2 Minutes With … Izmael Crespo, CD at DDB Group Hong Kong

On the power of getting back to basics

Izmael, known by his friends as “Izma," is part of a team of CDs at DDB Group Hong Kong. Izmael worked across South America for most of his career, in agencies such as Circus Grey Peru, MullenloweSSP3, MediaMonks and David.

We spent two minutes with Izmael to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations and recent work he's admired.

Izmael, tell us …

Where did you grow up and where do you live now?

I grew up South of Lima. I am Peruvian but have had the opportunity to live and work in five countries in South America. After growing up in Peru, I spent two years in Buenos Aires for my studies. After graduation, I went to Chile, looking for my first real job. Later, I went to Colombia. I'm now living in Hong Kong and am still at the wide-eyed stage, fascinated by every little thing. 

How did you first realize you were creative?

At 17, I was a programmer and digital experience designer working mostly on web and app development. Almost by accident, one day I chose to attend a workshop on advertising. They awarded someone a one month scholarship at the Creativity School—and I was the recipient. I was suddenly part of this industry, and I fell in love with it.

A person you idolized creatively from the beginning.

My strongest inspirations come from music. I'm a big Michael Jackson fan. I actually dread listening to him when I'm socializing, because his music consumes me. I grew up admiring his persona and the personal brand he created. The stage management, the creative direction of the clips, the consistency in his aesthetic, how well he "sticks to the brand guidelines" as some of my friends would say, the overall art direction … it all always seemed spectacular to me.

A moment in high school or university that changed your life.

I studied advertising design in a school called Leo Design. We went through the process of making prints by hand. Simulating a time where everything was done using only one's imagination—and no technology—was inspiring. I often consider the power of stripping things back to the basics. 

A visual artist or musical group that you admire.

Salvador Dali. That's why I have a couple of tattoos of his work.

Los PetitFellas

One of your favorite creative projects you've worked on.

I began streaming on Twitch two years ago. It was the most satisfying experience of my life, because it showcased two of the things I love most: playing video games and listening to music. During the pandemic, I started playing video games 24/7. Frustratingly, I was banned five times for using music without rights. I was able to bring the recording and gaming worlds together in a campaign. With Budweiser, we created a bot to stream music royalty-free.

A recent project that you are proud of.

The global work for Corona that I worked on as part of a team in Colombia. 

Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.

I grew up watching the work of Leo Burnett Peru. My favorite commercials in the whole world are the ones that were waiting for me at home after school. One that inspired me so much was "La Magia de la Solidaridad" for Ponle Corazon, creatively directed by Juan Carlos Gomez de la Torre.

The work of another person you have admired lately.

Above all, I am a lover of advertising made by Peruvians. I think we have shared a tough context that teaches us to look for ingenious solutions that move both clients and consumers. 

Your main strength as a creative person.

Living with gratitude. When you are grateful, you value things. In the creative setting, being grateful that people share their opinions at a brainstorming table is a way to recognize their efforts. I don't like to dominate with an opinion, but to contribute to ideas and help explore the value of them. I have seen the value of making everyone feel like they can offer an ingredient of an idea, being grateful for comments, empowering them, learning from each other, teaching each other. When you have this dynamic, the creative process is extremely constructive.

Your biggest weakness.

Taglines. Although I'm an art director, I love good copy and copywriters. I still love the romance of a good duo and I admire the talent that many have for writing. I confess that when I see some great copy, I'm the first to fall.

A mentor who has helped you develop in the industry.

I had the opportunity to work at MullenloweSSP3 and then at DAVID with Carlos Andres Rodriguez, alias "the EMO." It was fulfilling experience that taught me so much about how to approach life, both as a professional and a person.

How are you helping the next generation of creatives.

As experienced creatives, we are responsible for motivating the next generation and we should share our passion and knowledge. I don't think there should be any secrets, tricks or shortcuts to get any kind of  advantage over others. There is no place for hierarchical agency structures anymore. I think they are responsible for a great deal of inefficiency, not to mention a loss of talent.

What would you do if you didn't work in advertising?

Music production or the video game industry.

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series 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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