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Industry heroes: Anselmo Ramos

The founder of David (named after Ogilvy) in Brazil and new agency Gut in Miami, Anselmo Ramos, has always been someone willing to challenge industry norms in order to go down the path where other creatives feared to tread – writes Diego Barboza of Iris Singapore

My industry hero is a contemporary who has the guts to show clients ideas that he himself isn’t really sure will work. Ideas that will definitely make the client uncomfortable. For him, this is a good sign, as it proves that an idea is bold.

On the CV of Anselmo Ramos, we can see a bunch of Cannes Lions Grand Prix wins. But I can remember one that was the turning point for his career. It was Latin America’s first-ever Titanium Grand Prix – for Dove’s ‘Real Beauty Sketches’.

Ramos has achieved much

He played a pivotal role as the chief creative officer of Ogilvy Brazil. The impact of this work is undeniable. You can’t even begin to count how many great experiments were spawned after it. Suddenly, ‘experiments’ became a trend. One that refuses to die even today.

What was going on behind the scenes of this work is something that I will carry through all of my career. I was at Ogilvy São Paulo at that time and could see from the sidelines his ambition for the brief, how he pushed the creative team to come up with an unbeatable idea and how he led the process of turning it from a piece of paper into what it became.

Without his belligerence in seeking what was unique and relevant for the brand, Dove probably wouldn’t have won so many awards – or maybe the idea wouldn’t have come to fruition at all.

I’ll run out of words if I attempt to dive into the details and how positive it was for the agency, and for the creatives involved. Although I will recount one telling episode. After winning so many awards simultaneously with that work, Anselmo walked into the office with a funky new hairstyle that left everyone in awe.

This drastic change was just the beginning. It became the mark of a philosophy that he was implementing. His personal identity as a disruptive creative. All the ideas approved by him would always face immutable questions.

They included: Is that something I have never seen before?; Is that a first?; Is that a gold?; Could we transform this idea into a New York Times headline?; Is the argument new?; What is the better craft for that?.

The proof that all these questions were asked, and answered, for every idea can be seen on the trophy shelf at the agency. This approach led to campaigns like ‘Immortal Fans’, ‘Bald Cartoons’, ‘Celeb Grammar Cops’, ‘Proud Whopper’, ‘Burning Stores’, ‘Heinz’s Mad Men’ and ‘MACMA’s Manboobs’ to name but a few.

In my opinion a guy that led Ogilvy to win the 2013 Agency of the year at Cannes, opened a WPP agency as a founder, had the balls to name it David (inspired by David Ogilvy) and is now opening an independent agency called Gut is an industry hero.

He is not the most well-known creative by name. However, people certainly know his work. It speaks for itself and will leave a legacy that inspires many.

Nobody knows how what future holds for his new agency, although I’m pretty sure that good things will surely come as bravery is rewarded again. Anselmo will continue to be the person with the guts to put forward a bold idea and disrupt the game.

In fact, “No gut, no glory” is the motto for his new company. Indeed, there’s no glory in playing it safe. The ones who conquer the path that was thought to be unreachable are the crazy ones, who sometimes risk themselves and their beliefs.

The industry needs more of these characters, who have the courage to open the way for others. So thanks Anselmo for inspiring me with not only your work, but also that unforgettable hairstyle.

Barboza learnt a lot during his time at Ogilvy in Brazil

Diego Barboza is senior creative art director at the creative agency Iris Singapore

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