2 Minutes With … Joaquín Mollá, Founder and CCO of The Community

On that Netflix-GM Super Bowl campaign and knowing when to say 'no'

Joaquín is the founder and chief creative officer of the global creative agency, the community. Working his way up from copywriter, he became executive creative director at BBDO, before opening la comunidad (known as the community in the U.S.), with his brother, José Mollá, over 20 years ago. The community has offices in Miami, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, New York, and Mexico City.

Over the course of his career, Joaquin has worked for Verizon, Volkswagen, Converse, Diageo, Netflix, Apple, Sony, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nike and more.

Outside of the agency world, Joaquín spent 10 years as a communications advisor to the City of Buenos Aires (2009-15) and the president of Argentina (2015-19).

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

Joaquín, tell us …

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in Argentina and now I live between Miami and New York. 

How you first realized you were creative.

I was the fourth kid in my house. By the time I came around my siblings had already worn my parents out, so I had a lot of freedom and was able to do whatever I wanted. Without many "No's" in my life, I had the opportunity to explore without fear. For me, that might be one of the strongest definitions of what creativity is.

A person you idolized creatively early on.

Dan Wieden and David Abbott

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

When I was in college, a friend committed suicide. It was the saddest thing that I had ever experienced and the first time I felt that life could end. It changed my life forever. It pushed me to do things fast before it's my turn to leave.

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

Thom Yorke and Robert Smith in music. Both are brilliant. I love Thom's ability to ceaselessly explore. He always takes risks. He never stops. With Robert, I love that he has a unique perspective about life and the world and the grief that being on this planet brings … and he's stayed with that for the duration of his career. There is a consistency in how he expresses himself that isn't tied to any fad.

George Baselitz and Willem de Kooning in visual arts. I love their craft. Their unfiltered stroke. You can see their soul. Their color palette is mesmerizing.

A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

Movie: Magnolia. Best film ever. Book: RAYUELA by Julio Cortazar. TV show: Barry.

Your favorite fictional character.

Statler and Waldorf, the two elderly men in The Muppet Show. They consistently jeered the entirety of the cast and their performances from the balcony seats. Their harsh opinions and shared penchant for heckling is brilliant.

Someone or something worth following in social media.

@gabihuici is a brilliant artist who happens to also be a brilliant ECD. All his work is done in ink on Moleskin.

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

I will never forget the work we did for Bafici, the Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema. We read the moment very well. Everyone was doing big ads, and we said: “Why don't we start with four people in a kitchen and write an amazing script?” The next year, we did four guys in a car. The insight was so simple … independent festivals are not for everyone, and we made that a positive feeling.

I love the work we did for the Argentina Board of Tourism because it mixes a very simple script with a magnificent cinematic environment. Every time I watch the videos, they make me want to hop on a plane to Argentina.

We've also made some nice work for Verizon over the years. But "Verizon vs. Verizon" and "Best for a Good Reason" are my two favorites. Maybe because the category is trapped in a price battle and these campaigns showed people the real difference of Verizon in an interesting way. People like to be in the know. They want to understand why they pay more for something. Both campaigns capture the DNA of this amazing brand.

Earlier this year, we brought Netflix and General Motors together for a Super Bowl campaign. That one was really special, not only because it was two big brands at a big cultural moment, but because the campaign was just the start of a much deeper push to normalize electric vehicles via the popularity of Netflix. I like that it has a simplicity and authenticity to it. Not every show is right for an EV and we demonstrate this in the spots. Plus, we had Will Ferrell

Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.

The Guinness campaign "Surfer" by Abbott Mead Vickers. This is a classic. It changed the way I look at our industry, and I still love it just as much as the first day I saw it.

Someone else's work you admired lately. 

The Apple work from Tor Myhren. He is one of the only people who has made consistently great work over the last seven years. His work is usually human, simple and beautifully executed. It's also real work selling real things with real benefits. He's showing us the way back to greatness. He is the Dan Wieden or the Lee Clow or the David Abbott of today. He is far ahead of everyone else.

Your main strength as a creative person.

I know when to say "no" to avoid people destroying a great idea.

Your biggest weakness.

I am the worst creative you can find to do bad work. I just die and become a plant. Stay away from me.

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

Painting, architecture or maybe a film director.

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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