Born in Santiago of Chile, Gonzalo grew up professionally in Lowe Porta (today known simply as Porta). It all began in 2004 at AllNightLowe, a competition to select the future trainees of the agency. Almost like a script written for this interview, Gonzalo won. Nine years later, he has transformed himself into an important part of the creative team of one of the most exciting agencies of the Chilean industry; but not before having treated himself to a season in European territory, “basically chasing a love a little too young and a little too passionate, and being young and passionate it wound up not working”.

Do you remember the moment when you decided to be an advertising agent?
I have liked advertising ever since I was a child, but instead of studying it, I went into engineering, because when I was a child, my father had put the doubt in me that advertising was a joke and I believed him. The bad thing is that I didn’t know that advertising was a good joke while  engineering, on the other hand, was a bad joke. After two years I switched the bad for the good and was considerably happier. It was this, or that.

There is a reputation of triviality within the advertising environment… Where do you think it comes from?
I don’t know which part of the job we’re talking about when we speak of “environment”. But if it’s about the advertising itself, maybe it’s because not everything we do is important. And a lot of it is, indeed, trivial. The magic lies in convincing our customers that everything we do is for the people, and if we manage to do that, the picture changes dramatically. If they in doing business and we in communicating both really understand the power we hold and the things we can achieve, it’s another story.

Are there methods to create an exciting campaign?
Yes. With a relevant message for the people, made believable by the brand that sends it out, in an execution so new, refreshing and attractive that it doesn’t go unnoticed. The problem is that sometimes a brand thinks that what they have to say is interesting, when it’s not. That’s why things go much better for the brands that enable conversations than for the brands that simply describe the products. You just have to listen to people during lunch, or on the bus, and see which advertisements are the most talked about. The rest is invisible, money and work thrown out of the window.

What’s the biggest satisfaction for an advertising copywriter?
I can’t answer for everyone, but for me it is what I was just saying. There’s nothing more amusing and fulfilling than to hear someone say: Have you seen the last advertisement from Cristal? The guy who comes up with this stuff must be a genius. And you’re sitting behind him eating some chips; lovely.

How about winning a Lion at Cannes?
I lost respect for awards a while ago. Basically because I believe it’s bad to think that a piece is worth more or less when a special jury thinks this or that about what has been done. Furthermore, do you know that nobody has seen 80% of those pieces that have won a prize, and if nobody has seen them they don’t exist, and if they don’t exist, I don’t know what we, the copywriters of this world, are doing, playing at showing each other what we do in our free time.

What characteristics are vital to be a good copywriter?
The will to make people feel something with what you do. It’s a little like being an “entertainer”, wanting your piece to marvel people. With fear, humour, drama, it’s the same… As long as they leave the theatre thinking it was worth it.

How do you grade the South American advertisement nowadays compared to the rest of the world?
More established. The distances are getting shorter and shorter, there are few things we cannot do. In general, the big differences are the result of the capacities for investment. The financing that a global beer brand based in London can make available for a project is not the same as what can be provided by a local South American brand. But for now I think it’s the only thing. The talent and will are there, but above all, I think the region has done a really good job in attributing an attractive Latino stamp. In the past, we used to make advertising the way it was done in Europe. Nowadays, we do it with a more local identity, and that has made us stronger.

There is a very large market of South Americans occupying positions in European agencies. What do you think the South American idiosyncrasy can bring to the communication, in a culturally different scope?
Human sensitivity. I admire the Argentinian ability to tell the truth, for example, it’s as if they had invented the insight. I feel that publicity in Europe (not all of it) relies more on the symbolic, on the analogies, shapes, even in the very interesting rational proposals, but I don’t know if they have the South American capacity to move, to make me feel that I was told something I already knew but had never thought about.

Where does the publicity you admire most come from?
That would be the British one, for the simple reason that I feel it’s the most consistent one when it comes to adding substance to form. For me they are the most strategic. They plan everything knowing they will exploit it for years with success; around here it’s more a “one by one” type of thing, I don’t know if we have that kind of clarity.

If it was up to you to change something in today’s advertising system, what would it be and why?
The payment system. Currently the agencies are not encouraged to provide the best possible work. If you have work to deliver you charge a fee, and no matter the quantity or quality of the work you provide, you always have the same payment. If it’s a percentage of the exposure on the media, the agency is obliged to consider the traditional media because it’s where it makes profits .Creativity ends up by limiting itself to the small number of areas where it can make profit. However, let us assume that the agency charges a percentage of a company’s benefits. The figures involved don’t matter. If it was like this, you would see the copywriters of any agency thinking of how to make a business grow.

How do you imagine the publicity process in 20 years?
More diversified and twisted than today. Today we keep thinking about one or another form of publicity. The day will come when the briefs will not include the suggested media; they will propose an objective within a narrative looking for the idea that will achieve it. What is this idea like? Where will it exist? This is the thinking of the future.

What do you like most in your profession?
To feel that others are willing to pay to see things that we’ve come up with. It is wonderful.