2 Minutes With … Fernando Pellizzaro and Jean Zamprogno, GCDs at David Miami

The Brazilian pair's meteoric rise, and recent hits from BK to Budweiser

Jean Zamprogno and Fernando Pellizzaro, better known as Zampa and Zaro, are group creative directors at David Miami. Their celebrated recent work includes creating four Super Bowl spots in the last two years for Budweiser, Burger King and Devour, and driving creative ingenuity for Burger King's "Moldy Whopper" campaign. 

They drove social-good work amid pandemic for one of Budweiser's biggest campaigns yet, the "One Team," shifting the sponsorship of sports leagues to turn empty stadiums into blood drives during the crisis, and BK Brazil's "Lockdown Whopper" campaign, which incentivized Brazilians to stay home with food vouchers. 

They were also behind the "Stevenage Challenge," where Burger King sponsored a real team from the fourth division of English soccer to get the BK logo on jersey inside the FIFA 2020 video game.

We spent two minutes with Zampa and Zaro to learn more about their background, their creative inspirations, and recent work they've admired.

Zampa and Zaro, tell us…

The town where you were born, and where you live now.

Jean Zamprogno (Zampa): I was born in Nova Almeida, a coastal village near Vitória in Brazil. After living my early days in Rio, I moved back to Vitória for college, then I lived in London, Lisbon, Buenos Aires, São Paulo, and finally Miami for the last three years.

Fernando Pellizzaro (Zaro): I was born in Curitiba, Brazil. Currently living in Miami.

What you wanted to be when you grew up.

• Zampa: I was raised watching TV, just like any working-class family in Brazil, but I grew very interested in visual arts, music, photography and cinema. Eventually, I found myself more connected to the ads than the TV shows, thanks to the brilliant advertising in Brazil at the time. Then I realized I could make a living at it.       
• Zaro: When I was a kid, I wanted to be a neurosurgeon. I read a book when I was 11 about a doctor who separated conjoined sisters in a surgery that took more than 23 hours. I thought that was fascinating.

How you discovered you were creative.

• Zampa: I don't know exactly when, so let me share the first thing that crossed my mind. When I was a kid, I had this bully always stealing my Coca-Cola at school, until the day I put laxatives in the can. We were both suspended for a week. He came back skinnier than ever, and I came back as a hero. So I like to think of this as my first viral campaign.
• Zaro: My dad was a schoolteacher and he always made me read a lot when I was a kid. So, I naturally developed a love for writing. But I never saw myself as a creative until a friend of mine said, "You should study advertising," mostly because of my personality—I was always making jokes and coming up with crazy ideas. 

A person you idolized creatively growing up.

• Zampa: The concepts behind the Tropicália movement had a great impact on me as a creative and as a Brazilian. Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Tom Zé introduced me to a Brazil that was much cooler than the one I was used to seeing on TV. It was my first interaction with the idea of challenging the status quo, which is, in a certain way, what I find myself trying to do in advertising.    
• Zaro: I used to skateboard a lot when I was a kid and a teenager. There's a huge skateboarding culture in the city where I was born, and I grew up in the middle of that. I have to say one of the most inspiring and creative people of all time for me is Rodney Mullen. What he did for skateboarding is incredible. He was inspiring for me not only because he invented most of the skateboard tricks, but because he worked so hard to do that. Hours and hours of dedication. It taught me that in order to be a creative I needed to work super hard. It wasn't just about talent. 

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

• Zampa: The moment I decided to quit college and move to London to study at Central Saint Martins during the day and deliver pizza at night.
• Zaro: Zampa and I won a bronze medal at Young Guns in 2007. We were students at the time. Why was that so important for me? Because that day I realized it was possible, and that I could make it.

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

• Zampa: First concert I remember that blew my mind was Red Hot Chili Peppers at Rock in Rio, 2001. I was 15 years old and still remember the setlist. Today, I'm a big-ass music nerd with more the 200 playlists on my Spotify, where the most played artist is … Philip Glass! 
• Zaro: The first concert I saw was a Brazilian rock band called Raimundos. It was really fun. I think I was 13 years old at the time. Today I listen to a lot of indie/folk bands like Novo Amor, James Vincent McMorrow, Bon Iver, The Paper Kites, etc. If I had to choose one, I would say Bon Iver. I think what they do is incredible. 

Your favorite visual artist.

• Zampa: Too many favorites here, so my first reaction now is Van Gogh, maybe because I'm still impressed with the film At Eternity's Gate. I think I like the ones who wanted to paint what no one had ever seen before.
• Zaro: My entire life I was really into photography. Some of the photographers I liked most were Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Sebastião Salgado. Impossible to choose one. I love black and white, too. I also need to mention that Andy Warhol was always a big inspiration.

Your favorite fictional character.

• Zampa: Romário, a Brazilian footballer.
• Zaro: "No-Face" from the movie Spirited Away.

The best book you've read lately.

• Zampa: I'm almost done with The Secret Life of Plants, a book exploring the world of plants and how they communicate with humans through primitive senses we're still figuring out because we tend to believe there's only five senses.  
• Zaro: I really like Haruki Murakami, a Japanese writer. I recently read The Elephant Vanishes. I liked every book I've read of his so far.

Your favorite movie. 

