How are you, really? By Cannes Lions

I haven’t been networking for ages. While living in London it was so easy to attend all the courses and events at least once a week. Now that I moved to Essex and after having 2 kids, escaping for 3 hours to London requires a “bit” of planning.

Anyway, I made it last week to How are you, really? an event organized by Cannes Lions See it Be it. Unlike most chats, where the speakers tell us about their jobs, case studies and success (and we end up wanting to be like them), this event was focused on us, the audience. I guess the title can tell you that, so let me tell you the rest.

How are you really

Michelle Morgan started with an honest and touching talk sharing her story about the time when she had a burnout. Yes, it can happen to anyone. She is the co-founder of Livity and despite loving her job and working in the industry for many years, one day it suddenly happened. (FYI a burnout is exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress). The talk opened the topic for mental health and depression, in the Q&A more women shared their stories and also advice on how friends and family can help. I must confess my eyes welled up with all the stories but shhhh don’t tell anyone. If you know someone going through difficult times, just be there for them, to make dinner, to change the topic and most importantly to listen. Michelle was wearing pjs, 6pm is maybe is a bit early for them but she was showing us her new venture called PJoys. Confirming that after every storm the sun always shines, and brave people like her get to move on.

Sukhvinder Pabial followed, sharing great advice on how to deal with this s*** . Pardon me! How to deal with all the stress and concerns. Basically by removing ourselves from that situation and thinking of the positive. We spend too much time worrying and don’t give permission to ask ourselves when we had a moment full of joy. I tried to write down some of the exercises so you can join the club.

1. When was the last time you felt vibrant? ____________. What do we mean by vibrant? What made you the happiest person in the world? Gratitude is a very important thing.

2. Can you think of 3 good things that happened to you today? 

1________2________3________

Is it difficult to come up with some answers? Maybe as adults, we became too complicated. Kids have no concept of holding back, they reply immediately to this. Lastly, there is more to life than being at home or being at work. People tend to have 2 places where they spend most of his time so

3. Where is your third place?________________. Where are you taking care of yourself? What’s that thing that you do and make you feel rejuvenated? I’m not pretending to be a therapist (I’m quite far from it) but in this article maybe. Just ask yourself the simple questions. Sometimes the greatest answers are those that we are not looking for.

Then we left our seats and started dancing and singing. Yes, we are mad! Blame Dr. Amy Rachelle on stage, sharing her 6-step system for a complete mind, body and spirit workout. If you have 6 minutes a day (which I’m sure you do) use them to power yourself.  Amy remarked on the importance of putting yourself first. We seem to be busy taking care of everybody else, thinking that we have super powers with no need for a break. Although, it’s essential to take that little time to pause, clear your head of thoughts and feelings – recovering your healthy self, instead of letting your body deplete.

Just when I was thinking I was in the perfect yoga retreat, the event took us back to the ad world. Jaki Jo Hannan, Senior Art Producer at AMV BBDO gave a fantastic talk about self-care & love in a fast-paced industry. Starting with a pic of herself with braces in her teens, Jaki Jo opened the door for a conversation about confidence and self care. She shared her own experience with honesty and humour all the way; simple statements such as ‘Sleeping the hours you need, not having sugar at night, taking yourself on a date and writing as a therapy’ became relevant when you see her on stage. She is a spontaneous and thriving woman, having worked her way up from intern to integrated creative Senior Art Producer. Recently she launched EqualLens her 50|50 Photography Ambition creating new and equal opportunities for female photographers in advertising.

We are almost there, so time to breath. That was the last piece of advice by Anthony Abbagnano. How such a simple tool as your breath can be used to transform your life.

That’s it. Time to ask yourself How are you?

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Let’s talk about maps

We are probably obsessed (let’s say we instead of just me) about doing check-ins at fancy places so the world can be jealous about our days. We are obsessed with locations but nobody cares about maps. Contradictory ah!?

I decided to do a little research to update my Cartography brain and discover some of the fantastic things when mixing tech and maps.

Read more…

I was invited to write for Disruptica’s new blog – Join me there.

 

 

My secret friend

I’m going to tell you a secret. About one of the youngest souls I’ve ever met. Back in the day, almost a decade ago, before I joined the Monk family. Not many people trusted the Colombian dating Daniel Monk. They knew I was quiet and smiley at Sunday lunches (my two or three hours of intensive English, trying to catch up with all the members of the family) They knew I was studying English and working at cafes, restaurants, bars and various roles during my leap year from advertising. Some of them never understood a word of what I said because of my accent, others welcomed me with a smile and a pint of beer 🙂 But everything went wrong when we decided to get married in Colombia ah oh! Just a few months after the proposal, it was the Battle of Hastlings! Although, after living in the UK, I understand now why Dan’s family got upset with the sudden news as British people plan everything a long way in advance. At that time, I was thinking of love, a wedding on the beach, a great goodbye to my family in Colombia and happiness.

Despite all the circumstances there was one person that accepted me from the first day. She knew her grandson was happy and that was enough.

