2 Minutes With ... Rodrigo Jatene, CCO at DDB Chicago

On gaining perspective and juggling priorities

As chief creative officer of DDB Chicago, Rodrigo Jatene oversees craft, culture and product at one of the region's largest agency players.

Rodrigo has won many prestigious accolades over the course of his 23-year career, working for brands in almost every industry. He strives to create compelling campaigns, with data, technology and humanity at their core. He previously served at Leo Burnett Tailor Made, DM9DDB, AgenciaClick, Euro RSCG, McCann Madrid and Wunderman Brazil.

Rodrigo has a wife and two sons, plus a serious sports addiction. While off duty, if he's not watching or playing soccer, baseball, basketball or football with his kids, he's probably training for his next triathlon.

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


Rodrigo, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in São Paulo, Brazil. Now, I live in Glencoe, IL.

How you first realized you were creative.

I don't believe anyone realizes they are creative. People just go through life doing things their own way, until someone else tells them that the way they do things, or how they see the world, or find solutions to problems is different, interesting, creative. For me, creativity is not something that some people have and others don't. It's not a gift. It's a weird mix of curiosity and some other stuff that everybody has and, for various reasons, or out of necessity, some develop more than others.

A person you idolized creatively early on.

Oscar Niemeyer.

Something from high school or college that changed your life.

Organic chemistry. It changed my life completely, for the worse. I’m still trying to find a use for it. I keep failing.

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

This will probably tell my age but the two bands I’ve listened to the most are Rancid and NOFX. Still do.

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

Torto Arado, a masterpiece novel from a Brazilian writer called Itamar Vieira Junior, not yet translated into English, unfortunately.

Your favorite fictional character.

That's the hardest question. I have no idea. Walter White? Hannibal Lecter? The Dude? Randle McMurphy? Forrest Gump? Amélie Poulin? Steve Zissou? Dadinho from City of God? The kid from Wonder? Jim Carey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I love so many characters, and can’t pick one.

Someone or something worth following in social media.

Joan Cornellà.

How Covid-19 changed your life, personally or professionally.

Covid-19 changed 7 billion people's lives. For me, it's almost impossible to think about it on a personal level, because its impact has been so bizarrely collective. But if I tried to describe what has changed in my life, two words come to mind —perspective and priorities.

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

Corruption Detector, for Reclame Aqui. It was one of those amazing opportunities in our profession when we have the chance to create something that you deeply believe in, and use the power of creativity to change the lives of millions of people, including yours, for the better.

A recent project you're proud of, and why.

Miller Lite’s Beer Drops. Skittles’ Apologize the Rainbow. Coors Light's Chillboards. I couldn’t be prouder of the many projects we've done recently. But the one I'm most proud of is the next. You'll have to wait to see it out in the world.

Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.

I like to think that the mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions. Some ideas make it stretch more than others, obviously. Among them, I could pick different stuff each time I answer this question. Today I'll go with Bing’s "Decode Jay-Z" from 2011. It changed completely the way I saw advertising back then.

Someone else's work you admired lately.

Again, I could give many different answers, but trying to keep it to the very recent stuff, one of the things I’ve loved the most this year was Dole and L&C NY’s "Piñatex."

Your main strength as a creative person.

I never give up. If it's not there yet, it's not there yet. An idea might be a stroke of genius. But bringing an idea to life is not. It's hard work. You gotta keep pushing it, improving it, crafting it and perfecting it until it's as great as it can be—or until you run out of time. You can't stop when you're tired. You only stop when you're done.

Your biggest weakness.

Keeping up with my emails.

One thing that always makes you happy.

Running.

One thing that always makes you sad.

Anything and everything related to Bolsonaro.

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

I’d be designing stuff—typography, posters, furniture, buildings. I'd be doing something between design and architecture.

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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Jessica MacAulay
Jessica MacAulay is a contributor for Muse by Clio. She's also a recent graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder's College of Media, Communication, and Information.

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