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PABLO MALDONADO

05 August 2020
 

 PABLO MALDONADO

Executive Creative Officer at Wunderman Thompson Dubai   

 

A Travelling Story in Times of Lockdown

 

When you receive an email from LIA saying that they would be interested in telling your story in their next issue of The Insider, you know that you have a huge responsibility because you have to talk about something really engaging.
 
But the most logical topic was this unpredictable 2020, and how the world is changing. But is there anything interesting today in the fact that we wake up, work, eat and go back to bed? Well, let me tell you a little bit about me and how this year is probably the best year of my life.
 
I started in advertising in 2005 in Argentina, my home country (I know that if you see my picture and where I work today you might think that I was actually born in the Middle East, but no). Only a year later, the opportunity to expand my horizons came from Lowe Mexico. I'm not going to extend myself too much, so I'll just tell you that after that trip, California followed, then Austin in Texas, a return to Buenos Aires and today Dubai. So the travel thing is not new for me. And neither the pandemic; in 2009 I flew from Mexico to Argentina to compete in the FIAP Young Creatives, in the middle of the H1N1 Influenza pandemic. Flights were getting suspended every minute because Mexico was the epicenter of the contagion. After dozens of controls I managed to cross airports, visit my family and arrive just in time to compete (and win!).
 
Now that we can no longer fly, I appreciate having done so much of it. What's more, I hope that soon we can all get on a plane again. No, I'm not crazy, I have a wife and two kids, and believe me I would never risk them. However, the value of traveling is in the possibility of connecting with other people who may have lived similar experiences to ours, but under completely different cultural and social contexts. The same thing or problem seen through the eyes of different information entities will result in unexpected and unique solutions. Today, when I think about the communication of a brand, I am not alone; the more than 20 nationalities I have worked with over the years are thinking with me. So hopefully everything will soon return to normal, new or old.
 
Anyway, I feel that advertising was better prepared than other industries to live in this new remote, yet global format. We've all been in a big project before, chatting simultaneously with a duo from Beijing, a planner from New York and the CCO from London. Travel, in advertising, has long been done with or without open airports.
 
So, coming back to WFH, the video calls and the extended hours, I'll tell you why this is probably the best year of my life. Those who work at what they're passionate about spend their whole lives working, not measuring time or effort. Asking friends, we all agree on the same thing: yes, this effort is to achieve goals, but also to see our children and families safe and happy. Cool, but how much time did we spend with them before? Not enough. We used to live at the agency. So this time at home was good for something different: for spending time with my family, for them to see me work, to have less coffee breaks but more videogame challenges and finally, for them to understand a little bit about what I do. At least in advertising, something has become more normal now.
 
Last but not least, I would like to share some of Wunderman Thompson Dubai's latest projects that have been made by facing this challenging 2020 as an opportunity to keep inspiring:
2 - “GSK’s Otrivin Pillball” (the first ever Middle East cover on Lürzer's Archive)