She was the most modern Granny I’ve known, back in 2009 she was using email, ebay, facebook and everything to keep in touch with her family. Wherever we were, she was the childish one in the room, doing silly things and making people laugh. I think that’s why we became good friends as I deny the fact that we need to grow up! Therefore we started gossiping online, asking how Monday was going?… asking about the wedding planning?…  I told her it was going to be a hot day and this was her reply:

As far as your dress is concerned, if it is going to be that hot I suggest you have a nudist wedding !

We kept sending funny attachments, having tea rooms in our emails and sometimes secret Pentagon communications. I was just talking about life and she was teaching me old English sayings: (to name a few)

Straight from the horses mouth

It will all come out in the wash

She was wise and also beautiful, always looking elegant but never showing off. She married the most handsome British guy I’ve seen in pictures (probably shouldn’t say this on the post :P) and looked after her family as her treasure. When the Monks adopted the Colombian, she became my angel in the UK (as my mother used to say)

My secret friend was bilingual as well. Every time my Mum came from Colombia, there she was inviting us to try her specialities at home and speaking the few Spanish sentences that she had learnt. She made an effort, yes, she was always going the extra mile with everything and that’s what makes her special.

I have read the emails we used to exchange again, it makes me laugh and it makes me cry. Not in that same order.

Well Martica the time has come !!  We have sent your future husband to you and are entrusting him into your care.
He is very precious to us so make sure you take care of him which I am sure you will do !!

We love you too and wish you all the happiness in the world. !!

I do hope the baby does not kick too much on the wedding day. lol

xxxxx

I can copy and paste loooots of our emails, so you could imagine or remember who she was, but that’s not the agreement. A secret friend listens to you and keeps all your stories in a secret place, tries to understand and sometimes gives you advice, making you stronger, making you better.

I remember her today, on the 14th of July, on her birthday. Her name is Betty and she will always be my secret friend.

Maybe this is the saddest article I have ever written. Sometimes sad beginnings lead to something good.

 

 

Start

This is something I read yesterday and became the first thing I want to read today and tomorrow.

“…The willingness to start is the littlest thing in life that makes the biggest difference.

Step onto the field.

Stand up in the meeting.

Raise your hand in class.

Get under the bar.

Walk up to the podium.

Ask the first question.”

 

start1

Read the full article here: Why Getting Started is More Important Than Succeeding .

P.S. There is an interesting reading list too. But remember less reading and more doing.

We are not afraid

Nunca se me olvidará la cara de felicidad de mi Mamá cuando vio el Big Ben. Se paró de la silla a contemplar la torre, los edificios antiguos, los árboles, el cielo, la cabina roja, el río y todo lo que estuviera presente. Y aunque le dijeran en los 5 idiomas del tour que por favor se sentara; ella solo sonreía y memorizaba cada cosa. 

Westminster es también uno de mis sitios favoritos. Es el lugar que visité cuando llegué por primera vez a Londres y aún después de 524.000 visitas más, me causa la misma admiración. #wearenotafraid #prayforlondon

Why I refuse to watch “Narcos”

Because I’m bored. I’m bored of people only relating Colombia to drug trafficking and jungles.

Yes… it’s a stereotype, yes… most of countries have a stigma…  yes, we had big drug cartels in the 80’s and 90’s, but there are far more interesting things to know and learn about Colombia.

My fellow countrymen and I have had lots of problems because of this. To tell you a few, airports are a nightmare when you proudly show your Colombian passport; you are at least getting stopped and missing your connecting flight. My brother had all his trainers stabbed at Panamá, all of them (so every time it rains a great memory comes to mind). Some friends have been stopped for hours and scanned with X-rays, I saw when someone in the queue had lots of souvenirs and tablets of chocolates opened and destroyed into tiny pieces -“Ok, no drugs here, carry on”-said the officer- Thank you! Lastly… I’ve heard the comments… -so your teeth are white because of cocaine? – there are plenty of silly comments and stories but I’m going to stop here, because this post is not about the bad.

Don’t get me wrong, we have our problems and every country does, although I don’t like news, documentaries and now tv series promoting the bad for years and years. There is nothings else to say? Come on people!

Instead of getting to know about Escobar, I will teach you other surnames so next time you meet a Colombian you can establish a proper conversation with a different topic.

Keeping with the sporty spirit after the Olympics. Why don’t you Google Nairo Quintana? The first Colombian in history to win both the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España. Have a look at his documentary called “Little Big Man“.

Have you read any Gabriel García Márquez books? His Noble Prize winning novel “One Hundred Year of Solitude”? According to Vox, this book has the greatest opening of any book ever (ahhhh now you are feeling like reading, aren’t you?) If you aren’t the book worm type, read one of his short stories A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings and get an idea of his extraordinary work.

Not all Colombians are short, have a look at the power of long legs. Clic on the link and watch Caterine Ibargüen winning the women’s triple jump Olympic gold medal in Río.

Have you seen the latest video of Shakira and Carlos Vives? Let me rephrase it, have you danced “La Bicicleta”? It has a great rhythm and you can go for a stroll around Barranquilla (a city on the coast). Yes, we do have cities and shopping centres.

