Next Creative Leaders 2020: Marina Erthal
Posted on Oct 29, 2020
She / Her / Hers
Hometown and country:
São Paulo, Brazil
Current employer, city and role:
CUBOCC, São Paulo, Brazil, Creative Director
How did your upbringing, family or hometown shape you as a creative?
Growing up, my mom was my portuguese language teacher at school and she was always a brave, hardworking, creative and smart woman. I have always looked up to her and she inspired me. She always had great ideas, at work and at home. I grew up thinking that I wanted to have her intelligence– her creativity. So, for sure, I grew up near my biggest inspiration who shaped me as the creative person that I am today.
What’s your “breaking into advertising” story?
I have always loved creativity. I remember watching commercials on TV and later writing how I think they should be. I was never satisfied with what I had seen on TV. I started working early (age 16) in small agencies in Cuiabá, which is the city where I used to live. It was always my dream to work in a big advertising agency. So, when the reality show The Apprentice (Reality TV show hosted by Trump in the US and Justus here in Brazil) started their subscriptions, I subscribed. The prize was a one-year job at Y&R, the largest agency in Brazil at the time.
To cut a long story short, I was a very shy girl but I was selected and I participated on the show. I got confined for four months and I won the reality show because it was my dream to work in a big agency. I worked at Y&R for 11 years, so it was how everything really started for me.
What’s the piece of work you’re most proud of and why?
I really like "Princess Revolution". We developed a movement that brings together well-known female authors and illustrators to transform the role of princesses in classic stories. Children grow up listening to stories in which princes are always strong and brave, while princesses are fragile and defenseless. These children's classic stories are old fashioned and needed to be updated. So we did it and it was a really nice project for the whole of Latin America and all the money was donated to a empowerment movement for girls from "Plan International" brand.
What does being named a Next Creative Leader mean to you?
It means a lot to me. It makes me remember everything that I went through in the beginning of my career, when nobody believed in me. I always trusted that - someday and somehow - I would achieve my goals. Moreover, this could represent an inspiration for other girls in this role and career. If I could do it, they can do it too.
Who has most influenced you in your career thus far?
My mom and my former boss, Laura Esteves. I have worked with her for so long, about 10 years, and I always looked up to her, trying to learn everything and dreaming about the day that I could be in a high position like hers. She is brave, persuasive, creative, resilient, and she always has a good relationship with clients and she really knows how to deal with everybody. Moreover, she is always fighting for more space for girls in our difficult market. She is outstanding. She has influenced me to never give up.
What is your secret (or not-so-secret) creative super power and how do you flex it?
I don't give up easy and I'm very proactive. In our creative market this can be considered my super powers. Some jobs were already dead and because of my persistence they happened. My proactivity is also responsible for many jobs in my portfolio. I think this combo is my super power, which motivates and encourages me daily to go further. Besides that, I'm very curious about everything, so I am always reading, searching, and watching everything, from useful to useless things. We know that all these subjects become a creative input for me to create more and more.
Your Alzheimer’s work for the Metro was a huge undertaking for some really big personal impact. What did this experience teach you about the importance of storytelling?
In addition to storytelling, in this job we dealt with a delicate subject and a disease that affects the whole family: Alzheimer’s. So we decided to tell the most important story, which is the story of their own lives, and that is the real storytelling. We managed to capture people's attention because we presented a story in a really captivating way. The purpose of this narrative construction was to create an emotional bond. It was an exciting job and it has certainly marked my career. We saw people and families feeling emotional, so it was worth it.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing the creative industry right now and how would you solve it?
I believe that the biggest challenge is still how to place diversity and inclusion in positions of power and leadership (women, Black community and more) - without questioning the role and position. Today, when diversity comes to power, we hear a lot of questions, as if we/they did not belong here. The solution to this problem is to change mindsets. Changes are happening, but people's minds must still change.
What’s the biggest lesson that 2020 has taught you?
That we always need to use our creativity, it doesn’t matter where or what. We have seen many people being creative in these resilient pandemic times– trying to reinvent themselves to continue working and to make money– it's beautiful.
How have you pivoted your creative process/the way you work while sheltering in place?
Productivity is a state of mind. I work on time management and I organize my schedule. I try to work out during my lunch break (it works best for me) and I take my breaks during the day. I realized that if I don't take these breaks, my productivity drops. I found places in the house that make me feel good and more productive and creative, and these are the places where I am when I have to develop something. In addition to that, I write down my routine in a notebook so that I can have control over it.
How do you “fill up your cup” creatively?
My Kindle really fills up my cup creatively. I always read three books at the same time, on different subjects, and I choose the subject according to my mood. It really disconnects me from the world.
How are you caring for yourself during this stressful time? Any self-care tips and tricks you can share?
I was so stressed in the beginning of the pandemic and it really impacted my creativity, so I started doing boxing and yoga. It's amazing. While doing boxing, I put my stress away and with yoga I completely relax. Another important thing is to write down everything you must do along your day. For example: 8 am, 9 am, 10 am and so on. When you "see" your day, you can control it and be more productive. Try it. You will enjoy it.
How are you working to celebrate, support or elevate other marginalized voices and experiences?
I support them by providing free classes about creativity and copywriting for them to learn and reach their own place in the market.
Creativity can save the world. What real world problem would you want to tackle with creativity, if time, budget and logistics were not an issue?
You can see in my portfolio that gender equality is a cause that has really got to me. Maybe because it has really impacted me and I have already felt its effects in the past. So gender equality would be the problem that I would choose, and it is already something that I have been trying to fix with my creations and activations. I don't want other girls and women to go through what I went through. I aim for the road to be easier for them.
What or who is currently inspiring you?
Laura Esteves, Keka Morelle, Laura Florence, Andrea Siqueira, Carla Cancellara, Joana Monteiro and all these women that I follow all over my career who have achieved important positions in agencies, doing an impeccable job and inspiring us daily to go further and get there. They are creative, inspiring and still provide space and opportunities for other women, diversity and inclusion. I want to be like them.
How are you leaving the work, the workplace or the world a better place than you found it?
I teach online courses on creativity and copywriting to help students who are starting their careers. My goal is to make their trajectories less difficult than mine was. In this course I teach everything that nobody taught me and what I had to learn myself. I also give classes, lectures and courses on other topics like soft skills. I am always thinking about people's self development and aiming for them to be a better person in the future. Moreover, I’m always seeking opportunities at work to use the visibility of our huge clients to make a difference, and I'm trying to rely on my team diversity to change our advertising market.
If you could go back in time, what pivotal advice would you give yourself before your first day as a professional creative?
"Marina, they will disencourage you. Many people will make you prove yourself twice, even triple, but, in the end, it will be worth it. Use the difficulties as fuel to achieve your goals and continue believing in yourself and working hard. In the end, only the results of your work will count."