California Dreamin'

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Mauro Alencar
Mauro Alencar
He cut his teeth in the interactive hotbed of Brazil. He led clients like Nike and Heineken into the digital frontier at Blast Radius in Vancouver. He helped Xbox plant its flag atop the interactive mountain as executive creative director at AKQA. So for the well-traveled Mauro Alencar, the decision to blaze a new set of trails with Organic was simply—well, organic. The new ECD of the agency's San Francisco and Los Angeles offices surveys the landscape of his latest move.

AdCritic: What prompted your decision to leave AKQA and join Organic?

Mauro Alencar: The challenge to rethink, rebuild and re-invent Organic's creative team and bring Organic's creative work to the next level. I was having a lot of fun and doing work that I'm very proud of at AKQA, and it wasn't necessarily the easiest decision to make. But I really dug the holistic way in which Organic approaches every single project and the company's focus on creating exceptional digital experiences that go beyond typical campaigns.

AC: Will you be taking on more of a managerial role, or do you plan to keep your hands in the day-to-day creative process as well?

MA: Both. There are a few specific things that I will focus on from a management perspective, but I can't remove myself from the day-to-day creative work or I'll go crazy. Whoever worked with me in the past knows that I am extremely hands-on when it comes to the work. In fact, absolutely no work is presented to the client without me having some level of involvement, or at least taking a look at it. More than a person, Organic hired a creative vision that needs to guide the work. And, the only way to do that is by folding-up the cuffs and getting my hands dirty, too.

AC: What makes Organic the perfect place for you at this point in your career, and are there any specific clients or projects you're looking forward to working on most?

MA: I love Organic's utmost commitment to delivering an exceptional experience. After being here for about three weeks, I can safely say that that is much more than the agency's motto. Creative thinking and a passion for problem-solving are characteristics that are culturally pervasive throughout all areas of the company and not restricted to the Creative department. This is great because the ideas flow from every direction and you have a lot more to work with.

I'm really excited to work on the Sprint and Mitsubishi accounts. Sprint is an extremely innovation-focused brand that is pioneering digital delivery of multimedia content through its broadband wireless network. And, Mitsubishi is a passionate brand that stays true to their values like personality, quality, and excitement.

AC: You're jumping from one leading interactive agency to another. Do you feel that agencies like AKQA and Organic are still the best places for interactive work, or are the large traditional agencies finally starting to catch up?

MA: The large traditional agencies are definitely starting to catch up with the interactive agencies. But the opposite is also happening. We're seeing more and more examples of situations where the work developed by interactive agencies not only influenced the above-the-line work, but also defined and guided the development of entire campaigns.

The way I see it, there is no such thing as "offline" anymore. Everything is digital and somehow connected. For that reason, the media chosen to expose consumers to an idea should be a consequence of the idea itself and not the other way around. Right now, I believe that the interactive agencies have an edge over the traditional agencies because we were the first ones to embrace not only the web, but the entire spectrum of digital delivery communication strategies. And clients are starting to see that. In many cases, a smart, well-planned digital initiative can deliver the same or better results a traditional campaign would deliver, only for a lot less money.

AC: In what specific ways have your experiences at AKQA and Blast Radius prepared you for this new venture?

MA: I think Blast Radius and AKQA are two great companies that sit on opposite ends of the interactive agency spectrum. Blast Radius is extremely process-driven and AKQA is clearly creative-driven. I had a great time working at AKQA and I'll always be a big admirer of their work and of the way Tom Bedecarr
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