2 Minutes With ... Miguel Cedeño & Ricardo Chuecos, ACDs at GUT
Associate creative directors Miguel Cedeño and Ricardo Chuecos—or "Michuecos" as they're known in the halls of GUT Miami—have helped shape iconic brands across beer, telecommunication, technology, QSR and entertainment. They describe themselves as proud "ad nerds" with a passion for work that "sells with candor," as well as for ideas that break through regardless of budget. Their work has been recognized across the industry awards circuit; in 2022, they won their first Cannes Lions Grand Prix.
We spent two minutes with Miguel and Ricardo to learn more about their background, their creative inspirations and recent work they've admired.
Miguel and Ricardo, tell us...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
- Miguel Cedeño: I grew up in Guayaquil, Ecuador. During college, I got my start in advertising by working at agencies including DDB, TBWA, Grey, and Mullen Lowe. And now at GUT, I have the opportunity to work with global brands including Popeyes and Google. For Google, I worked on the Pixel 6’s “Real Tone” campaign, which won multiple awards, the biggest of which was a Grand Prix at Cannes Lions and a Black Pencil at the D&AD, which have been career highlights for me. Outside of the office I love to climb mountains, play soccer, and sometimes get injured because I don’t know the limits of my body.
- Ricardo Chuecos: I grew up in Merida, Venezuela. It’s a small, beautiful city surrounded by mountains. Now, I live in Miami. It doesn’t have any mountains but the beach is pretty nice!
How you first realized you were creative.
- Miguel Cedeño: I knew I was a creative when I naturally started coming up with different solutions to problems. That's the essence of creativity in all aspects.
- Ricardo Chuecos: Everyone is creative in their own way, so since I was little, I thought of myself as creative. I do remember, though, the feeling I had the first time I saw a good print ad – complete joy and awe. Looking back, that was one of the moments that led me to where I am today.
A person you idolized creatively early on.
- Miguel Cedeño: My dad. Creativity is also about being recursive; he is the most recursive person I've ever known. He always finds a way to make it happen.
- Ricardo Chuecos: I would say my dad too. He’s very witty and smart. I always find the way that he thinks and looks at things very interesting.
A moment from high school or college that changed your life.
- Miguel Cedeño: Two of my older brothers were musicians. So I had a lot of musical influence as a child. I also love percussion. So, in high school, I was about to have my first musical performance in front of everyone. But I never did it because of stage fright. My take on that was to take risks even if you're scared.
- Ricardo Chuecos: As a college student, I always liked the idea of working in advertising. But both my parents are programming engineers, and my sister graduated in finance, so I wasn't really sure if my family would approve. Then, I went to study abroad in Madrid, and with my sister's help, I landed an internship at Saatchi & Saatchi. That opportunity changed it all. When I got back to the states, I was hungrier than ever to pursue a career in advertising.
A visual artist or band/musician you admire.
- Miguel Cedeño: I always loved the work of the cartoonist Quino with Mafalda. From a naive perspective, I love how she put us on the spot with her social and political criticism. It's timeless satire.
- Ricardo Chuecos: Stromae. Many of his lyrics have a lot of substance and an interesting way of talking about today’s society and problems. I also think his stage scenography is incredible.
A book, movie, TV show, or podcast you recently found inspiring.
- Miguel Cedeño: It was released in 2015, but I discovered it six months ago: Invisibilia. I'm amazed at how they combine storytelling and science. And the book, "The Invention of Morel" by Aldofo Bioy Casares is an extraordinary love story combined with science fiction.
- Ricardo Chuecos: Rethinking with Adam Grant. He's a great host, brings incredible talent to his podcast, and his interviews and topics are really interesting. I also like Invisibilia a lot. Lastly, I'm really enjoying the book Alchemy by Rory Sutherland. He's got a fascinating take on how sometimes logic gets in the way of the best solutions.
Your favorite fictional character.
- Miguel Cedeño: My favorite fictional character is Arnold from Nickelodeon’s Hey Arnold! I admire his optimism, even when everything is screwed up. What struck me most about him is how effortlessly he influences people by loyalty, kindness and just being himself. That authenticity is admirable. And obviously, I always dreamed of having a bedroom like Arnold's.
