2 Mins With ... Carlos Alija and Laura Sampedro of MullenLowe LA

The Spanish ECD pair's globetrotting adventures in creativity

Laura Sampedro and Carlos Alija joined MullenLowe last fall to head creative at the agency's burgeoning West Coast office. The duo, known for their global work for brands from Coca-Cola to Honda to Lurpak, relocated from New York, where they had been group creative directors at Anomaly.

Laura and Carlos' careers have spanned four countries on three continents, working at Wieden + Kennedy London, BMF in Australia, and BBDO Madrid and then Sra. Rushmore in their home country of Spain. 

We spent two minutes with Carlos and Laura to learn more about their backgrounds, their creative inspirations, and recent work they've admired.


Carlos and Laura, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

• Carlos: I grew up in a cold small town in the north of Spain where it's always raining. Living in Sydney and Los Angeles has made up a little for that.
• Laura: I was born in San Sebastian, Spain, but I have lived in Valencia, Brussels, Paris, Madrid, Sydney, London, New York, and now I have just moved to L.A.

What you wanted to be when you grew up.

• Carlos: A graphic novel artist. 
• Laura: A human rights activist … or some sort of artist.

How you discovered you were creative.

• Carlos: When I was 10, I wrote and directed a comedy play about the Cold War, which my peers then represented.
• Laura: When I was 9, I started writing a diary and won an art contest.

A person you idolized creatively growing up.

• Carlos: Steven Spielberg.
• Laura: Pablo Picasso.

A moment from high school or college that changed your life.

• Carlos: I met someone in my dorm who studied advertising and found out that it was an actual career path.
• Laura: When I got a grant to study in Paris, I knew that traveling was not going to be enough, that I was meant to live in different places.

The first concert you saw, and your favorite band or musician today.

• Carlos: Prince in 1990. Leonard Cohen will always be my favorite.
• Laura: The Beach Boys. I've been listening a lot to Blick Bassy and Amadou & Mariam lately, but I am an absolute Beatles nut.

Your favorite visual artist.

• Carlos: I have an endless list of painters. I'll name the Spanish Fab Four: Velazquez, Goya, Picasso and Dalí.
• Laura: Fauvists. Can't choose one, I'm afraid.

Your favorite fictional character.

• Carlos: Tintin.
• Laura: Mafalda.

The best book you've read lately.

• Carlos: Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl.
• Laura: Portnoy's Complaint, by Philip Roth.

Your favorite movie.

• Carlos: Jodorowsky's Dune.
• Laura: Some Like It Hot.

Your favorite Instagram follow.

• Carlos: Patti Smith.
• Laura: Autumn de Wilde.

How the Covid-19 crisis has changed your life, personally or professionally.

• Carlos: I intend to try to have more fun at work. Enjoy the process more.
• Laura: A literal 180-degree change, changing jobs and coast.

Your favorite creative project you've ever worked on.

• Carlos: Mailbooks for Good. I still love its simplicity and how refreshing it felt when everyone was trying to come up with apps and using tech for everything.

• Laura: Honda "Dream Makers." Rarely are the creative, the directing and the postproduccion so intertwined as in this one. I truly enjoyed every long hour working closely with Mike Skrgatic and Jim Allen (Time Based Arts) and Sam Ashwell (750mph) bringing it to life.

Your favorite creative project from the past year.

Carlos and Laura: Coca-Cola "The Great Meal." You don't usually have the chance to make a global campaign for Coca-Cola. Pulling this one off from our Brooklyn flat during the pandemic was extremely challenging and rewarding on a personal level.

Coca-Cola | The Great Meal
Someone else's creative project that inspired you years ago.

• Carlos: 2012's jaw dropping documentary The Act of Killing.
• Laura: Naoshima and Teshima islands.

Someone else's creative project that you've been impressed by lately.

• Carlos: The British theater company Punch Drunk and the playable and interactive approach to their work.
• Laura: I very much enjoy all the recent Gucci work, particularly the Gucci Beauty stuff.

Your main strength as a creative person.

• Carlos: Passion.
• Laura: Intuition.

Your biggest weakness.

• Carlos: Impatience.
• Laura: Cannot draw.

One thing that always makes you happy.

• Carlos: The tickles I get when I am surprised by a bold idea.
• Laura: Catching up with a team and seeing great work, even if it's just the seed of it.

One thing that always makes you sad.

• Carlos: Bureaucracy.
• Laura: Bad art direction.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.

• Carlos: Helping others use their creativity.
• Laura: Curating exhibitions.

2 Minutes With is our weekly interview series, publishing every Wednesday, where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio. Previously, he was creative editor at Adweek.

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