2 Minutes With ... Fede Botella and Diego Lauton, Creative Directors at Ogilvy Amsterdam
Meet Fede Botella and Diego Lauton, aka Xuxa. They call themselves Xuxa because even though they were born and raised thousands of miles apart, they already had something in common before they even met. And that was, "our love for Xuxa, the host of the children's show that was a hit in Brazil and Spain at the same time," they say. "Many years after the show went off the air, we finally met in Madrid and started working together."
They've enjoyed considerable success along the way, winning key industry awards and working for clients such as Mattel, Sennheiser and the International Volleyball Federation.
We spent two minutes with Fede and Diego to learn more about their backgrounds, creative inspirations and some recent work they've admired.
Fede and Diego, tell us...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
- Fede: I grew up in Madrid during the 80's, a somewhat wild city where you could ride a motorcycle without a helmet, you didn't have to wear a seat belt, and we barely saw any tourists. The city has changed a lot since then, but I still love it. Now I live in The Hague, although I work in Amsterdam, a quiet city with a diplomatic atmosphere and lots of forests, perfect for my reality with three small children.
- Diego: I was born and raised in sunny and culturally rich Salvador, the capital of Bahia, Brazil. These days I'm living in Amsterdam.
How you first realized you were creative.
- Fede: When I read others' answers to this question I always wondered how I would answer it. I guess I don't have a specific time. When I was little, I had a lot of imagination and art was present in my life because of my father, who is an art critic. But beyond that I don't remember ever stopping to think, wait I am creative. I've never drawn comics, or played in a band or done any of those things creatives are supposed to do.
- Diego: When I was little and all I could think about was how people produced those amazing ads I watched on TV.
A person you idolized creatively early on.
- Fede: Scooby Doo. Maybe not a person, but as a kid I never missed an episode of his show. The way he used creativity to unmask the bad guys always amazed me. I like to think that some of his method has rubbed off on me and that I use it to solve briefs.
- Diego: Early on, when I was around 10 years old, I learned how to draw with a friend of mine, who was a genius at drawing. I used to copy everything he drew until I could do it myself. Fake till you make it, right?
A moment from high school or college that changed your life
- Fede: When my parents moved me from a British school to a school with a totally different philosophy, close to Montessori. It was a real shock coming from the British world of seriousness and rectitude to discover that you could learn in a much more relaxed way. But to this day I am still in the habit of keeping my tie knot tight.
- Diego: It was decided for me to study biology at university, then I quit after five months. It was then I could be 100 percent sure that I could only work with creativity.
A visual artist or band/musician you admire.
- Fede: Every day I like drawing and painting more and more. From Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud to Luc Tuymans or Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Currently I am obsessed with Shannon Cartier Lucy.
- Diego: Punk rock was part of my youth so I used to admire a lot of the underground artists and designers from local bands and zines.
A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.
- Fede: Biography of Silence written by a Spanish priest and Zen disciple called Pablo d'Ors.
- Diego: For a book, Show Your Work by Austin Kleon has a very interesting approach on how to promote your own career. On TV, I was amazed by the surrealistic Bardo by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, and the almost unreal awkwardness of The Rehearsal by Nathan Fielder. Podcasts are not really my thing (I use them most of the time to fall asleep) but I really like Huberman Lab by Andrew Huberman.
Your favorite fictional character.
- Fede: I refer to answer 3.
- Diego: I'm still crazy about the universe of Magic the Gathering and its lore. If I need to pick one character, I would pick the anti-hero Squee, a goblin that was made immortal so he could be eternally tortured by his enemies. Don't worry, he managed to escape.
Someone or something worth following in social media.
- Fede: Definitely @adip_food if you are into cooking as I am. At the moment it's the most inspiring account and person I follow. @pglang also gives me the dose of beauty I need to get through the day.
- Diego: @milanjaram is producing amazing A.I. portraying fictional characters from pop culture in real life.
How Covid-19 changed your life, personally or professionally.
- Fede: It was basically the beginning of my parenting even though I already had three children in the world. During the time we spent at home for the pandemic I realized that I had not really been present up to that point. Now, I try to stay present as a father while doing my job as a creative director. The two tasks are intimately linked in an unexpected way.
- Diego: It made me realize the importance of your home. Happy home, happy life. Also to learn that we can do work in very different ways, and still be productive.
A recent project you're proud of.
- Fede: We are putting out a lot of quality work but just to mention one of the last ones, I will say "The Most Valuable Trophy" for the International Volleyball Federation. For the beach volleyball world championship, we made the trophy out of trash. Obviously, garbage collected from the same beaches where the competition is played. A great way to do our bit and to raise awareness about the importance of taking care of the environment. We did it with the design studio The New Raw, and it was a pleasure to work with them.
- Diego: Our last branding work for European Para Championships. We redesigned the primary shapes of design by making them more diverse to show that greatness comes in all shapes.
Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.
- Fede: As soon as I started working in advertising, I was lucky enough to work with a team formed by Jesús Lada, Nacho Soria and Arturo Benlloch. It was their work that made me want to do what they did. A few years later they are still working together at Havas España, but along the way they have left some memorable pieces like this one:
- Diego: The visual identity of Havaianas has always been an inspiration for art directors from Brazil. A masterpiece from Marcello Serpa and many other legends.
Someone else's work you admired lately.
- Fede: This one is easy. Everything Nils Leonard does.
- Diego: I'm really impressed with the 3-D imagery of Builders Club.
Your main strength as a creative person.
- Fede: Passion
- Diego: To be able to also think visually.
Your biggest weakness.
- Fede: Impatience. But I am working on it.
- Diego: Unorganized focus. There are always so many things to do ...
One thing that always makes you happy.
- Fede: Watching Pasta Grannies surrounded by my kids and wife as close together as possible on the sofa. They hate it but I love it.
- Diego: Family.
One thing that always makes you sad.
- Fede: When Real Madrid loses.
- Diego: Cold wind in my face riding a bike in the Amsterdam rain.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.
- Fede: I like to imagine myself as Carmy, the chef at the show The Bear.
- Diego: I'd probably be a pretty unhappy illustrator or designer, and definitely not doing this cool interview.