- Ricardo Chuecos: Ted Lasso. He’s incredibly courageous and smart, though he might seem like the opposite quite often. I also think he’s the character we needed the most during the pandemic as he is always optimistic.
Someone or something worth following on social media.
- Miguel Cedeño: I follow Hernan Casciari, an Argentinian writer who creates a lot of digital content. I'm captivated by how he narrates the simplicity of the nuances of life, his particular sense of humor, and how easy it is to relate to it. Also, a Spanish Tik-Toker Marita, a content creator of metaphysics and quantum physics for dummies like me.
- Ricardo Chuecos: I’m into architecture and homes, so I really enjoy following #InResidence. I also like Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. He’s hilarious, very smart, and keeps one up to date with global events.
How Covid-19 changed your life, personally or professionally.
- Miguel Cedeño: The struggle of covid gave me a perspective on the really important things. At one time, we were all immersed in the daily stress of work to realize how fragile life is. From then on, it was an awakening for mental health, nurturing those bonds we take for granted with our friends and family, and a quest for inner growth. Fortunately, I didn't lose anyone close to me, but seeing that fragility up close was life-changing.
- Ricardo Chuecos: My wife and I adopted a dog, which has definitely been a life-changing experience. Her name is Catena (like the Argentinian wine) and having her around has impacted me personally and professionally. Walks with her help me deal with stressful situations, think about briefs, and, most importantly, remind me to enjoy the present.
A recent project you're proud of, and why.
- Miguel Cedeño: It's not every day you get the chance to work on a campaign with high social impact. That's why Google's Pixel 6 “Real Tone” Super Bowl campaign was so special for me. It allowed us to work on a project that was about celebrating and expressing people's true image and identity, empowering them to be seen for who they are. Plus, it was our first Super Bowl spot.
- Ricardo Chuecos: Just like Miguel, Google Pixel 6’s “Real Tone” campaign is definitely the most special project I’ve ever worked on. We got to open the dialogue about a problem unknown to many people during the Super Bowl, all while reminding people of how important it is to be able to show their real self.
Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.
- Miguel Cedeño: Leandro Raposo with Letter to Sofia. He portrays how they pitched a campaign to Sedal with a letter from a mom to her daughter with the instructions of how to be a woman in the 21st century. Mind-blowing.
- Ricardo Chuecos: Uff! There are many people who have inspired me. Ricky and Juan have done great campaigns that have impacted me a lot, like Man Boobs for Macma and Google Home of the Whopper for Burger King. I also really like the work done by Sebastian Wilhelm, Carlos Bayala and Javier Campopiano.
Someone else's work you admired lately.
- Miguel Cedeño: Rosalia, the Spanish singer. She created a new musical genre that is impossible to categorize at music award shows. I love how she brought Spanish folk music to the urban and pop world in a way no one has ever heard.
- Ricardo Chuecos: Kendrick Lamar's latest album is a masterpiece. I also enjoyed the covering of the Louvre museum by JR. I admire him a lot.
Your main strength as a creative person.
- Miguel Cedeño: Teamwork. It is rewarding when things are accomplished as a team.
- Ricardo Chuecos: Persistency.
Your biggest weakness.
- Miguel Cedeño: Fear. Stage fright. Being introverted has some perks but also has its weaknesses.
- Ricardo Chuecos: I’m working a lot on trying to be more decisive. That’s what I’m trying to focus more on improving lately.
One thing that always makes you happy.
- Miguel Cedeño: Nature. I was not so connected to it in my childhood, but I felt that bond about 10 years ago. It’s a powerful and energetic space, and, even though it sounds very cliché, it is a place where you find yourself with your thoughts, fears, and challenges. In nature, you cannot hide your feelings or who you are.
- Ricardo Chuecos: The beach and pizza in no particular order.
One thing that always makes you sad.
- Miguel Cedeño: More than sad, I am worried about gender violence and what kind of humans we raise to eradicate it. It worries me to see governments more focused on wars and political games than on committing to stop these violations.
- Ricardo Chuecos: Agreed with Miguel.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.
- Miguel Cedeño: I've always wondered about it, and I think I'd be an alpinism guide or football (soccer) player.
- Ricardo Chuecos: Probably trying to find a job in advertising ;)