Zachary Bautista, 28-year-old associate creative director at Canadian agency Rethink, comes from what he lovingly describes as a family of “black sheep.” His parents immigrated from the Philippines to the U.S. and made their living in atypically creative roles. His father worked as an art director for Boscov's department store, and his mother is a producer for local Filipino productions in Toronto, where they are now based.
Zachary Bautista makes 'crazy' ideas that move business for Heinz and more
Bautista says that upbringing helped set the stage for his own agency career, which has led to some of the strangest, yet buzziest, campaigns consumers have seen in recent years. He was one of the minds behind Heinz Ketchup’s all-red puzzle that debuted during the pandemic, a torturous celebration of the famous “slowness” of the condiment brand.
Bautista followed that with another elegantly simple way to prove Heinz’s iconic status—a campaign that asked everyday folks to simply “draw ketchup.” The crude sketches born from that exercise proved that Heinz was burned in the brain of most (save for one renegade who sketched mustard). Bautista says he’s naturally drawn to “weird, crazy,” impossible-seeming ideas that have never been done before. “When I Google stuff, if I can’t find a reference for it, that’s what gets me excited,” he says.
If you could have dinner with one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Neil deGrasse Tyson for sure. Anyone who can make math and science (my worst two subjects in school) exciting and engaging would be a blast to talk to. His general approach toward curiosity is something to admire and share with the world.
What are the top two social media sites you use on a regular basis?
Instagram has become my main tool for communication, while TikTok has become more entertaining than most streaming services.
What’s currently on your bedside reading list?
“How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler,” by Ryan North. It’s basically a manual of how things were made with quirky historical facts. (Fun fact: Roman numerals are a terrible system!)
What was the last show you binge-watched?
Not a big Netflix guy, but I did discover and binge a YouTube series by Game Maker’s Toolkit. Great video essays on what makes video games fun.
At what age do you hope to retire?
Ideally never! When you love what you do it never feels like work.