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.


To be continued

Many people have trouble sleeping. In my case… I have a beautiful newborn called Sofia and also keep thinking I need to keep this blog alive. As if life with 2 little girls wasn’t enough, I added another kid to the family: my Blog. Yep, at 2:30am, apart from staring at my baby, catching up on Fb, Instagram and the chats of WhatsApp, all ideas come to mind. Therefore I decided to get rid of these drafts that have been sitting for a while on my WordPress. With few changes and edits, one by one they will overcome their shyness.


I worked with Ariadna US on different digital campaigns for the travel industry. I love travelling, so I considered myself the target. As part of the creative process, I started my research looking for brands that were doing an innovative work in this category.

  • JetBlue. It is not just an airline, it also offers flights, hotels, wheels and more via their JetBlue Getaways, but people didn’t know. That’s why they launched Get Away with it , the first-ever live online game show using Skype.  The show aired five times a day daily for five days and attracted a large audience, reaching fans on real time and promoting the airline’s vacation packages.JetBlue - Get away with it
  • Guy Cotten. French nautical outfitters launched a drowning simulator. Sortie en mer is  a realistic experience in which viewers continuously scroll up a page to stay afloat. Encouraging more people to wear life jackets when they go out at sea. Click on the link and try to stay alive, it’s good exercise to your fingers.

Sortie en mer - Guy Cotten

  • J. Crew.  If you watch “Travel with Style” you are going to fall in love with it [unless you are my brother and don’t care about ads at all]. The idea, shots, music, the way they play with the suits, everything. Casey Neistat is great at doing videos! This one is definitely an innovative way to show the product and a faultless job.

And after all the inspiring bits, I must confess is quite difficult to finish an article that started ages ago. I keep thinking the perfect end…writing and crossing lines (deleting in this case) and I’m still deciding the best way to finish it. Probably this post doesn’t need an end, it needs more practice. Writing is a habit and there is only one way to master it.

Shooting at the center

In the creative industry we  look for ideas 24 hours a day, no word of a lie.  Last weekend I was moving house, something to feel very excited about, but every time I was carrying a box, cleaning the place or unpacking, I was thinking of KFC. I had a presentation on Monday, so no time to bake a cake for the neighbours jaja…not that I was intending to. The idea had to be born over the weekend so I kept linking pieces of information in my brain, while assembling a cot. I’m glad I had the help of my UK family. Long story short, the idea came but the house is still a mess.

What’s the trick to getting an idea? When you need some inspiration, you must speak your mind and listen to what’s going on around you. Brainstorming with people from work is always effective. Researching and experiencing as much as you can about the product and the target will lead to discoveries. The classic online inspiration: vimeo, youtube videos, reading blogs, ad awards and case studies are all valid; if others did it you can too! And remember to keep an eye on the news (not really, the news is disappointing).

From all of them, my favourite is to listen to people who don’t work in advertising, they are my innocent source of insights and my real target. They skip ads instead of looking for them, they don’t know about Cannes and the campaigns with the most awards – but they teach you a lot about different topics. They are thinking outside of the box, because they are outside the box.

When I was fine-tuning my idea, my husband was watching a youtube channel called SMARTER EVERY DAY. You should watch it, it’s great! That’s how I discovered Byron Ferguson, an unbelievably good archer. He can shoot an aspirin in mid air. What?? Yes, he can hit an aspirin, with a bow and arrow. Impressive!

When people ask what’s the secret, he replies: “Shoot at the center. The center of the Aspirin is exactly the same as the center of a beach ball – it’s a point”. And that’s how good ideas should be born, by shooting straight to the point.

Hyperactive Mum

Today I’m feeling motherly, this is probably due to the fact I have a 9 month old baby. One of my good friends gave birth on Friday and also that May is mothers’ month in Latin America. I know I live in England but I can’t get over it….or maybe I want to celebrate it twice a year? Jaja probably. Anyway, here I am writing and feeling inspired by my baby Isabella. Isabellita to her friends.

I’m not planning to have a blog about my baby but with 27465 pics taken every day I should.  So let’s start with the truth.

“Sleep when the baby sleeps” that’s a lie. That’s your precious time to do everything else. When you have a baby, the word ‘selfish’ gets deleted from your brain, from that moment your life is not just about you, so bye bye selfies and bye bye sleeping till midday on Saturdays.

I have always been a bit hyperactive, so motherhood didn’t hit me that badly. I remember when a friend of mine was asking few months ago “Is Isabella good at night?” and I proudly said “Yes, she only wakes up at 11pm and then 3am and then 6am, so it’s fine”. She sounded surprised at the time and now that I think about it, I’m feeling surprised too. The thing is…when you become a mother you acquire super powers, somehow you start multitasking and transform yourself into a human being with endless energy. Yep, you never stop.

On TV ads, motherhood seems so cute and easy. Baby yawns, baby smiles, mother smiles, father hugs and all the family get together in the frame, then fade to white. In real life it’s this plus 100 more things. So it can be hectic at the beginning, but it’s amazing seeing your baby smiling, clapping, sitting back, learning from zero. It reminds you to explore and rediscover  things.

The most extraordinary thing is that being a mother puts some pressure on you, not only economically, but you need  to be the best that you can be, for their future and every day too as they copy what you do. Bear in mind, you are the person in charge of showing them the world, ah oh!

I was waiting until everything in my life was perfect to have babies; classic list: job, house…  but great things happen to imperfect moments. I managed to get a job whilst pregnant -and yes, they knew it before hiring me-. It’s a digital agency based in Miami and the time difference works in my favour. Sometimes I can’t concentrate and sometimes I don’t have much time, but I do my best and get my ideas on. How do you do it? You just do it! If J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter in a coffee shop with a baby, you can do whatever you want.

A baby is not an excuse stopping you from doing the things that you like. It’s the reason you should do them all.


1st of May or 1st of Jan

This week I met someone that has come to London for the first time. You would love seeing his eyes, his joy, energy, talking to people, looking around, not missing any detail. It reminded me of when I came to London back in 2006 (a looooong time ago, so don’t you dare to ask my age jaja) and also reminded me of the beginning of the year when our heads have plenty of plans, wishes and positivity. It’s all about novelty and starting from scratch. That fully recharges our minds, “This is going to be my year!” And if everyone was thinking the same this will be the year of millions of people.

May is starting today, yes, the fifth month is coming and yes, time flies. Straight to the point, have you accomplish any of your New Year’s  resolutions? Apart from dry January? Go back to your list, or create a new one. Imagine today is the 1st of January and you can do whatever you aim for. Here is my list:

1.  Start writing this Blog again, as this site seems to be abandoned, so I’ll tidy up the place and will give it a new look. Fresh start, even a new haircut for me, why not!

2. Read more. Not just from my mobile, this time I want to read a proper book. My husband reads a lot so he will be my benchmark. Any book suggestions? Feel free to send me some in the comments.

3. Keep the list short to make it happen.

Lastly, go back in time by watching this ad from Virgin. It can be your trigger.


Type R

I can’t stop watching this fantastic video: “The other side” by Honda. It makes a difference how instead of using split screen storytelling, it shows you one side at a time by playing with your curiosity. Here the viewer is in control and YouTube is taking another level. Let me know how many times you press R.

And I know I haven’t been writing for a while. It’s not fare having a Blog that only shares videos so I promise I will be back to my writing side.