2 Minutes With ... Ivan Rivera and Camilo Ruano, ACDs at DDB Chicago
Ivan Rivera is a renowned Colombian creative director who currently works as an ACD at DDB Chicago. He gained notoriety as an ECD for Coca-Cola Latin Center Business and Andean Region at Ogilvy Colombia, where he created iconic work for the brand, including the "Coca-Cola Ice Bottle" and "The Magic Bow Bottle."
Years later, he moved to San Francisco and worked at Pereira O'Dell's offices in New York and San Francisco, leading campaigns for clients such as Corona and Stella Artois.
Better known as "Ruano," Camilo is a multi-awarded Colombian creative director, illustrator, and art toy creator currently working as ACD in DDB Chicago. In his career, he worked on worldwide renowned brands like The Coca-Cola Company, Molson Coors, ABInBev, Mars Wrigley, McDonald's, Aeromexico, Huggies, KIA motors, Mattel and Kingo.
We spent two minutes with Ivan and Camilo to learn more about their background, their creative inspirations and recent work they've admired.
Ivan and Camilo, tell us...
Where you grew up and where you live now.
- Ivan: I grew up in Bogotá, Colombia, and now I live in Chicago.
- Camilo: I was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. After spending a few years in San Francisco, I have now settled in Chicago.
How you first realized you were creative.
- Ivan: Coming up with stories and fantasies has been part of my essence since I was a child. My parents were always amazed by what I said, I was basically a little liar kid.
- Camilo: We are all creative by birth, so it is hard to pinpoint a specific moment of realization. Personally, I consider myself fortunate to have been labeled as creative since childhood simply because I enjoyed drawing and sculpting things with clay.
A person you idolized creatively early on.
- Ivan: Steven Spielberg. I was fascinated by his movies in my childhood; E.T., Jaws, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park ... I remember asking my parents who created E.T., and from that day on, his name stuck in my head. I always looked for his next movie, and he mostly never disappointed me.
- Camilo: Rene Magritte, I was captivated by his art since I saw "Not to Be Reproduced." That painting is the best horror story I have ever seen in my life.
A moment from high school or college that changed your life.
- Ivan: When I moved to a new high school at 13, I was so sad not to be with my lifelong friends anymore. But then I met new friends with musical interests and got interested too. That was the moment when I grabbed an electric guitar for the first time.
- Camilo: I would say the day I watched the "Crazy Ones" Apple campaign was a turning point. I was just a kid who made art in a school that didn't care about that, so I felt strongly connected to the manifesto. One day, a teacher confronted me about my behavior, and I remember quoting the line from the ad, "Because I'm a round peg in a square hole." This led to some trouble at school, but it also helped me realize what I wanted to do in the future.
A visual artist or band/musician you admire.
- Ivan: Nirvana changed my life. It was the only band I listened to as an early teenager. But I must say that Tool is the one I admire the most. These guys have such a unique style that you can say they are a genre on their own; nothing compares to their sound. It's very rare in music to develop such a unique sound. That's the holy grail of originality.
- Camilo: The Ramones' "Hey Ho Let's Go!"
A book, movie, TV show, or podcast you recently found inspiring.
- Ivan: The Last Ronin: A graphic novel that played with the feelings of my inner '90s kid.
- Triangle of Sadness: A movie that I loved for its satirical criticism of our society. It says so many things without saying anything literally. I love that kind of storytelling that triggers emotions and makes you ponder about life beyond just the mere enjoyment of a good story.
- Camilo: Wind of Change is a podcast about the Scorpion's song that apparently was made by the CIA to encourage the Soviet Union youth to look for a change; it is MIND BLOWING!
Your favorite fictional character.
- Ivan: Superman.
- Camilo: Hardest question ever! Maybe in a couple of weeks, I'm going to give a different answer but at this moment I would say Calvin from Calvin & Hobbes.
Someone or something worth following on social media.
- Ivan: @justinjohnsonlive Every post is food for the soul.
- Camilo: @javier_jaen an amazing Spanish graphic designer. All his work is like poetry, but visual.
How Covid-19 changed your life, personally or professionally.
- Ivan: Personally, it made me realize how fortunate I am to have my family, my beautiful wife, and friends. It changed my perspective and priorities. Professionally, many things have changed, some for the better and some for the worse. I think we are still navigating it, hope finding the work-life balance that all we want doesn't lead us to a completely impersonal way of working. We need to find the sweet spot.
- Camilo: In the pre-pandemic world, I was a workaholic. I loved to work late at night brainstorming new ideas which leads me to lose a lot of experiences and moments with my family and friends. When Covid hit, I was alone in a new city in a new country far away from home, just me and my two cats. It was a really hard moment, but it taught me that even though advertising is a passion to me, I'm not my work, and my life is more important than any deadline or award.
One of your favorite creative projects you've ever worked on.
- Ivan: The Coca-Cola "Gift Bottle" is a project that has its own life. I can't believe that 10 years after its launch, there is still someone sharing a video about it every Christmas and even being surprised by it.
- Camilo: "A World Without Borders" from Aeroméxico. For me, it is creativity delivering a message that the world needs to remember constantly—we are all the same; our differences are only in our heads and are the product of our ignorance.
A recent project you're proud of.
- Ivan: Recently, we beamed TikTok videos into the vastness of the universe in the hope that a higher intelligence out there can help us with an unsolved mystery here on earth: why Starburst tastes so juicy? Hundreds of TikTokers shared their videos to be beamed in space; not sure if it's our best first impression to contact extraterrestrial intelligence but for sure the funniest.
- Camilo: "Free Range Humans." It's a global content series about eight brave pioneers who left behind a conventional life of routine to pursue a more meaningful life outside. Free Range Humans celebrate those that know our best side is outside. Fun fact, this was made during the lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic
Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.
- Ivan: Juan Cabral, good old times work. It was my welcoming to the ad-creative world.
- Camilo: There's a lot of work that has inspired me, but there's one particular work I keep remembering and feels as funny as the first time I saw it when I started in this business, Melody Road by Dentsu Japan.
Someone else's work you admired lately.
- Ivan: "It Has to Be Heinz." Those prints have given me back the faith in the genuine pure creativity power over the resourcefully creative trend of the moment.
- Camilo: The We Believer's "Plastic Fishing Tournament" has everything I love from an idea, fits with the brand, is simple, hacks a problem, helps people, makes a cultural statement. This is what I think the brands should do to be relevant to the upcoming generations.
Your main strength as a creative person.
- Ivan: Resilience. As creative, denial is an everyday sub-product. For some reason, I can deal with that fast. I guess I forget easily and move on to get excited with the next opportunity.
- Camilo: This might sound dumb, but my main creative strength is keeping my inner child alive. That has allowed me to enjoy every brief and brainstorming session, and to remain curious about all sorts of topics.
Your biggest weakness.
- Ivan: Indecision. Sometimes it gives me the ability to change perspective easily and contemplate different points of view, but it makes it a nightmare when editing; I guess I get too attached to my ideas.
- Camilo: Keep confidence in me and my work; sometimes it's hard to remember that I'm better than I think I am.
One thing that always makes you happy.
- Ivan: Cuddle with my wife Jennifer and my dog Coco.
- Camilo: Strolling around with my wife Mary and petting my cats Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
One thing that always makes you sad.
- Ivan: Hear more criticism than contributions or great ideas.
- Camilo: To see, ideas that I had before been made by someone else.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.
- Ivan: Full-time musician.
- Camilo: Making art, toys and illustrations, actually those are just my hobbies.