Ad Age is kicking off a new series, Creative Under Quarantine, in which we’re asking agency execs to document their lives in isolation from the COVID-19 pandemic—the good, the bad, the frustrating, the funny and the mundane.
For the first edition, we have Gustavo Lauria, co-founder of agency We Believers, the shop behind the multiple Lion-winning "Edible Six-Pack Rings" and notable work for Burger King like the "Traffic Jam Whopper." Here, he tracks a week of his life in isolation across two continents, in which he went from his home in New York City (before the pandemic hit hard) to Buenos Aires, Argentina to be closer to his family. For his shop, working remotely is the norm. Headquartered in "the cloud," We Believers' 27 staffers are spread out across New York, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Miami and Houston. But being isolated during the crisis threw a new hitch into the process, at least for its founder.
If you have a quarantine story to tell, get in touch with Ad Age’s Creativity Editor Ann-Christine Diaz at [email protected].
4 PM (NYC) The kid who lives in apartment 6H just asked if anyone’s told me I look like Tony Stark. I’d heard the comparison before, but this time it rang truer than others. While I’m clearly not the kind of guy who would risk his life just to save the universe, at this particular moment I feel I’m tapping into a superpower. The power of keeping cool while staying home all day every day. That’s basically my routine since we founded We Believers. The whole company works remotely from home. Six times a week between waking up and going back to sleep, I write, bounce ideas around, videoconference with the team, do a little meditation, try to stretch out the pain in on my left side, watch comedies, eat ham and cheese, sometimes burgers, perhaps a little ice cream (always stracciatella) then drink a beer or two. It’s a far cry from fighting Thanos, but if what’s being asked of everyone is staying indoors, it won’t freak me out in the least.
5PM I have to run to JFK. My mom convinced me that New York’s gearing up to be the next hotbed of coronavirus. Plus, she needs me in Buenos Aires and the Argentine government will be closing the country’s borders first thing tomorrow morning.
8 PM I can’t believe I’m cleaning the row of my 27K seat with a 99.9% effective alcohol-based wipe. What if this COVID thing is part of the other 0.1%?
9 PM “BEER!” That’s what I said three times to the flight attendant with no success. I wonder if it’s my accent or the facial mask I’m wearing …
9:15 PM I just realized I’m hiding from a pandemic virus behind a paper mask that the super of my building forgot after painting my apartment.
10 PM It’s a bumpy ride. So bumpy, I worry I might die before the virus has a chance to kill me. Meanwhile, the guy with a ponytail sitting in 26G is loudly sharing his pseudo-scientific theory that “the plane’s AC is so cold that it will kill any virus.”