SEGARRA PUTS EMOTION, ADVANCED PRODUCTION IN SPAIN'S TV SPOTS

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BARCELONA-"I suppose I have a style without knowing what it is," said Toni Segarra, creative director for Delvico Bates. "It seems to me that's a defect in an advertising person."

Defective or not, Mr. Segarra, 33, is one of Spain's creatives to keep an eye on. Since bringing home his country's first Grand Prix from Cannes early in his career, his work, from humorous to emotionally hard-hitting to mood-evoking, continues to win awards and colleagues' respect.

Appropriately for someone who started out on the word side of the business-he majored in Spanish philology in college and had thought of being a writer-the first celebrated campaign tried to get kids to turn off the TV.

The ad is remembered in the industry as the Pippin spot, for the name of the dog whose acting was hailed. The spot was made for Spain's national public TV when Mr. Segarra was at then-independent Madrid agency Contrapunto.

Pippin tries to distract his young master away from the tube, but fails and sorrowfully packs up his bowl and leaves.

The ad won the Grand Prix in 1988, on his first tryout at the Cannes International Advertising Festival, where he also "had the great good fortune" to pick up a gold and a bronze.

What Mr. Segarra says he most admires is the U.S.'s and U.K.'s humor, especially that of small shops he used as models when he started in advertising after graduating from college in Barcelona in the mid-'80s.

A 1994 Cannes gold-winner for Dutch cheese board quotes theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, who says he has spent his life working on black holes, and it would be awful to discover they didn't exist. The text, with a shot of the holey cheese: "Don't worry, Stephen."

"Keeping informed is what I like the best," said Mr. Segarra, who will get an overview of agency work this year as a Cannes judge. He has also learned from his art director colleagues, as he has moved to a more visual style.

"Working with a lot of text is like facing a death sentence," he said. "People don't read; more and more they tend to have less time."

Ads like those from marketers Coca-Cola Co. and Nike rely on form and emotion, he said. "Products don't have many rational things to say either."

This move to better production is "the next step for Spanish advertising," Mr. Segarra said. Rather than relying on a simple idea, strongly presented, Spanish agencies are starting to make ads with a greater impact, with more attention to production.

His campaigns for Balay appliances-gold winners the past two years in Spain's major festival-emphasize that the appliances are quiet, safe or easy to clean. The campaign includes several spots shifting between the chaotic outside world and a peaceful interior.

The ads lead up to final shots of a building at night, dark except for the light streaming from an apartment filled with Balay appliances.

The agency could have simply explained the benefits, Mr. Segarra said, but tried instead to engage consumers' emotions. The campaign was Mr. Segarra's concept, but, like all his work, was done by a team, making its success difficult for him to attribute.

Mr. Segarra has been at Delvico four years, "which shows how content I am here."

He joined after being one of the founders of noted creative shop Casadevall Pedre¤o & PRG, where it soon became clear the match would not work.

A true Catalan, his other work stints have been in Barcelona, except his two years at Contrapunto. "Madrid is a tough city. I stood it as long as I could," he said.

Before and after Contrapunto, he worked at Vizeversa (now owned by Euro RSCG), first as a copywriter, then as creative director.

Fresh out of college, Mr. Segarra and his brother started an agency, Vinizius, bought by Young & Rubicam after he left.

Someday there could be another agency of his own. "In the long term it's the only possibility," Mr. Segarra said, but "I'm very happy here."

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