It was a big shock when Andre Kassu and Marcos Medeiros, leading executive creative directors at Brazil's renowned Almap BBDO agency, suddenly quit to do a startup with CP&B seven months ago in Sao Paulo. With a third partner, Vinicius Reis, they used the Fasano luxury hotel as a temporary headquarters until moving the now 12-person staff into a permanent office this week.
They're already winning business. The creative duo's relationships and experience with Anheuser-Busch InBev beer brands at previous agencies helped land the new shop a coveted spot on the beer marketer's roster. The agency will launch Corona beer in Brazil, and also won a special projects account that will include global collaboration with A-B InBev. In addition, CP&B Brazil will launch a new Mondelez brand in Brazil, and will be the creative agency for two publications at Brazil's biggest magazine publisher Editora Abril.
It's a busy time for Mr. Kassu and Mr. Medeiros, who have been a copywriter and art director team for more than seven years and are now partners and chief creative officers at MDC-owned CP&B Brazil. While Mr. Medeiros and Mr. Reis were moving into the Sao Paulo office this week, Mr. Kassu was on a whirlwind trip to New York and took a few minutes between getting his latest tattoo and speaking at Advertising Week to participate in this week's edition of "Six Things."
He wanted to be a professional harmonica player, but his parents made him get a job. "My dream was to be a blues player," he said. He loves the blues, and knows all the music. Why the harmonica? "It's easy to carry."
He accepted the job at his last agency Almap because no one thought he would. It was an odd way to make a job offer. Mr. Medeiros contacted his friend Mr. Kassu about joining Almap as his creative partner, but said he knew he wouldn't take the job. That bothered Mr. Kassu, even though he was happy at F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi. "Why do people think I'm here forever?" He made the move.
Swimming is his therapy. He swims every day for an hour at lunchtime, and that daily workout has gone from being just a relaxing activity to a serious one since he started entering competitions. Funnily enough, Mr. Medeiros was a star swimmer and missed qualifying for Brazil's Olympic team by fractions of a second. Now Mr. Kassu is the team's swimmer, and he encourages everyone in his creative department to find an exercise they enjoy.
He got his eighth tattoo on the way to Advertising Week on Tuesday. It's on his leg above the ankle, an anchor with the word "Family." "It has a lot to do with my new phase at CP&B, and staying grounded, and not having a big ego." We don't know what the other seven tattoos are for. He hired someone for the new agency who has nine elephant tattoos (CP&B has a figure of an elephant in the Boulder office). It was a sign.
He secretly reads faster than you. So fast that people get annoyed with him because they believe he's only pretending to be reading. He sees his daughters Julia, 12, and Clara, 10, reading faster and faster, and now he wonders if they really are reading….
If he had it to do over again, he would major in psychology. His wife Penelope is a psychologist "and you feel like she's always analyzing you." But that helps keep him grounded, and "helps us understand what we're here for." So while other creatives are poring over the latest D&AD annual, Mr. Kassu is reading Jung. Really fast.