Hugo Rodrigues






Never before has New York Festivals assembled an Executive Jury panel of this magnitude and executive level. The 2018 Executive Jury, is an elite dream team of Global Chief Creative Officers and C-Suite creative executives. Words like iconic, visionary, accomplished and influential, come to mind when describing these prominent award-winning creative leaders.  This April they will assemble in New York City for 4 days of live judging across all mediums—one panel of advertising giants, 30+ strong, all coming together to select the World’s Best Advertising®.

2018 Executive Jury member Hugo Rodrigues is Chairman/CEO for WMcCann Brazil. Hugo was on the inaugural NYF Executive Jury in 2011 and brings years of award-winning industry expertise to the jury panel. A scholar of consumer behavior, Hugo is obsessed with results and understands that brands wish and need quick feedback. After leading one of the biggest turnarounds in the ad market in Brazil and taking Publicis to second place in the agencies’ ranking, Hugo was chosen by the American group Interpublic to succeed Washington Olivetto as head of WMcCann.

Throughout his career Hugo has earned numerous industry accolades. He was elected twice in a row as one of the three most admired Ad Executives, according to the Agency Scope survey, conducted by the Spanish consulting firm Scopen. Considered the most important of the sector, the study interviewed the upper management of 405 advertisers. In 2016, the global social network Creativepool, focused on the creative industry, ranked Hugo as one of the Top 3 CEOs of the world.

Hugo was the recipient of three Caboré Awards, the most important recognition of the Brazilian Advertising Industry: in 2017 as Entrepreneur/Leader of the Communication Industry; in 2016, as President of the Agency of the Year and, in 2014, as Creative Professional of the year. In addition, he was nominated one of the most influential Ad Executives in Brazil by a GQ Magazine survey.

He has won 17 Lions at Cannes Festival for clients such as Heineken, Procter & Gamble, Swatch, Nestlé Purina, Chevrolet, among others, and was invited to be one of the Brazilian representatives as a jury member in Cannes twice.

Being a Juror:

New York Festivals: Why did you decide to accept the invite to NYF’s Executive Jury?

Hugo Rodrigues: The New York Festivals’ Executive Jury was one of the first, if not the first, to create an executive board to vote together in all of the Festival’s categories, and that is simply fantastic. Because the jury can have the exact notion of the whole and evaluate each piece in a more careful and grounded way. Obviously, winning becomes more difficult, and this often drives the inscriptions away, but the organizers' courage also fascinates me. That's why I feel very honored to be part of this Jury.

Working in Advertising:

New York Festivals: Tell us an experience (or two) that shaped the course of your career.

Hugo Rodrigues: Understanding that "no" is as important as "yes" - and that, for the most part, negative responses are not personal, but due to different beliefs.

Favorite Ads:

New York Festivals: Share your favorite ad that illustrates how advertising can change the world and tell us why you love it.

Hugo Rodrigues: It may sound showy, of course, but I truly believe in the power of "The Cliché" campaign we created for Heineken last year when I was still in Publicis, and we took women to the Champions League Final, while their husbands/boyfriends thought they would be in a SPA. I saw in the campaign a breaking of paradigms, empowering minorities and with concrete results - but all with a great sense of humor, with spontaneous engagement, without seeming something imposed. That is why, for me, it illustrates so well how we can change prejudices and improve a bit of a world that is still very intolerant.


Creative Leadership:

New York Festivals: What kinds of things (positive or negative) did you learn about being a creative leader from people you worked for along the way?

Hugo Rodrigues: I keep learning every day and it's obvious that I keep failing. When you really want to learn something, you can be sure that it will fail in the beginning ... And as the amount of changes in companies, in business, and in brands is increasingly out of control, I believe the best lesson is that you always feel as if you are an immigrant, because an immigrant knows he does not know where he is and needs to be humble, disciplined, and dedicated to try to understand and adapt.

New York Festivals: What do you look for when hiring new talent?

Hugo Rodrigues: It will always depend on the position that is open, it is not something pre-established. However, I believe that humbleness, discipline and dedication help a lot.

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