Towards the end of last year, I attended a lecture called Creating Creatives, led by Founder and Creative Director at Firefly Ad, Hector Prado. To say the least, the lecture I had an advantage to attend was very insightful, inspiring and breath-taking.
I won’t be able to recreate the entire lecture and to select all the right words and tone to make you feel like you attended the lecture yourself, but I will try to recap the most important parts of it.
While the class was waiting for speaker Hector Prado to arrive and our professor was slowly growing anxious, a janitor came in to pick up the trash bags and to sweep the floors. The janitor had fallen behind his schedule due to rainy weather all day and had to clean this room before his shift ended. Our professor tried asking him to leave and come back after the lecture, but janitor insisted that he had to clean the room because that was his job. Our professor didn’t seem very happy to hear that he will be delaying and distracting the students and asked him to leave again because we had a very important lecture. Janitor grew curious and asked what the lecture will be about. Professor went ahead and told him that it was about, “creating creatives, basically a lecture about how to be inspired and how to make a memorable, impactful, one of a kind campaigns”. Janitor then said, “well that is easy to do”. Our professor was surprised to hear a janitor to make such a statement and asked him, “how so?”. Janitor put his trash bag and broom in a corner, took of his janitor’s suit, and introduced himself as Hector Prado.
Impressive entrance, right?
H. Prado began by introducing himself and how he got into an industry. He told the us that he once went into a meeting dressed like a janitor. He was trying to get a job, but didn’t really have an agency, so it was close to impossible to get a client without any proof of experience. So he improvised and dressed up like a janitor. He told us that by going to the meeting and trying to win the hearts of these executives he, “had everything to gain and nothing to lose”. He told his potential clients that advertising agencies concentrate on a product but not about the user. In order to stand out, they must ‘sell’ their empathy for the user. They must show the user that they are with him and that the user is understood and cared about. “Its not about the broom being able to clean the floors”, he said, “all of them clean and smell nice”. The product must be about the person that holds that broom and that works so hard.
As you might have guessed, he did get a job and right away hired people into his agency. His creative team came up with a singing contest for a cleaning product, Festival inviting everyday people to come and experience singing. The sales of the product rocketed because people could relate to product. Because the company understood their desire to sing and to be heard. At the end, it is about the customers experience and empathy with the product and the brand.
H. Prado shared with us, that a lot of times he is inspired by his daughter. He said that his daughter helped him “see the world for the first time, fresh, like a child“. We are truly tired and blinded by everyday life and sometimes we don’t see the obvious, and it becomes so hard to get inspired and to create something truly outstanding and memorable. Every ad becomes just another ad. They don’t stand out and they don’t make a difference. A broom is just a broom, be it purple orange or green. So you have to just forget the world how it is for a moment and try to look at everything like you were seeing it for the first time. You will be surprised how your mind works.
Throughout the lecture, Prado continued giving us beautiful and inspiring examples of his work that actually were impactful and memorable.
He finished the lecture just as surprisingly. He stood up on the table and said “there are five steps to inspire a creative person”; he started to unbutton his shirt and said “you must take away your fears…”, he dropped the shirt on the floor, kicked his shoes off, started to unbuckle his belt, “…lose laziness and believe in yourself”, and he took his pants off, standing in front of the auditorium full of people with his underwear and undershirt. Then he continued by putting his clothes back on, “Put on: curiosity, common sense, find wow factor, take risks and have fun”.