• Zampa: Any film written by Charlie Kaufmann and directed by Spike Jonze or Michel Gondry.
• Zaro: There are so many, but one of the movies that amazed me the most in the past few years is called The Congress from 2013. I think this movie is super underrated.

Your favorite Instagram follow.

• Zampa: All the photographers from Magnum. Half of my feed is street photography.
• Zaro: @MrBeast. I manly follow his YouTube page—this guy is a genius.

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

• Zampa: Everything changed. I had to come to Brazil to take care of my family and now I'm working from here. Whenever I can, I work from the beach. After the first months of chaos, now I find myself meditating, riding my bike and eating better.   
• Zaro: At the beginning, I was very worried about my family—most of them live in Brazil and I have a sister and nephews living in Germany. But thankfully, they are all fine. I know thousands of people can't say the same, and I feel very bad for it. Regarding work, the main challenge was to lead the entire creative department from home in a way that works. It took us some time to figure it out, but we did. And luckily, we have been able to keep producing good ideas.

Your favorite creative project you've ever worked on.

• Zampa: "Moldy Whopper" is definitely the one. The whole journey since we presented the idea four years ago until the moment we joined forces with Ingo and Publicis to make it happen. It's that kind of idea only a client like Fernando Machado would do—an idea that pushes the product to be better and not the other way around. And on top of everything, the chance of inspiring the fast-food industry to change for the better.

Moldy Whopper case study

• Zaro: I have to say "This Coke Is a Fanta" for Coca-Cola Brazil. This idea was so important for me that it’s hard to describe. I grew up listening to people using that expression to make fun of the LGBTQ+ community and I didn’t realize how bad that was when I was a kid or even a teenager, so having the opportunity to execute an idea that flipped the meaning of that expression was something incredible for me. This was the first time I realized the power we have in our hands as creatives and that we can help promote change if we want.

This Coke Is a Fanta case study
Your favorite creative project from the past year.

• Zampa: I’m super proud of "One Team" for Budweiser. With the cancellation of all major sports leagues in the U.S., we decided to shift Budweiser’s sponsorship from all the teams to just one team: the heroes on the front line of the pandemic. We partnered with American Red Cross to convert 30 empty stadiums into blood drives to address the blood shortage in the crisis. The idea bonded agency and clients to work as one team like never before in my career. With 2 a.m. calls, a smile on our faces and a great collaboration with David Buenos Aires, we managed to pull the film together in less than a week. Fortunately, the film was just a small part of something bigger.

Budweiser | One Team case study

• Zaro: I have to say "Moldy Whopper." The campaign was launched in February, but we started working on it a long time ago. We first presented the idea four years ago, with a different execution at the time, but Burger King wasn't ready to do it. So finally, last year the conversation was born again. Sweden had a Whopper 100 percent free from artificial ingredients and preservatives, so we could finally bring the idea to life. We had amazing partners to make that happen, like Ingo and Publicis. They all contributed a lot to shape the idea and we are super proud we made that happen as a team, caring about the idea from the beginning. Of course, we couldn't make it without brave clients, so kudos to all the Burger King team. I also love this idea because it has a huge impact on the food industry, pushing other companies to get rid of artificial ingredients. This is something we are trying to do more and more—promote change with creative ideas.

Someone else's creative project that inspired you years ago.

• Zampa: Sony "Balls." I was taking my first steps in advertising when saw this and it blew my mind. An art film disguised as an ad—what else do we need?

Sony Bravia | Balls

• Zaro: S7 Airlines "Imagine." The kind of ideas I usually like the most are big stunt/PR ideas, because these are the ideas that can generate change and get into popular culture. But today I'm going with a more traditional idea from five years ago that inspired me a lot. It's a TV/digital commercial that I don't think people give enough credit to. For me, this is a perfect example of a strong concept line executed in a beautiful and very inspiring way. It gives me goosebumps every time I watch it. This piece goes beyond advertising and I truly connect with it. It speaks to me on a personal level.

S7 Airlines | Imagine
Someone else's creative project you've been impressed by lately.

• Zampa: Fleabag.
• Zaro: Invisible Creatives.

Your main strength as a creative person.

• Zampa: My partner Zaro and I are pathologically stubborn. When we believe in something, you can't stop us. It will take months, years, but we'll beat you by tiredness.
• Zaro: I think this applies to me and my partner Zampa. We don't give up. If we believe in something, we will keep pushing it until we make it. The best ideas we have done took us years to make them happen. Also, hard work is another strong strength we have. We feel that we can get to more original ideas if we keep pushing ourselves.

Your weakness or blind spot.

• Zampa: I was always proud of myself for being a "pure creative" instead of a political one, until I realized the amount of politics it takes to get a creative idea done. I'm thankful for the people who taught me politics in between the lines, and now I want to teach my creatives the little I know.
• Zaro: Sometimes I feel I care way too much. It can be good, but it can be bad as well, and I have a hard time balancing that.  

One thing that always makes you happy.

• Zampa: A quiet day by the beach or a crazy day by the beach, both with my wife.
• Zaro: To see people doing good things for others.

One thing that always makes you sad.

• Zampa: Rich people killing the planet to get richer.
• Zaro: Lately, reading the news from Brazil.

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

• Zampa: A photographer with no fame or fortune, to die and become famous many years later.
• Zaro: I would probably be a documentary photographer. Not that I have talent for that, but it's something I love.

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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