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Honoring Female Industry Leaders: Natalia Benincasa, Chief Creative Officer for Latin America, Edelman

15 March 2023


Chief Creative Officer for Latin America

In 2022, Natalia joined Edelman to work as a regionally creative lead in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia. Previously, she was part of many of the most renowned agencies in the industry, leading multicultural campaigns.

She was honored to be named one of the best Chief Creative Officers in the world by The Drum in 2023 and The One Show 2021. She was recognized as Creative of the Year at the Jerry Goldenberg’s awards, for excellence in communications in Argentina and by editorial Dossier, in 2020. In 2019, she was named one of the most outstanding creative leaders in Mexico. 

Among winning many awards at local and international festivals, such as Cannes Lions, London International Awards, Clio, Effies, SXSW, FIAP, Ojo de Iberoamérica, El Sol de San Sebastián, Art Directors Club, D&AD and The One Show, she received the Innovation Grand Prix at Cannes 2021; the first one for her native country. 

Don´t give up too soon.

I didn´t know exactly what advertising was until I started to study it at the University, and I decided to jump into an advertising career just because it had art, photography, philosophy, marketing, history and a good quantity of literature and copywriting. Let´s say: I just wanted to learn a little bit of everything. 

I grew up watching and repeating TV commercials (the real good ones), but for me, that was purely a game. As an only child I was always trying to have fun, inventing dynamics and games, designing costumes, or doing the voice-over of some spots. I remembered them as short films that gave me a few seconds to perform in front of anyone that was there. But a career? No way. I didn´t even know advertising could be studied. 

I lived in a suburban area in Buenos Aires, but far away from many references. I wouldn´t trade my childhood in my neighborhood for anything. That place made you more streetwise, but I was starting with the counter at zero. 

I started at the university and the creativity school almost at the same time and I was thrilled, basically studying everything I could about the industry: reading articles, magazines and sneaking in events just to understand what was happening there. At the same time, I worked as a roller-skating coach and had some odd jobs. I have always been too curious, very active and determined. 

It was 2001 when the biggest Economic crisis in the history of Argentina happened and I almost had to give up everything, because I couldn’t afford it. But I was too committed to even consider that as an option. It was tough, but I got a full scholarship and found some ways to keep going. I remember that as one of the first attempts by advertising to kick me out. One out of the million tries the bastard made.  

It was an exhilarating journey. I knocked on many doors to find a chance as a creative and I swear to you, I always tried to take every opportunity in front of me. That´s the mark that’s left when you grow-up in a country that is Always-in Crisis. 

I changed agencies many times for growth or just because I felt that it was not for me. I was fired and I was promoted. I moved from the country. I had the chance to make a new business innovation area in one of the best agencies in the world and I had very often received the agencies´ less challenging creative briefs. I worked as a freelancer, as a producer and I mutated into a sponge to learn skills. I met a lot of people telling me exactly how I had to be, behave and role models that almost never suited me. I witnessed many times, how women that work in creative departments, trying to blend in with the men so as to fit in and be accepted, especially in Latin America (a closed circle of white men). Many years went by, without meeting a female leader in the creative area of an agency. Being aware of this extreme representation gap made me feel I needed to try harder. 

In 2020, I became the Chief Creative Officer of Wunderman Thompson, the biggest agency in the country. I was the only female CCO in Argentina at that time. This pushed me to become an activist seeking for a real change in the industry. 

I saw communication as a tool for evolution and advertising as an industry that still needs to gain trust around representation. I´m truly looking for that change. It’s even the reason why I changed again and joined Edelman, seduced by the idea of helping brands to earn trust. 

As human beings we seek stability to have security. But this industry is all about hard work, persistence, risk-taking, and a huge grade of resilience from your side. Things are never so lineal, especially if you are not part of the privileged group. But please, don´t give up too soon. You are braver than you think, and we need you.