Inside DDB Latina’s award-winning creative strategy

Headshot of DDB Latin president Juan Carlos Ortiz
Juan Carlos Ortiz, president and creative leader, DDB Latin markets worldwide (Credit: DDB Latina)

The agency network’s rigorous ‘Bullseye’ strategy evaluates local creative against an international backdrop.

Before DDB Latina revamped its creative strategy, the agency network would walk away with an average of three Cannes Lions per year. 

In 2021, DDB Latina was awarded 28 Lions. 

The regional network of DDB Worldwide that represents Latinos in the U.S., Latin America and Europe, generated 51% of creative results for the global agency at Cannes in 2021. But to do so, the network had to generate a consistent strategy across all of its agencies including Africa, Fahrenheit DDB, DDB Spain and even in the U.S., said Juan Carlos Ortiz, president and creative leader of DDB Latin markets worldwide. 

That was no easy feat. To develop award-winning creative across its network, DDB developed the “Bullseye strategy,” a rigorous creative benchmark used to evaluate creative across the network. 

According to Ortiz, the strategy takes creative developed by local agencies and holds it up against the backdrop of the wider network. A council of chief creative officers from every Latin office gathers and evaluates the creative with the CEO, and gives feedback to the development team to improve the quality of the ideas. 

As teams continue to develop the ideas, the council gathers periodically to re-evaluate and determine improvement. The process is repeated until the council determines whether the idea is a “bullseye” or not. 

The strategy allows DDB Latina to create a unified standard while maintaining cultural nuance from each of the network’s regional and ethnic groups. Typically, to avoid homogenizing Latinos, Ortiz says many ideas are rooted in shared behaviors, rather than particular ethnic traditions. 

“We respect the local markets very strongly, but there are many things from Latin culture that [leads to similar] behavior,” he said. “[For instance], we are a resilient culture. Living in crisis is the way [Latinos] have learned to live so that means that [Latinos] try to find solutions and are productive.” 

If an idea becomes a “bullseye,” the creative is considered for entry to Cannes. However to become a “bullseye,” the council of nine creatives must vote with a majority plus one to grant it distinction.

Ortiz said when it can, the network aims to reach unanimous agreement for “bullseye” campaigns. 

To nudge along the teams, DDB Latina also creates goal commitments across the network. Each participating agency commits to creating a certain number of “bullseye” campaigns at the beginning of the year. In 2021, the total goal for the network was 28, with each agency committing to approximately two or three “bullseyes” each. 

“Business and creativity are one; they are totally aligned,” Ortiz said. “So every office commits with a number of bullseyes every year and that's part of the process of performance.”

He noted that the strategy has also led the network to win a lot of new business, especially in Latin America, though he did not say how many new accounts it has brought on. 

Since implementing this strategy, 90% of DDB’s “bullseye” ideas have become Lions with 95% of unanimous “bullseyes” winning Gold, according to Ortiz. As a result, DDB Worldwide will implement the “bullseye” system across all of its regions starting this year into 2022.

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