Leo Creative Spotlight: The Essential Ingredients for Award-Winning Creativity, Q&A with EVP, Executive Creative Director Adriano Matos

The methods of creativity are often overlooked. Adriano illuminates the creative process behind award-winning work such as Beam Suntory’s “6ourbon 7ime”— and highlights how to unlock the power of creativity that inspires people to act and transforms lives.

Leo Burnett’s latest, “Creative Spotlight”, takes a dive into the illustrious experiences and minds of dynamic champions of creativity.

Adriano Matos, Global EVP, and Executive Creative Director, shares the essential ingredients for thriving and his perspective on the impact of remote work on the creative process. As an integral member of the team behind Beam Suntory’s “6ourbon 7ime”, which took home wins at this year’s ADC Annual Awards, ADDY Awards, The One Show, ANDY’s Awards, and Clio Awards — Adriano reflects on the inspirational success behind the work:

1. What are the essential ingredients of a successful creative process?

Creativity can only thrive if you have a combination of these ingredients: a purposeful brand, an interesting human problem to be solved, a team of talented and fearless creatives willing to take risks during the journey towards unexpected ideas, and an environment of trust, respect and ambition. On top of that, you need a collaborative client behaving like a real partner, building ideas alongside the agency, and pushing for the best work. When you find all these elements, great work comes naturally.

2. How do you unlock that level of creativity?

Pretty much everything that I listed in your first question. We had a great brief, a great team, big ambitions and a lot of excitement, and great people on the client’s end. We presented three ways in. I’m glad that they were smart enough to pick the right one. After approving 6ourbon 7ime, we moved to production and obsessively crafted each piece until they looked as beautiful and appealing as possible. I’m proud of the result.

3. How has the shift to remote work impacted the creative process?

It impacted both in positive and negative ways.

Positive: creatives have always struggled to find proper physical space in ad agencies to focus on the search for ideas. Trust me, coming up with great ideas demands great concentration, research, etc. Being at home, in a quiet environment, surely helps unleash ideas.

Negative: we lost the spirit of camaraderie and collaboration from the old days. It’s key for a creative crew to be able to spontaneously ask for feedback from a colleague, talk about amenities, exchange references, etc., and I miss it a lot. I know it’s a cliche, but hybrid is probably the right model where we can get the best of both worlds.

4. What inspired the Beam Suntory “6ourbon 7ime” campaign?

It all started with a clear problem to be solved: during the pandemic, we lost the commute and that blurred the barrier between working life and personal life. It was a very stressful moment for almost every American. A big problem looking for a big solution. Instead of a traditional campaign, we launched a movement inviting everyone to pause for one hour and enjoy a glass of bourbon. We kicked it off with a full-page ad in The New York Times and then unfolded the idea across multiple channels.

5. How have events like Creative Week affected your outlook on creativity in advertising?

It’s inspiring to see great work being celebrated. Jealousy and a healthy competitive spirit are great driving forces for creativity. I always leave those events wanting to be better, which helps me find new ways to improve my work.