6 Questions For Ariel Abramovici And Bruno Acanfora At GUT Ad Agency

Ariel Abramovici and Bruno Acanfora are executive creative directors of GUT, a global, independent and creative ad agency founded in 2018, by Anselmo Ramos and Gaston Bigio. After opening GUT’s first offices in Miami (HQ) and Buenos Aires, GUT expanded to São Paulo in 2019, and opened both its Toronto and Mexico City offices in 2021. The Los Angeles office opened in 2022 and Amsterdam opened in the spring of 2023. With 500+ people and counting across the globe, GUT’s strength has been helping brands by generating a disproportionate amount of buzz, infiltrating pop culture, influencing behaviors, creating brand love and helping to solve a brands’ biggest business challenges.

After ten years in the United States, Ariel Abramovici and Bruno Acanfora both joined GUT’s Los Angeles office in 2021. The pair had begun their advertising career almost 20 years ago, when they received their first brief – for the World Cup and they continued to produce memorable campaigns for leading brands like Coca-Cola
KO
, Apple, Nike
NKE
, Gatorade, Disney+, NBA and DIRECTV. With Abramovici and Acanfora on board, GUT has been an Ad Age “A-list” agency for four consecutive years and this year won a record-breaking 35 Cannes Lions among many other creative awards.

We emailed Abramovici and Acanfora six questions about the success of GUT in an increasingly challenging advertising landscape. Below are the responses.

Where do you see AI fitting in with the creative process of developing an ad?

Ariel Abramovici: Since launching the GUT Los Angeles office one year ago, we have continually explored the latest technologies coming out to help enhance our creativity, and overall, we love staying on top of new tech instead of chasing it to catch up. For example, we have embraced new AI tools, including ChatGPT, for operational use as part of our strategy and overall creative process, both internally and externally. We love to be learning all the time to spark new strategies and ideas, and, like the rest of the GUT Network, we often collaborate closely with Christian Pierre, our global Chief Intelligence Officer, who’s also always up to speed on the latest AI developments and works with his team on implementing new ways GUT can use and embrace those tools for our agency and for our clients.

Consumers are exposed to thousands of ad messages each day. How do you get an ad message to stand out in a crowded landscape?

Abramovici: GUT has developed a reputation for creating brave work by infiltrating pop culture and capitalizing on what is in the zeitgeist at any given moment. We also stand out by creating brave campaigns for brave clients with ideas that are based on consumer insights, which result in lasting impacts for their business. For example, our bold and viral Valentine’s Day campaign for DoorDash, the “Self-Love Bouquet,” incorporated the top trending sex toy on TikTok, called “The Rose,” into same-day floral deliveries on the most romantic day of the year. The campaign went on to win a Grand Prix at Cannes Lions, our first Lion ever since opening the Los Angeles office, as well as a Grand Prix at the WARC Awards, which honors strategy and effectiveness. Brave ideas like these catch the attention of consumers and the media organically, especially when executed at the speed of culture, while positively impacting the bottom line for our clients.

As advertisers become more reliant on data and analytics, how does intuition and “gut” play in developing a creative strategy? What has been the reaction from your clients?

Bruno Acanfora: GUT’s secret sauce is combining creative intuition with real data points for our ideas, a requirement for every creative concept across the Network. This is because we believe that data is nothing without creativity, and creativity is nothing without data. We consider intuition our “second brain.” And we are nothing without brave clients who have the courage to follow their intuition and test the boundaries to do something that hasn’t been done before, like our DoorDash “Self-Love Bouquet” campaign, which the client agreed was a brilliant way to attract attention in the saturated market of same-day floral deliveries – especially on Valentine’s Day. You can present the best data in the world, but if you don’t execute it creatively, it’s useless. Similarly, you can have an amazing creative idea, but if you don’t have any data to support it, that doesn’t work either. You need a perfect balance of both to create an effective and successful campaign for any brand that ultimately drives their business forward.

What role does media selection play in developing a creative strategy? How closely do you collaborate with your client’s media agencies?

Abramovici: We think about the idea and then we decide how we will execute it in whatever way makes the most sense for the brand and idea. We are constantly working on how to create and execute our ideas that not only create more impressions and virality for our clients, but that will also ultimately create true business results for the brand. That’s why it’s important to work closely with our different partners, including media agencies, on each campaign to develop the best ways to launch all our ideas.

Acanfora: Also, the collaboration that GUT has with our clients is next level. If you’re working at traditional agencies, you tend to take the brief and disappear for two weeks, work on the side, and then come back a few weeks later and present those ideas to them, but that doesn’t really work. At GUT, we love collaborating with all our clients and are constantly in contact with them to discuss creative concepts, get their feedback in real-time, and more. Overall, we’ve found that this collaboration between our clients and our other external partners makes our ideas even more effective, and honestly, is a fun way to work.

Does the creative messaging differ by market and when targeting different ethnic groups? What impact does your Latin American background have in GUT’s creative execution?

Abramovici: Diversity plays a key role in the GUT Network overall, and we strive to be the most diverse, creative and influential creative network in the world. We believe that understanding the background and perspectives of different people, including their different cultures and more, helps us to connect with our audiences and communicate with them in a more effective and genuine way. For example, enlisting the women on our team when we were developing the DoorDash “Self-Love Bouquet” campaign was essential in order to craft a powerful and authentic message overall, ultimately helping to destigmatize self-pleasure for single women on the most couples-centric day of the year. This could not have had the same impact had it been created solely from a male point of view.

Acanfora: Similarly, diversity played a key role for a campaign we did in partnership with GUT’s Mexico City office. It was for Corona’s “Unfilter Mexico” campaign starring Emmanuel Chivo Lubezki, the famous Mexican cinematographer. He shows the viewer how Mexico is negatively portrayed in Hollywood movies, which is with a yellow filter that represents heat, risk, and danger. This campaign encourages new directors to eliminate these filters with the message, “Let the world see Mexico without filters, with its true colors, and leave the yellow just for our beer,” highlighting Corona’s yellow beer it’s known for around the world. It was an important message that debuted during this year’s Academy Awards, calling on the film industry to stop using the yellow filter and emphasizing how important having accurate representation of any culture, country, and community is, and the positive impact that it creates when we take out things that portray negative stereotypes.

Let’s talk about how GUT developed a charity within the video game Call of Duty: Veteruns. How did that come about? Will there be any other video games developed for charity?

Acanfora: The idea was a no-brainer. With “Call of Duty”, we wanted to replicate real-life charity runs, which NGOs host all the time, to raise funds and build awareness for the Call of Duty Endowment fund, which helps real veterans find high-quality jobs across the country. The successful “Call of Duty: Veteruns” campaign proved that you can incorporate an in-game charity event as a way to use the COD platform and products for philanthropy. We are excited to continue our partnership with Activision
ATVI
Blizzard, and look forward to leveraging our creativity to innovate campaigns and partnerships that not only align with their business objectives, but also create social change.