might need to review the Online Video subcategory across the board (not just D&AD). Pretty much everything that gets entered into Film also gets entered into Online Film, which creates gigantic digital categories. We might need better rules of what makes a film eligible in digital, or maybe consolidate all the films under Film.
TS: Is it time to stop differentiating between/separating digital and creative agencies?
CS: No, that time was about ten years ago. The separation implies that digital agencies don’t get creativity and creative agencies don’t get technology. Both statements are false. Also digital is not a channel, a process or a specialism. Digital is a word that describes the cultural and social environment we all live in, and how we experience the world through technology.
TS: What work (yours or your agency’s) are you most proud of?
CS: I love the Myer Naughty or Nice Bauble. It’s an idea and narrative that interacts with people of all ages, leaving a halo of joy and magic. We had so many different skills applied to it. Teams working on comms, planners bringing the data to life, creatives and devs making the IoT bauble, designers making it beautiful, writers telling the most lovely story, producers losing sleep, and clients being brave. All of this to sell out in just over a week.
Also The Internet Remembers, for Drinkwise. What a precise insight. The behind the scenes were full of action and drama. We had only four weeks to produce the AR and the activation, so we basically had daily sprints with the client. And then there was the making of the virtual statues. 3D modelling a drunken person spewing was certainly a ‘never been done before’ moment.
TS: What digital work (other than yours) in the last few years made you go, “Wow?”
CS: Endless Stories, for Getty Images, by my good friend Luciana Haguiara and her team at AlmapBBDO. It’s got everything. A wonderful piece of film, hosted in a deftly designed and built website, complex but enthralling storytelling and a product demonstration. I’ve watched and interacted with every second of it, feeling very jealous.
TS: Every creative is shaped by their work that worked, work that didn’t or didn’t get through, mentors’ advice, intuitions assimilated…What shaped yours?
CS: I’m a gay, Indigenous-Hispanic woman. My work was shaped by being a minority in a creative department, by having to work harder to be heard or to get promoted. This made me realise how meaningful it is to feel seen, heard, understood. Because of that, the starting point to all my work is empathy.