How two immigrants from Peru took a Dole campaign to the UN
For Hispanic Heritage Month, L&C's Gian Carlo Lanfranco and Rolando Cordova on how the Piñatex project helped propel their startup agency to a Cannes Grand Prix
Our final guest editors in our Celebration of Creative Excellence for Hispanic Heritage Month are Gian Carlo Lanfranco and Rolando Cordova, Peruvian immigrants and co-founders of New York agency L&C,
Born in Lima, Lanfranco and Cordova spent the past 17 years of their careers as creative directors of top advertising agencies, including McCann New York, Fred & Farid Paris, Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam and Saatchi & Saatchi Singapore before starting their own independent agency in New York City, L&C. In less than two years it has gained accolades including winning Ad Age A-List Newcomer of the Year. It was also named D&AD 2022 Top 3 Independent Agency of the Year and Cannes Lions 2022 Top 5 Independent Agency of the Year after winning the Grand Prix at Cannes for Business Transformation for Piñatex, their work for Dole Sunshine Company + Ananas Anam.
Piñatex is a vegan, sustainable leather alternative made from the fiber of pineapple leaves from farmers in the Philippines that would otherwise go to waste. The campaign offered an eco-friendly option to the fashion industry, with major fashion brands including Hugo Boss, H&M and Nike signing up to use the material.
Below, Lanfranco and Cordova discuss how Piñatex took their agency to new heights, as well as taking the client all the way to the UN.
With 18 years experience in four continents and the coveted Green Cards in our hand, we started L&C in New York City two years ago with no financial backing, but with a lot of passion for creativity, humility, and optimism of immigrants. It was our best and bravest idea; there was no plan B and we had no clients, but we knew if we could place one of our ideas in front of a client they would like it. The first six months were extremely hard, it was just both of us sending emails to friends we’ve worked with in the past, trying to find clients, doing proactive work to show to clients we didn’t even know. But we knew there needed to be a way to make this work.
We didn’t care if the opportunity was tiny; we just wanted one. And just like that we got our first assignment for Dole Sunshine Company, an internal project through our client Rupen Desai (Dole's global CMO) who had trusted in L&C since the beginning. We did this small project as if it was a Super Bowl assignment, we know it could open us the door or close it forever. And they loved it; since then we managed to do great work for Dole like "Malnutrition Facts," "Dear Leaders of the World "and Piñatex, which won a Grand Prix at Cannes Lions.
Piñatex was not a regular advertising campaign, but a business idea that has positively affected Dole, Ananas Anam, the farmers and the world we live in. This partnership would haven’t been possible if Dole didn’t involve all their divisions putting purpose at the center of everything they do, from distribution, to management, innovation, etc. It wasn’t only marketing, and we are extremely proud that we partnered with them on the past two years, working together to launch the Dole promises to the world, such a zero fruit loss from operations by 2025, which is the brief where the Piñatex partnership comes from.
We also found out last month that our work for Dole + Ananas Anam on Piñatex was shared at the United Nations SDG Media Summit as a world class example of sustainable development through actions and action-driven campaigns. That’s for sure the biggest award. We never in a million years dreamed that as Hispanic immigrants we would find our work at the UN.
We founded L&C in 2020 – a time when brands had to pick which side of history they would be on. The political and social upheaval of that summer made a lot of brands double down on bringing in diverse voices. It was also a time where the world had a common enemy in the pandemic and borders were becoming increasingly less visible. We knew communications could no longer be contained by country – brands required ideas that break cultural and geographical barriers. And who was better qualified than immigrants to develop those?
The one thing immigrants can do better than anyone else is observe. When you don’t know the language, you pay closer attention to everything around you. From these local insights you draw human truths – which are exactly what is needed for great advertising. Combined with the optimism, hard work and ingenuity of the immigrant ethos – there’s no question Hispanic immigrants are some of the best creators in our industry today.