Next Creative Leaders

Next Creative Leaders is a portfolio competition that identifies, celebrates, and gives a global platform to talented, gender expansive creatives who are making their mark on the world with both their work and a unique point of view on creative leadership.

2020 Next Creative Leaders - NCL Profile

Mariana Albuquerque

Agency Mariana Albuquerque

Client NCL 2020


Latin America

Annual ID


Next Creative Leaders 2020 - Winner Profile

Mariana Albuquerque

Mariana Albuquerque

Sr. Copywriter
Rothco, part of Accenture Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)
Brasilia, Brazil

Hi! I'm a Brazilian senior copywriter at Rothco part of Accenture Interactive, in Dublin. I've been a copywriter since 2007, but my career only took off in 2016. This is the story why.

I've always dreamed of becoming a copywriter since I joined the University, in Brasília. Little did I know the odds were against me. It's one of the best countries to work in the creative industry, and one of the hardest places to grow as a creative woman. In Brazil, women are only 26% in leadership positions, but only 2% are in high leadership positions. I soon realised I wasn't going anywhere if I stayed in my hometown.

After I graduated, I decided to study at Miami Ad School São Paulo and start my career from scratch. When I finished the two-year course in 2013, I was wired as a Jr. copywriter at JWT/GTB. Although I loved working there, my 26 years-old me needed a job position that paid the rent. So I took a step back in better briefs and worked in BTL accounts for FIAT (ISOBAR) and later for General Motors (Publicis).

The silver lining of being an outcast is that when you're given a chance, you have no choice but to make the most of it. In Publicis, I was part of the winning team for the Carrefour supermarket pitch, one of the biggest one that was going on in Brazil that year. My performance on that pitch got the CCO's attention. He invited me to work on a brief that I believed I could make a difference. Long story short, my teammates and I created a campaign that placed Heineken as the first beer brand in Brazil to tackle sexist beer clichés. The Cliché was the most shared ad on Facebook in 2016. A year after (2017), it won a gold and two bronzes at Cannes Lions, along with One Show, LIA, and more local awards. This work has opened the doors for me. But I still needed to prove this was not a lucky strike.

A month after The Cliché was out, Ogilvy Brasil invited me to join their award-winning team. "I will give you briefs to shine", said the CCO to me. Hopefully, I did not let him down. During my two-year stay at Ogilvy, I created for global brands such as Nestlé and Pfizer, but it was in an internal pitch for Forbes Magazine that I proved that this latin LGBT woman here can create award-winning work for any brand. Even a white-male centric one such as Forbes.

Forbes' Ricky Brasil was awarded a gold and two bronzes at Cannes Lions; two golds at The One Show, it was featured all over the globe, including AdWeek, HuffPost and Contagious. I was ranked the 5th Brazilian writer at the One Show Festival, and 2nd writer in the Creative Data category in 2019. For me, Ricky Brasil was more than just winning awards. It was a relief. A relief on the impostor syndrome. Because winning two golden Lions two years in a row is not just about luck.

I realised I had a voice to help other women that felt the same way I once did. Since all that happened, I've been invited to teach at Escola Cuca (second biggest portfolio school in Brazil); to review portfolios at Miami Ad School, to be a career counsellor at Rothco, and a mentor at Tapa no Portifa (a non-profit project that helps young talents improve their portfolio). As a teacher and a mentor I do my best to show young talents that anyone from any background has what it takes to be a creative. I've given interviews at Globo (Brazil's main TV channel) about my side project called Universal Signs, I've given speeches about my career and creative process in Brazilian podcasts (Como você chegou aí?), Youtube Channels (Segue a Dev) and Instagram Lives (Lives pra que te quero from @HugoOxe).

In 2019, I decided to challenge myself once again. I came to Ireland - a smaller upcoming market - to work at Rothco Accenture as a senior writer. Here, I've done work for local brands such as AIB Bank, Tesco, The National Lottery, Dublin Bus, and Failté (Irish Tourism). I'm the only non-english speaker copywriter at Rothco, but this hasn't stopped me from finding my ways through groundbreaking ideas in a whole new culture.

I've broken the statistics. I'm a lesbian from the center of Brazil with more achievements that I could dream of. But it shouldn't have been so hard. I want to be part of the 26% so I can help raise that number. The best way to honor my story is to inspire and lead other LGBTQ+ and Latina women to have better opportunities than my generation. Whenever I become a leader, I'll never settle for anything less than gender equality and representation, so women won't have to struggle the way I did.

2020 Awards

NCL Regional Winner
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