Nevertheless if your mind keeps calling for Medellín you should get to know about ‘Boterismo’. Have you stumble across a fat sculpture in an airport or a square? If so, you have found Fernando Botero‘s work. We call it “Las gorditas”, people and figures in large, exaggerated volume, which can represent political criticism or humor, depending on the piece. Botero’s sculptures and paintings are exhibited in NY, Paris and several places around the world.

Start remembering other Colombian surnames, like QUINTANA, GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ, VIVES, BOTERO and not even just surnames of famous people. I know many Colombians that make me proud, starting with los TOLOSA, a fantastic family that likes spontaneous trips and have always been there for me. J.P. SALAZAR, founder of the first team of wheelchair rugby in Colombia, promoting social inclusion and encouraging many people with disabilities to get involved with sports, M. GARCIA, brave enough to start her food business in London, D. VARGAS exhibiting and selling breathtaking paintings, V. ALBA and her spectacular fashion at Bendita Seas, talented art directors, planners, engineers, doctors, …

There are many Colombians with an interesting life story, they are the ones that can teach you the real Colombia. Happy, strong and imperfect and that’s how I love it.

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Unlimited Day

Last Wednesday I was part of the team representing Ariadna at the Unlimited Day, an annual event held by Creston that aims to gather all the independent agencies within the network: The Unlimited Group, a day to showcase the best work, award innovative ideas and to inspire the group by showing ambitious goals and our journey there.

A hot choc started my day -I needed some calories for an Unlimited Day. The morning flew by with great speakers and case studies, really good work from brands targeting Mums such as Aptawell and Babycare, based on insights that made me feel truly identified with.

The multi-awarded campaign Bad Barista, demonstrated that pharma can be rather creative, disrupting the boring communications doctors receive day after day. It also showed how important is branding in pharmaceuticals.

Bad Barista.jpg

TMW was on stage, showing us how they revamped Lynx on digital, with a more human and real approach by launching the  #MenInProgress series. Short stories that challenge perceptions of the modern man, the ones that cry, laugh, share thoughts, feelings; speaking their mind in a wonderful way and celebrating masculinity regardless of background, race, or sexual orientation.

Men in Progress.jpg

18 Feet & Rising impressed me with the work they did for House of Fraser last Christmas, breaking all the rules for a traditional ad. The 100-second ad is a powerful mix of quirkiness, fashion and music in an stylish and distinctive way. The idea behind ‘your Christmas, your rules’ is to invite people to embrace their own quirks and traditions, that is what makes the holidays special. And watching the video on a big screen is a completely different experience!

Will Hart from Canon shared his views as an Unlimited Client, from a very honest and motivating point of view. Basically, when mobile phones gave the user the option to take pictures, the camera industry collapsed but they remained strong. As partners, client and agency work together to find a solution. Now the business is evolving and finding profitable opportunities in the printing market.

David Davies, Managing Director of Content at Cannes Lions, started the afternoon session, highlighting the importance of Creativity, recalling moments from the festival, keynotes from different speakers, brands charts and even books bringing up the debate between creativity and business results.

The case for creativity.jpg

 

“The most intimidating thing a client can do is trust their agency.” David Droga

After all the inspiration, it was time for the Expo. A slot in the agenda where companies had to introduce themselves to the group (like speed dating without the drawbacks). We met teams from all across the globe, agencies from Germany, US, UK, Japan, everywhere. Ariadna brought the Latam quota to the network, from February 2016 we joined the partnership, so if you didn’t know you could work with a sister agency in Miami, Colombia, Brazil and most countries in South America, now you know!

Time was against us, so we kept getting to know each other during the BBQ, also -chatting flows better with a drink. At the end of the day, I had 3 words in my mind: Diversity, Collaboration and Innovation .

Theoretically, the Unlimited Day finished, but for me it hasn’t. Every day we can be part of a team, give our best, get inspired by others and discover unlimited opportunities.

 

Mixed herbs can teach you a lesson

Last week I went to Sainsbury’s for a quick shop and found out they had changed their entire spice section. Writing about spices and supermarkets, it could sound quite boring right? But it gets better so keep reading.

The thing is… I couldn’t find the brand that I usually buy, ironically I don’t remember its name, I just know how it looks -it’s the little jar with the green lid. Branding fail or not? My brain only remembered the visual aspect, so when I was looking for mixed herbs, oregano … bla bla bla, they are all now branded Sainsbury’s. As I’m in the ad world I started analysing the packaging, label, typography, colours, they all look clear and simple. The design is quite good and functional, the best thing: now you can read what you have from the top, (before there was only a big letter and the herbs’ name in tiny tiny letters), and while cooking you don’t have time to play the game of lifting 3 or 4 spices before you find the one you need.

According to Campaign Live the dry culinary complements market in the UK, which includes herbs, spices and seasonings, is worth about £92m.  So when Sainsbury’s starts branding their own herbs they are getting a big slice of the category. There are business opportunities everywhere, even on little things such as seeds and spices.

That day I organised my laptop, created a plan and now I’m contacting small businesses who want to do great things. The big lesson here is start seeding.

We tent to think that making a smart move is making a big move. Sometimes small steps can get you further.